Jay Blades steps away from BBC series The Repair Shop after personal setbacks

Presenter is dealing with a tough few months

Jacob Stolworthy
Saturday 11 May 2024 10:58 BST
King Charles offered 'HRH' mug on BBC's The Repair Shop

The Repair Shop will continued without Jay Blades while he deals with challenges in his personal life.

Earlier this month, furniture restorer Blades, who is the face of the BBC series, made headlines after his wife Lisa Zbozen announced she was leaving him.

The news came shortly after Blades revealed his uncle Richard Brathwaite had been killed. In a post to his fans, Blades said Brathwaite’s death had “really affected” him and announced a break from social media – and told The Independent he was planning to see a counsellor.

This was corroborated in an Instagram post, in which the London-born TV host told his followers he was “going to go and get some therapy and just chill out”.

Blades’s spokesperson has told The Independent that this break has extended to his Repair Shop role following reports he had not shown up for filming this week.

A source told The Sun: “His uncle’s death in March and the breakdown of his marriage means he has decided to take some time out.”

Addressing his separation from his wife, the source added: “People who worked with Jay said they were shocked to hear that his marriage to Lisa had ended. It was not well known at all among the people who work on the show.”

In an interview with The Independent, Blades said The Repair Shop saved his life after he secured the presenting gig after an acute mental health crisis and an attempted suicide.

He said the show, which sees craftspeople from around the country restore family heirlooms that have sentimental value, is helping others show their emotions.

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Jay Blades on ‘The Repair Shop’
Jay Blades on ‘The Repair Shop’ (BBC)

“Especially with men, we’ve created a culture where to show your vulnerability is to become a victim,” he said, stating: “I used to believe that when I was growing up in Hackney, that you had to be this tough guy, as I was growing up in a very tough environment.”

After highlighting the high suicide rate among British men, which is the leading cause of death among men under 50, Blades said: “Why is that? Because a lot of men are struggling with stuff and they don’t know how to express that.”

The Independent has contacted Blades and the BBC for comment.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress, or are struggling to cope, you can speak to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.

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