George Takei ‘shocked’ by Esther Rantzen’s lung cancer diagnosis: ‘I love her dearly’

George Takei has shared a message of support with his former I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! campmate Esther Rantzen following her lung cancer diagnosis.

On Sunday (29 January), the broadcaster and Childline founder publicly shared the news of her diagnosis, announcing that she no longer wanted to keep it a secret after learning that the cancer had spread.

Star Trek actor Takei appeared on Good Morning Britain on Monday (30 January), where he shared a message of support for the 82-year-old, with whom he appeared on ITV’s reality show in 2008.

“Esther and I were the senior members of that team in the jungle and we were the early risers,” he said. “We were the earliest in the morning and we got the fire started, the campfire, and boiled the hot water and began the day chatting over white tea [and] hot water in the jungle.

“I love her dearly. She was a charming and interesting conversationalist, and I was shocked to hear of her cancer diagnosis.”

Takei continued: “If you’re watching Esther, I send you my very best wishes. Please stay well and I’ll try to visit you while I’m here in London.”

Takei is currently in the UK making his West End debut in musical Allegiance at the Charing Cross Theatre.

Presenter Richard Madeley said that Rantzen was “optimistic” about the outcome of her treatment, with Takei responding: “Good, I’m glad to hear that.”

“She’s a remarkable woman,” Susanna Reid said, to which Takei replied: “She is indeed.”

Announcing her diagnosis, Rantzen said that she was currently undergoing tests to figure out what the best mode of treatment would be.

“I have decided not to keep this secret any more because I find it difficult to skulk around various hospitals wearing an unconvincing disguise, and because I would rather you heard the facts from me,” she said.

“As I am sure you will understand, while I am awaiting the results of the tests, I am unable to answer questions. Thanks to the extraordinary skills of the medical profession there are wonderful new treatments, so I am remaining optimistic.”