James Martin’s ‘defining moment’ after TV chef locked in overwork death scare

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James Martin’s Saturday Morning cooking show has been a mainstay during the coronavirus pandemic. Having made his television debut in 1996, James has spent decades bringing some of the world’s best recipes to Britons around the country. In 2017, James left his flagship Saturday Kitchen programme on the BBC after a decade.

However it wasn’t long before he was snapped up by ITV – a snippet of just how popular the TV chef is.

Live cooking shows aren’t his only forte: his trade has seen him film spin-off cookery shows.

In 2018, he showcased James Martin’s American Adventures which saw him in search of some of the US’ most famous dishes.

Such a packed schedule means that the TV chef hardly ever gets a day off, having once revealed that he hadn’t had a break in three years.

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He continued to practice this work-life imbalance until someone he knew, who worked a similar schedule to him, dropped dead moments after the two had spoken.

James talked about the event on Loose Women in 2018, revealing how it was a “defining moment” for him.

He said: “Work was fundamental to this happening – I hadn’t had a day off for several years, and before that it was two days off for nearly three years.

“I was doing a gig abroad and I was chatting to a gentleman who was the same age as me, he had the same work ethic, he was really keen on work.

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“He went out on stage literally five minutes after I spoke to him to do an awards ceremony, he fell and died before he hit the floor.

“All of us were just around him in a total shock.

“I got back on the plane and thought ‘now I’m going to redress the balance.’

“And now I’m in a great place.”


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Yet, despite this, he has previously admitted that his dedication to his job has forced him to sacrifice the chance of a family.

Speaking to Prime Magazine earlier this year, he detailed the tremendous cost of his successful broadcasting career, and said: “The biggest low of my career is that I’ve given up everything for it.

“I look at my mates and they’re all married with kids, and that’s not the case for me because I’ve been so focused on work.”

Yet, he said that despite the huge sacrifice, if he were given the opportunity to go back, he wouldn’t do anything differently.

He explained: “The level of commitment it requires and the choices you have to make have a huge impact.

“But would I do the same thing again?

“Probably, because it’s made me who I am.

“And why does everybody have to follow the norm anyway?”

Fans of the chef’s will be pleased to hear that this Christmas, for the first time ever, James will kick off afternoon celebrations with a festive food special on ITV.

He’ll be joined by the likes of Tom Kerridge, The Ritz’s head chef John Williams and Bake Off winner Mark Tilling.

James Martin’s Saturday Morning airs on ITV1 at 9:30am.

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