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James looks on the positive side despite serious illness

BROADCASTER Clive James says he considers himself lucky despite his battle against serious illness.

The Australian star, best known for his hit show Clive James On Television, was diagnosed with leukaemia, kidney failure and lung disease in 2010.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme that he was continuing to work but had "much less energy" so had to "budget it very carefully".

He said he was near the "departure lounge", adding: "I think it's important not to be morbid and the secret there is to keep a sense of proportion. I'm at the hospital two or three times a week usually and if you hang around a hospital long enough you'll see things that remind you that you have a lucky life. If you can see at all, you've had a lucky life."

Mr James, who said he was writing two books including one on poetry, said his major regret was that he was too ill to travel to his native Australia one last time.

His latest poem, Sentenced to Life, speaks of death and contains the line: "Now I am weak."

Mr James said: "Inevitably, you start saying goodbye."

He was born in Sydney and came to England in 1961, where he made a career in journalism including a successful stint as a prominent literary critic and then television columnist for The Observer. Clive James On Television ran for years and his wry commentary on programmes, including the Japanese gameshow Endurance, made him a household name.

In 2011, his illness was made public when he wrote a letter to The Australian Literary Review revealing he had cancer and was being treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge. He spoke publicly about his illness the following year when he admitted he had "been really ill for two-and-a-half years" and "almost died four times in that period".

Speaking yesterday, Mr James joked: "As my friend PJ O'Rourke once told me, he said 'you're going to have to soft-pedal this death's door stuff, Clive, because people are going to get impatient'."

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