Jeremy Paxman says Parkinson's 'makes you wish you weren't born' in heartbreaking admission

Jeremy Paxman has shared a heartbreaking admission following his Parkinson's disease diagnosis, almost three years ago.

The former University Challenge and Newsnight presenter discovered he had the disease after a fall while walking his dog in April 2021. Parkinson's disease, which affects around 145,000 people in the UK, is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged over many years.

Jeremy gracefully bowed out of University Challenge in 2022, sharing he'd "had a blast hosting this wonderful series for nearly 29 years". He has since shared how the disease "makes you wish you hadn't been born", as he delivered a list of recommendations about the condition to Downing Street.

Jeremy Paxman has opened up on his Parkinson's diagnosis
Jeremy admitted heartbreakingly that his battle with Parkinson's would make you wish 'you'd never been born' -Credit:PA

There are three major warning signs; tremors or shaking, slowness of movement and muscle stiffness.

The TV star joined fellow members of the Movers and Shakers podcast which discusses the challenges of living with the disease to mark World Parkinson's Day by presenting the Parky Charter and a petition with tens of thousands of names to Number 10.

The Parky Charter has recommended a swift access to specialists for individuals with Parkinson's under the NHS, the introduction of a Parkinson's UK pamphlet for enhanced awareness and support and the implementation of a Parkinson's passport granting automatic entitlement to specific benefits, reports the Mirror.

They're also advocating for enhanced all-encompassing care, which includes routine check-ins with a Parkinson's nurse, and they're pushing for the Government to up their investment in research to find a cure. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has expressed his full backing, saying he is "very supportive of the excellent work that the Movers and Shakers do and the charter will rightfully receive the attention it deserves".

Yet, Jeremy isn't convinced that the charter and petition will make any real impact on the Government's actions. Speaking to PA news agency, he said: "The fact that they (the Government) have ignored all their responsibilities to date indicates to me that they're not going to get any better. And I suspect that the form of words devised by the Ministry of Health will confirm that."

"I don't think we're going to get anywhere. You feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall."

The Leeds-born presenter also shared his exasperation with how people with Parkinson's are treated by the public, expressing: "You want to say, get the f*** out of the way, that's what you want to say."

The 73 year old further commented on the harsh reality of living with Parkinson's: "(Parkinson's) may not kill you but it will make you wish you hadn't been born. There's nothing in it for the drug companies, it's just more money for them."

Last year, Jeremy opened up about his personal battle with Parkinson's in the candid ITV documentary 'Putting Up With Parkinson's'. He candidly shared the "frustrating" impact Parkinson's disease has on his daily life, from struggling to type anything but "gibberish" to difficulties with walking without stumbling. He's been involved with Movers and Shakers since its inception in February 2023, a project he describes as "good fun".

University Challenge,Jeremy Paxman
University Challenge,Jeremy Paxman

Caroline Rassell, CEO of Parkinson's UK, praised the initiative: "The Movers and Shakers are an incredible group of people with Parkinson's who are using their combined voices to create a powerful platform for change. We support the principles of the Parky Charter, which echo the issues that the Parkinson's UK community raises with us."

Meanwhile, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson highlighted the government's commitment to neurological diseases: "We want a society where every person with a neurological disease, along with their families and carers, receives high quality, compassionate care and having a better understanding of diseases like Parkinson's is vital in making sure we can provide the right care at the right time.

"That's why we committed to spend at least £375 million in research into neurodegenerative diseases over five years, so that we can better understand these conditions and improve outcomes for patients."