TV Host Jeff Watson Dies From Brain Cancer

Australian producer and Getaway presenter Jeff Watson has died. Watson passed away at the Greenwich Palliative Care Hospital on Wednesday, Feb. 22 following a years-long battle with brain cancer. According to 9Now, Watson was surrounded by his wife Judi, children, Timothy and Lucy, as well as his stepdaughter Cara and her husband Ben, at the time of his passing. He was 80.

Watson was first diagnosed with cancer in 2018. Although he was originally given just three months to live, Watson exceeded doctors' expectations by five years and continued an active life with his family and friends up until his death. Paying tribute to Watson, his colleague, Getaway presenter Catriona Rowntree, told TV Tonight, "this is heartbreaking news. As both a colleague and friend Jeff was a joy to be with." Rowntree added, "you can imagine how interesting he was after so many world travels, above all though he was just so cheeky and fun loving. Jeff had the best bloopers ever! Jeff always spoke of his love for his family, I know their hearts will be hurting and we are sending all our love to them."

"Jeff was really fundamental in the launch of Getaway in 1992," Nine's Getaway executive producer John Walsh said. "As one of the original presenters on the show he brought a world of experience to the on-air team and had the rare knack of being incredibly funny one minute and projecting authority and gravitas the next. Audiences really responded to him and there's no doubt he played a big role in the show's early success. He was a real one-of-a kind and will be missed."

Watson's career in television spanned more than 40 years. He notably presented science programme Towards 2000, which he devised, alongside Sonia Humphrey and David Flatman from 1981 through 1984 and was a presenter on Beyond 2000. He was perhaps best known, however, as an original presenter on Getaway, which he remained attached to from 1992 to 1998.

With a passion for travel, Watson presented ABC radio program Travellers Tales for five years and also took the role of motoring and aviation editor of the Today show. He also once flew 23,000 kilometers from England to Australia with John Travolta in a 50-year-old jet airliner to produce the program Southend to Sydney. He also created aviation series including The Boneyard and The Shape Of Things To Come.

His other credits include serving as executive producer of The World Tonight, presenter of a weekly segment on classic cars, My Car, and author or co-write of books including Heads I Win, The Last Plane out of Berlin, and The Best of Travellers Tales.