Tom beats cancer to become top writer

Tom Bidwell has found fame working on TV programmes such as EastEnders, Holby City and Casualty – but it's nothing compared to his own remarkable life story.

Tom Bidwell has found fame working on TV programmes such as EastEnders, Holby City and Casualty – but it's nothing compared to his own remarkable life story.

The former pupil from Balshaw's High School, Leyland, is only 25 but is already being described as one of the country's brightest writing talents.

He's currently writing a storyline for the soap EastEnders but admits that there was nothing fictional about his own fight for life as a teenager.

When he was 14 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 1999 and underwent months of exhausting chemotherapy.

Thankfully that's all behind him but he says his experiences have given him a different perspective on life and his career.

Recalling how the drama first arose he says: "I wasn't sleeping because of a pain in my shoulder. I went to the doctor but was told it was a pulled muscle.

"The pain didn't go away and eventually I went to hospital for an X-ray and that's when they found the tumour."

It was the size of a grapefruit and he started chemotherapy almost immediately.

"I watched Preston play Arsenal in the FA Cup first," he says.

"Arsenal won 4-2, I think."

Tom says only diehard fans will recognise his storylines but his work has been picked up by Harry Hill's TV Burp.

"I had a lot of text messages about that," he laughs.

Tom's hero is Jimmy McGovern, one of British television's most prolific and influential writing talents, whose credits include The Street.

Tom returns to Balshaw's High School in November to hand out the prizes at the annual speech night.

For the full feature, see Wednesday's Lancashire Evening Post.

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