Robert Plant helped Bob Harris through cancer
Veteran TV and radio presenter Whispering Bob Harris has hailed Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant for providing support after his prostate cancer returned with a vengeance.
The one-time Old Grey Whistle Test host told of his “devastation” at the weekend. Doctors first found he was suffering from an “aggressive” form of the disease in 2007.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Desert Island Discs, Harris said: “I was fortunate – very, very fortunate – to catch it in time. Then it was a question of arresting the growth, and then treatment, two months of radiotherapy. Since then it’s been management.”
He’s been living with the condition for several years now, but admitted he sometimes has to deal with episodes where it comes back in force.
“Every now and again all the readings will go shooting up,” he explained. “That happened to me a couple of years ago when it looked as though it had really got serious again.
“I really needed to talk to somebody. I phoned Robert, and he offered such unbelievably good advice. He really saw me through that moment.
“When we got the all-clear again he said, ‘Fine – well, I’m not going to be phoning you every single day now!’”
Asked to pick the albums he’d take with him to a desert island, Harris chose Plant and Alison Kraus’s Raising Sand, and selected their cover of Everley Brothers track Gone Gone Gone to be played during the show.
“Robert has been important to me for most of my life,” he explained. “The amazing thing is Nashville drew us both through parallel lines. In 2011 we were both given awards. We had this massive hug at the side of the stage: who would ever have thought, forty years ago, that we’d both be here?”
Harris also referenced disgraced late colleague Jimmy Saville, saying: “He was just somebody I didn’t like. You just didn’t get a good atmosphere off him at all.”
His edition of Desert Island Discs is available to UK listeners for a limited time via BBC iPlayer.