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 News Pop / Rock 16/05/2017

Mike & Jules: While We Still Have Time

Mike & Jules: While We Still Have Time


New York, NY (Top40 Charts) The programme team were already well into the production schedule - with the focus very much on Mike - when a fateful conversation took place between Jules Peters and Emyr Afan, the producer/director of the programme and the chief executive of independent production company, Avanti Media.

Mike Peters said: "Making the programme really saved Jules' life. It was when we were doing Snowdon Rocks last summer, and Jules and Emyr were walking back down from the summit of Snowdon, and got talking about the charity bike rides Emyr had been doing to raise breast cancer awareness.

"Emyr impressed on Jules the importance of testing yourself and Jules said, 'of course I test myself'. But Emyr insisted and said no, really go deep - really test yourself deeply. It was the next morning that Jules found the lump on her breast."

Mike is convinced that any further delay in getting the lump checked out might have had tragic consequences. "As Jules has only just turned 50 this last month," said Mike, "it's only now that she would have qualified for the test that maybe would have detected it through a mammogram. If Emyr hadn't made the film - if he hadn't given Jules that advice that day - it might have been undetected for another year, I might not have a wife now, and our sons Dylan and Evan might not have a mother. So from our family we'd like to thank Emyr deeply, and all the production team, for keeping Jules alive."

After finding the lump, an urgent visit to the doctor confirmed that a mammogram was needed, and more bad news was to come. In spite of going through such a difficult time, the couple decided to keep making the documentary. Mike and Jules: While We Still Have Time, turned out to be very different to what was originally planned - a powerful and honest story of a woman with breast cancer, and her personal journey through diagnosis, surgery and treatment.

Jules Peters said: "We've known Emyr for a long time, so I trusted him, and that's why we originally decided to make the BBC Wales programme with Avanti. And, in the end, I'm so glad I did it - it really helped me through, I don't think I could have done it without Emyr and the team, it was like having therapy on tap. They took great care and I think they helped me embrace the whole journey and really dig deeper than I could have done otherwise."

The couple are no strangers to cancer. The previous summer, husband Mike relapsed for a third time, 20 years after first being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The chemotherapy was no longer working, and his doctor at Ysbyty Gwynedd in Bangor fought to get him on a revolutionary new drug.

On the programme Jules says that, if anyone can deal with cancer, they're probably the best couple to do so. But with a US trip planned and several other commitments in the calendar, they faced many difficult decisions about the effect on their busy rock'n'roll lifestyle and their charity work.

Emyr Afan usually takes a supervisory role on his company's programmes, but was adamant from the start that he wanted to take a hands-on role with this documentary.

Emyr Afan said: "This programme was always very close to my heart - it was originally going to focus on a year in the life of Mike Peters, and I really wanted to produce and direct it myself because it meant a lot to me as a friend of Mike and Jules over many years. With the best documentaries you don't know at the beginning what the ending will be - and that's exactly what happened here. The other thing that makes a great documentary is trust, and I'm grateful to Mike and Jules for giving us their unprecedented trust. I feel privileged that I was allowed to go on that journey with them, and that they allowed us to make the film we wanted to make."

"It took a lot of courage from Jules in particular to carry on, but it means others who may have to go on a similar journey can know what it looks like."

The programme includes contributions from close family friends, including U2's Bono, who says: "Them both being ill is a whole new level of difficulty, but they're up to it. They'll win this fight and the most important thing is that they have long lives because they've a lot to contribute - we need more people like this. But Jules is a jewel - and she's precious - I know she's going to pull through."

Mike and Jules: While We Still Have Time will be broadcast on BBC One Wales on Monday, May 22 at 9pm, and the programme will be immediately followed on BBC Two Wales at 10pm withMike Peters: The Alarm Live - highlights from this year's 25th Anniversary of The Gathering from Llandudno - the key annual event for Mike Peters' fans attended by Alarm followers from all over the world.




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