Reality TV

Barry Du Bois opens up about SHOCK The Living Room cancellation

Barry Du Bois talks about his plans for a new TV show and the cause that’s close to his heart.
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Weeks after 10 revealed that The Living Room wouldn’t be airing next year, Barry Du Bois is still struggling to get his head around it.

“I’m desperately disappointed,” he tells TV WEEK. “Literally every day since we were told, I think that they’re going to send us an email and say, ‘Hey guys, we made a mistake – let’s get you back on.’

“I think there are a lot of people who rely on the laughs they have with us on a Friday night.”

WATCH NOW: Amanda Keller has emotional reunion with Barry Du Bois. Article continues after video.

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Barry, Amanda Keller, Chris Brown and Miguel Maestre have been bringing laughs – and a few tears – to Friday nights since 2012, winning four TV WEEK Logie Awards for Most Popular Lifestyle Program along the way.

The strong bond between the four The Living Room presenters has given the show its heart, and that bond remains – with or without the show.

”I had a cup of tea at Amanda’s place only two days ago, and Miguel has been ringing constantly since you’ve been talking to me,” Barry says.

”He’s probably going to the fish markets and wants me to come down now. But no, we’re a very close-knit group and I hope we come back on 10 – or somewhere else – as a foursome in some way.”

The cast of The Living Room at the 2022 Logie awards.

(IMAGE: Getty)

For Barry, The Living Room has been so much more than a lifestyle program. It’s been the place where he, Amanda, Chris and Miguel have shared whatever they’ve been going through in their lives – which, in Barry’s case, has included a battle with cancer.

”In the street, every day, people tell me how much they love me and banked on me beating cancer, and that helped them and their uncle and their dad and their cousin and their sister also believe they could beat it,” he says.

”So to me, that was a pretty special place, The Living Room.”

Viewers wept in 2017 when Barry shared that his cancer, which had been in remission for six years, had returned. He went through treatment again, and is now living a full life with his wife Leonie Tobler and their 10-year-old twins, Bennet and Arabella.

”I’m a 62-year-old man, but I’m a pretty fit 62-year-old,” he says.

”I’m still surfing, I’m still bodysurfing and swimming, I sail, I still play soccer and netball and basketball with my son and daughter… I do everything. I like to think I still can contribute to society. I’m very happy with my life.”

So long, farewell: The cast of The Living Room made a surprise guest appearance on Jonesy and Amanda ahead of the final episode.

(IMAGE: Jonesy and Amanda)

For Barry, it’s been important to share the story of his cancer battle with viewers. But he wants to do more. He wants all Australians diagnosed with cancer to have the same opportunities he had.

That’s why he travelled to Canberra in November to help deliver a White Paper on integrative oncology, funded by The Dry July Foundation, looking at how evidence-based complementary therapies can be used alongside treatments such as surgery, radiation and chemo.

”A couple of things I used a lot for myself were meditation and breathing exercises,” he explains. “Because when you’re on chemo, you’re generally on steroids [and] it’s very, very difficult to sleep. Rather than take sleep medication, these things help.”

Barry is passionate about making sure other people are offered complementary therapies that have proven benefits, with the Government meeting the cost of therapies such as massage.

”I’m an old, rich, white guy and I live in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. But if you’re a single mum in Goulburn [in rural NSW], you don’t have access to these things that can allow you to come back to society quickly.”

Barry lost his “beautiful mum”, Margaret, to cancer in 2004. He says when she was diagnosed, there was never a belief that she would one day again be a vital member of the community.

”They said, ‘No, this will end your life, so just take these drugs and do your best until you die.”’

Currently, Barry isn’t on any drugs. Exercise and nutrition are hugely important to him, and he’s incorporated yoga and meditation into his life.

”I have to be ready,” he says.

”The cancer I have is not a curable one. I’m going to be faced with a difficult situation again one day, and I want to be the fittest human I can be when that happens.”

With his biggest supporters, Arabella and Bennet.

(IMAGE: Instagram)

Barry is making the most of his good health. He and Leonie took Bennet and Arabella to Europe on a family holiday late last year, and the four of them spent nearly six weeks “joined at the hip”.

He says his kids are ”both very caring and very loving”, but he’s realised that they’re ”not the same as me exactly.”

”I think a trip like that and that perfect, beautiful, quality family time really gave me an opportunity to see that closer,” he says.

As for what he’ll be doing in 2023, Barry has plans. He’s more than willing to make another cameo in Neighbours when it returns – ”if they want me, I’m there” – but he also has some new ideas. He thinks there’s a gap in the market for a design/DIY series aimed at renters rather than homeowners.

”I’ve pitched a show to a couple of networks around that,” he says.

”We’ll see what happens there.”

Arabella and Bennet are their dad’s biggest fans.

(IMAGE: Instagram)

More than anything, though, Barry would love to be back on TV with Amanda, Chris and Miguel.

”I liked what we had, because I believe the four of us got to be who we were and share what we know with people who cared about us,” he says.

”We felt very lucky to be invited into families’ homes every Friday night.”

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