Speaking candidly with the newspaper on the eve of Emmerdale’s 40th Anniversary – in which he played farmer’s son, Joe Sugden – Frazer, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 1999, believes the disease led to the end of his marriage and robbed him of the opportunity to have children:
I would’ve loved to have children and I’m really good with kids, but I just didn’t want to commit to anything when I had cancer. I didn’t want to plan for the future. Friends said to me, ‘You’d be leaving a legacy’, but I just couldn’t see it like that. I couldn’t see the end of the rainbow.
The first five years after a diagnosis are the worst – they say, don’t buy any long records and don’t read War and Peace. For me, it was ‘Don’t have kids’.
His decision was one of the biggest regrets of his life and even now, two years after doctors gave him the all-clear, he refuses to say he’s in remission – an admission that led him to doubt whether he would survive to enjoy children.
I always said I’m not cured; I have not beaten cancer – because there is always the risk it will come and bite you in the bum again.
After his first marriage to Irish actress, Gemma Craven ended, he got together with ex-world champ water skier, Liz Hobbs, but with the diagnosis and the pressure it placed upon the couple, Frazer sensed that it was the beginning of the end for their relationship:
Liz was desperate for a child. But in my mind I thought, why? I could die. Then I found the marriage was beginning to deteriorate…You go through this self-doubt. It was my fault; I just withdrew and said I don’t want to have a family. It was incredibly selfish.
In between breeding racehorses at his stud farm in Nottingham, Frazer has two movies in the pipeline, and, for the first time in years, is looking for a new woman in his life:
The problem is, I’m a romantic sort but girls these days don’t seem to want flowers and chocolate. I’m not quite sure what they’re after.