Clive James, the broadcaster, has admitted he is "getting near the end" after several years of serious illness.

The Australian star, 72, best known for his hit show Clive James On Television, was diagnosed with leukaemia, kidney failure and lung disease in 2010.

He told Radio 4's Meeting Myself Coming Back: "I'm getting near the end. I don't want to cast a gloom, an air of doom, over the programme but I'm a man who is approaching his terminus."

In the show, to be broadcast on Saturday, Clive said he has "been really ill for two-and-a-half years" and "almost died four times in that period".

The father-of-two, who is married to academic Prue Shaw, said he was facing the fact he might never see Sydney again.

He said: "I've been so sick since January 2010, especially my lung disease, that I'm not allowed to fly. You couldn't get enough oxygen aboard a plane for me to get me to Sydney."

Clive's spokeswoman later released a statement saying that he was in reasonable shape and looking forward to years of working.

The statement said: "On air the interview which Clive James gave to the BBC sounded much less doom-laden than it does when transcribed.

"Clive is in fact in reasonable shape and is looking forward to years of working, writing his books and his column for the Telegraph."

The star was born in Sydney and came to England in 1961, where he made a career in journalism including a successful stint as a prominent literary critic and then television columnist for The Observer. Clive James On Television ran for years and his wry commentary on programmes including the Japanese gameshow Endurance made him a household name.