First Dates star Merlin Griffiths shares update with fans after final cancer treatment

First Dates star Merlin Griffiths has shared an update with fans after undergoing surgery as part of his final stage of cancer treatment.

The 47-year-old, who is known for his role as the bartender on Channel 4’s First Dates since it launched in 2013, was diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer in 2021.

The professional bartender and London pub owner shared an update with his fans on Tuesday (24 January), revealing his stoma had been removed in surgery.

On the dating show, which pairs up single people looking for love, Griffiths greets the arrivals at the First Dates restaurant and makes impressive cocktails for the contestants.

Posting a photo of himself in a hospital bed to Instagram, Griffiths wrote: “Ouch. Time for a nap. Surgery done, tomorrow is a new day.”

“Feels weird looking down and not seeing a stoma. My hand keeps feeling for my bag to see how full it is, and coming up empty!” he said, thanking the NHS for their “amazing” care.

He added: “Things start happening once I fart properly! I hope it’s soon because I’m very hungry....”

On Monday (23 January), Griffiths told his fans that he had checked into hospital and was ready for his final phase of treatment and recovery.

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To raise awareness of stomas – a waste bag connected to either the digestive or urinary system to allow waste (faeces and urine) to be collected – Griffiths has been showing his support for A Bear Named Buttony, a Scottish charity that helps children and young people who have a stoma.

The charity gifts a teddy bear, which has a miniature stoma bag, to children to help them adjust to life with a stoma.

Griffiths shared a picture of the bear to Instagram, on 20 January writing: “This handsome fella @buttonybear will be coming with me on Monday when I check into hospital.”

“He’ll be gifted to a child with a #stoma. My #stoma journey looks like it’s coming to an end. However, some young children also grow up with an ileostomy or colostomy. Buttony Bear aims to support them. And the bear has a #stoma too!,” he added, encouraging his followers to support the charity.

Followers and colleagues alike have shared their well-wishes to the TV bartender. “Wishing you a speedy recovery. Can’t wait to see you on our screens behind the bar doing an amazing job as always,” wrote one person, while another added: “Get better man. What a thing to go through!”