Broadcaster Clive James has denied a newspaper report that claimed he does not have long to live.
The quotes in The Daily Mirror were taken out of context from an upcoming BBC radio interview.
He writes in The Telegraph, “The newspaper had got hold of a transcript of the instalment devoted to me of the BBC radio show Meeting Myself Coming Back (to be transmitted tonight) and selected a few dozen quotes so that I seemed to be practically expiring in the arms of the journalist assigned to register my dying breath.
“In the radio interview I say that I am getting near the end of my life. Well, at my age everybody is. But if you put the statement as baldly as he did, it sounds as if I am passing out in the journalist’s lap.
“In the interview I am represented as saying that I am losing my battle with leukaemia. Well, of course I am. Eventually I must. But the main thrust of the broadcast is, I can assure you, quite merry. In my life I have managed to get a certain amount done, and my chief aim now is to live longer so that I can do more.
“I admit that everything attributed to me by the Mirror journalist I did actually say in my BBC show, but he shifted the context by leaving out when and in what circumstances I said it. He thus turned one kind of fact into another kind of fact, which means he turned it into a fiction.”
He goes on to write that he still has a few years left, which is good news indeed.
“The journalists for the cheap press are uneasily aware that nobody cares much about what they say. Hence their sad conviction that they can say things any way they like, even if it means staging a man’s funeral for him just because he makes a few down-in-the-mouth remarks. Talk about getting the hearse before the horse.”