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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Nadeem Badshah

Frank Skinner says former radio co-host Gareth Richards is fighting for his life

Frank Skinner.
Frank Skinner recalled how Gareth Richards had co-hosted The Frank Skinner Show with him and Emily Dean when it first went on air. Photograph: John Phillips/Getty Images for Bauer Media

Frank Skinner told listeners to his Saturday radio show that his friend and former co-host Gareth Richards is fighting for his life after a car crash.

The 66-year-old comedian and broadcaster broke down in tears as he revealed that Richards was in a “very big road accident” on Monday.

Richards is believed to have been involved in a serious collision on the M25 near Heathrow Airport between a lorry and two cars between Junctions 14 and 15 that resulted in the motorway being closed for more than 10 hours.

A man was cut free from his vehicle by firefighters and treated for head and chest injuries by the London ambulance service, who took him to a major trauma centre, the Surrey Live website reported.

During the closing moments of his show on Absolute Radio, Skinner told listeners that he did not want to do the show without mentioning Richards.

“One thing you have to learn to do in this line of work is to put on a false front and the show must go on, and that’s what happened this morning.

He added: “Gareth was in a very big road accident this week and it’s not looking great for Gareth. He is in hospital and he’s fighting but it’s not looking great.

“I didn’t want to do this show, we didn’t want to do this show, without mentioning him. Many of you would have seen him live, some of you will remember on the show, if you’ve been with us that long.

“He is a fantastic bloke.”

Gareth Richards
Gareth Richards’ injuries have been assessed as life-threatening, according to the Metropolitan police. Photograph: Instagram

Skinner recalled how Richards had co-hosted with him and Emily Dean when The Frank Skinner Show first went on air in 2009.

He said: “We’ve been doing this show for 14 years and when we first did the pilot for it, me and Emily, it was rubbish, just the two of us.

“We couldn’t do it, and we got a guest on the next one, who was Gareth Richards who was brilliant on here and we asked him to do the show, so for the first few years, it was me, Em and Gareth.

“It was great, exciting times – we won an award and he in fact became a very close friend and he supported me on tour a couple of times.”

Skinner signed off asking listeners who pray to “give one to Gareth this week”.

He added: “I’m not going to pretend, it’s bad, but there is always hope.”

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan police said in a statement: “Police and London ambulance service were called to the M25 at junction 14 at 23:55hrs on Monday 27 March following reports of a collision involving a HGV and two cars.

“The driver of the car was taken to hospital where he remains. His injuries have been assessed as life-threatening.”

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