He is the viewers’ favourite who was been hailed as the saviour of News At Ten.
But anchorman Tom Bradby has been missing from ITV’s flagship bulletin for more than a month without explanation, sparking concern among the four million people who tune in each night.
Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal the reason for his absence: a chronic bout of insomnia.
Anchorman Tom Bradby has been missing from ITV’s flagship bulletin for more than a month
He has secretly endured weeks of crippling sleeplessness that has left him unable to present the demanding live programme, and he may even have to miss the wedding of his friend Prince Harry, where he is expected to be a guest.
Former Royal correspondent Bradby, who is paid £500,000 a year, has not fronted the bulletin for five weeks, bar one fleeting appearance to announce the birth of Prince Louis.
A source close to the newsman said last night: ‘Tom has been off dealing with insomnia. It looks like he will be off for a further three weeks as it would be silly for him to return before he has recovered properly. He is resting and having some time to recuperate but is looking forward to getting back to work as soon as he is ready.’
Bradby, 51, who lives in a £1 million house in Hampshire with his jewellery-designer wife Claudia, was last seen in public at a charity lunch in London on March 6
An ITN colleague added: ‘Tom has been in and out of the office a few times in the past month or so, but he has kept odd hours and hasn’t been able to go on air. His colleagues have been concerned about his prolonged absence. But everyone is in the dark as the powers-that-be have kept it hush-hush.’
Bradby, 51, who lives in a £1 million house in Hampshire with his jewellery-designer wife Claudia, was last seen in public at a charity lunch in London on March 6, where he looked pale and a little drawn.
Fans have taken to Twitter to enquire about his absence, asking: ‘Where on earth has Tom Bradby gone?’ One user asked him directly: ‘When are you back on News At 10?’
A friend said that for Bradby to miss the Royal Wedding ‘would mean there’s something seriously wrong. Everyone is hoping to see him there on Saturday.’
Prince Harry, like his brother William, has grown close to Bradby. In 2010, William chose him to conduct his engagement interview and then invited him to the 2011 wedding.
ITN confirmed that Bradby was off sick.
Additional reporting: Robbie Griffiths
A curse that can blight every aspect of your life
Comment by Dr Ellie Cannon
We all know the impact of a bad night’s sleep: you toss and turn, or wake in the early hours feeling exhausted and irritable. For most of us, it is just a temporary upset. But for millions of others, it is an enduring curse that can blight every aspect of their lives.
About 15 million prescriptions for sleeping tablets are issued each year in the UK. This will fall short of the true number of people suffering in silence.
Often it can be a symptom of other conditions including stress, anxiety and depression. But it can occur in isolation.
So how do you define when insomnia has become a real problem? It’s really the personal perception. The average adult may need seven hours’ sleep; others far less. The key test is whether you wake feeling rested and refreshed.
About 15 million prescriptions for sleeping tablets are issued each year in the UK. This will fall short of the true number of people suffering in silence
If not, the effects can be devastating: fatigue, nausea and pain, as well as a weakening of the immune system in the longer term. Scientific evidence shows that chronic sleep deprivation may increase the risk of heart disease. Insomnia certainly has a profound impact on our mental state, causing anxiety and low moods. These problems, in turn, affect sleep and a vicious cycle develops, damaging relationships, work, family life and wellbeing. Far from being a trivial matter, it deserves proper attention and to be treated appropriately.
For decades, doctors issued sleeping tablets willy-nilly, but they are not the quick fix nor the right answer: they do not work for many people, are addictive, and they often create a quality of sleep that is not good.
GPs may still prescribe short courses to offer temporary relief, but the correct way to treat insomnia takes time and patience with the aid of a GP or a sleep specialist. The main therapies are sleep restriction and stimulus control: both use strategies to correct the time and patterns of sleep gradually over weeks.
For example, sleep restriction therapy builds on strict bedtimes and wake times, starting with a much later bedtime and gradually pulling it forwards.
These methods can be used with other measures to create the right environment for sleep.
Such methods require motivation and strong support. Without sympathy, help and understanding, the mental and physical toll for long-term insomniacs can be intolerable.