First Dates barman Merlin Griffiths diagnosed with bowel cancer

20 September 2021, 12:50

Merlin Griffiths was diagnosed with bowel cancer six weeks ago
Merlin Griffiths was diagnosed with bowel cancer six weeks ago. Picture: Channel 4/Instagram - Merlin Griffiths
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

He revealed he is battling stage three bowel cancer after being diagnosed back in June.

First Dates barman Merlin Griffiths, 46, has announced he is battling bowel cancer.

The TV star – famous for prepping the diners at the First Dates restaurant with a drink and some advice – was diagnosed back in June 2021 after suffering pain in this stomach.

Merlin, who thought the pain was being caused by scar tissue from a car accident he had when he was 20-years-old, was told by doctors that he has a 4.5cm stage three tumour.

Experts have told the TV star, who is a father to seven-year-old Alix, that he has a 75 per cent chance of living beyond five more years.

Merlin Griffiths visited the doctor after suffering from pain in his stomach, something he thought was caused by scar tissue from an old wound
Merlin Griffiths visited the doctor after suffering from pain in his stomach, something he thought was caused by scar tissue from an old wound. Picture: Merlin Griffiths/Instagram

While the shocking news caused Merlin to "shed a tear in private", he has made it very clear he is ready to fight the cancer with everything as he prepares to face a year of treatment.

Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, he explained: "I won’t let it get the better of me.”

Merlin Griffiths said he is going to fight the cancer as he prepares for a year of treatment
Merlin Griffiths said he is going to fight the cancer as he prepares for a year of treatment. Picture: Channel 4

He continued to tell the publication: "The tumour has breached the colon. It’s wanting to move into the tissues surrounding it. But importantly, it hasn’t got into the lymph yet, meaning it’s not spread."

Merlin added: "I chose to lead my life as normal, to stick to the facts about it, and to keep putting one step in front of the other."

Merlin Griffiths is the bartender in the First Dates restaurant, and often breaks the ice when the couples first meet
Merlin Griffiths is the bartender in the First Dates restaurant, and often breaks the ice when the couples first meet. Picture: Channel 4

Merlin, who has a partner called Lucile and a daughter called Alix, opened up about the moment he told his child he had cancer.

He recalled: "I said, ‘Dad’s got cancer’. She said, ‘Is that bad, Dad?’

“I said, ‘Yes, it’s very serious but I think it should be OK. Modern medicine’s great and if anything changes I’ll let you know.’"

He added: “She understands that people can die but I told her cancer comes in different varieties and in different ways too – and that many people come through it.”

Merlin Griffiths is the father to seven-year-old Alix, who he has told about his illness
Merlin Griffiths is the father to seven-year-old Alix, who he has told about his illness. Picture: Instagram/Merlin Griffiths

Speaking of telling his First Dates co-star Fred about the diagnosis, he said: "Fred was lovely and encouraging. He asked me how it has changed my life.

“I told him, ‘You either let it or you don’t. If you let it, it can take you down some pretty dark places’."

But he added: "I want to stack the decks in my favour, which means I’m going to remain broadly positive and resilient.”