Michaela Strachan opens up on 'heartbreaking year' as she shares secret grief battle while filming BBC series

Michaela Strachan opens up on 'heartbreaking year' as she shares secret grief battle while filming BBC series

WATCH HERE: Michaela Strachan talks about her cancer battle

Olivia Gantzer

By Olivia Gantzer

Published: 27/03/2024

- 05:02

Updated: 27/03/2024

- 08:45

The television presenter explained why it was hard for her to open up during the show

BBC presenter Michaela Strachan has reflected on how she’d faced a “heartbreaking year” before filming for the sixth series of Pilgrimage.

The show sees a group of famous faces from different backgrounds and religions taking on a pilgrimage to see if the practice has a place in today’s world, and Strachan admitted she was facing a secret grief battle when she took part in the often gruelling task.

Speaking to GB News and other media about Pilgrimage, Strachan explained how nature is her main belief system which offers her comfort.

“Mountains are my place to go for peace and for me, I feel like I’m meditating when I get to a mountain.

“And so we got to the top of the mountain and it was such a beautiful place and you can see so far… I tended to sneak off and walk on my own for a bit.

“That for me is a way to cope with those feelings – being with nature and having your own thoughts.”

Sonali Shah and Michaela Strachan

Strachan had endured a 'heartbreaking year'


The Springwatch star, who has overcome breast cancer herself, explained how her close friend died last year of the same illness.

Strachan underwent a double mastectomy and is now free of the disease, but explained how she started the pilgrimage for the BBC show soon after attending her friend’s funeral after she was diagnosed with a “very similar” form of cancer with the same treatment.

“There were times when I wanted my own space and that came as a surprise to me because I’m usually somebody who is part of a group,” Strachan explained.

“But I was very much on the outside. As well as my best friend, there was a lot of other losses last year, it was heartbreaking.

Michaela Strachan, Sonali Shah and Spencer Matthews

Strachan took part in the sixth series of the BBC show


“And just before Pilgrimage was my best friend’s funeral. She had breast cancer, the same diagnosis that I had, which was very poignant.

“I held her hand through her journey and went on Pilgrimage at a time where I was processing.

“It was a very similar diagnosis to mine, she was just unlucky. And it wasn’t just her, there was a string of people in my close circle who died.

“And so when I was doing it, it was difficult because when you’re grieving, you’d rather be with people that know you.

Michaela Strachan and Amanda Lovett

Strachan had lost people close to her just before she filmed the series


“Then you share the grief and when you’re with very, very big characters, you feel alone.

“But then I thought, 'this has given me two weeks to process my emotions and this heartbreaking year that I’ve been through.'

“I might have been a more robust character in the show had I not been going through that, but I don’t feel comfortable being vulnerable in front of people.”

Strachan was joined by Amanda Lovett, Spencer Matthews, Sonali Shah, Eshaan Akbar, Tom Rosenthal and Christine McGuinness in the upcoming new series of Pilgrimage, which sees the group take on a religious journey through North Wales.

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