Saturday, December 8, 2012

Paul Holmes to retire

As he did with Ricky Ponting, Father Time has called an end to Paul Holmes' career; the Herald reports:

Paul Holmes is retiring from broadcasting because of poor health, bringing to a close an acclaimed career that spanned five decades.
This year, he anchored TVNZ's Sunday current affairs programme Q&A, but says he will not return as he makes his health his priority.
Last week, he announced he was also giving up his Saturday morning radio show on Newstalk ZB.
The demands of weekly travel between his Hawkes Bay home and Auckland are too much, the 62-year-old told the Weekend Herald.
He will continue to write his Weekend Herald column, which will resume in the New Year.
"The decision is still pending really but I think it is only fair to the television channel, to New Zealand On Air and to the team who produce Q&A that they have a host the frequency of whose appearance is at least consistent."
He didn't think he would be doing the right thing by lingering on. "The other thing is, I've done enough broadcasting. I'm happy." His health is not up to the demands of the travel, prep and performance. "I think people know, the game is up."
Holmes is affected by a heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, usually hereditary, which results in the heart muscle thickening, making it work harder to pump the blood, and by the return of prostate cancer for which he underwent intensive radiotherapy 13 years ago.
He has had surgery this year for both conditions - the prostate cancer in January and to remove a blockage to his heart in June.
"The prostate cancer is the worry at the moment," he said during a wide-ranging interview at his home.
His heart condition decreases options for treating his cancer. He suffers from the occasional sudden bout of dry retching and is on "heaps" of medication and under the eye of a district nurse and specialists.
"I hadn't been as watchful as I ought to have been on the cancer, and the ticker suddenly emerged as a looming and serious problem."

Paul Holmes has been a colossus of the New Zealand broadcasting world for many years. He is a polarising figure, but that does not, in our ever-humble opinion, make him any less effective.

And he confesses to having been the author of his own professional demise:

The year of poor health had forced his hand, he said. "This one said: 'Slow down, boy, and reconcile yourself to the fact that you have probably done your biggest work'."
Holmes is renowned for his work ethic, for years starting early and finishing late anchoring top-rating morning radio and evening television current affairs shows and for being happiest when busy.
Months before these latest illnesses, he finished two years of passionate toil writing the work of which he says he is most proud Daughters of Erebus, a vindication of the pilots in the country's worst air disaster.
He hadn't found the decision to retire difficult, he said, because he is ready. "Busy is relative. And now if I can plant some red beet and some iceberg lettuce this afternoon, then I would have considered myself to have had a busy day, and I'm happy."
Holmes is satisfied more than disappointed. "I've done a lot of work and I'm proud of that because my father, he believed in hard work."

We will miss Paul Holmes, especially his Saturday morning radio programme which we listen to on days such as today when we will find ourselves at the office. It's cheerful, conversational, and familiar.

We wish Holmes well in his retirement, and hope that his health at least stabilises, if not improves. We only get one crack at life, and his decision to step off the work treadmill is a sensible one, before he works himself to an early grave. Thanks for the memories Paul.

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