Entertainment

Missing TV doctor: What we know about his last known movements and what might have happened

A major search operation is under way to find TV doctor Michael Mosley on the Greek island of Symi after he was reported missing by his wife.

Police officers are scouring the island, with drones and a helicopter being deployed in an effort to find the health expert and presenter.

The rescue operation is focusing on the Pedi area of the island after a woman reported seeing him there shortly before he disappeared on Wednesday.

Here, Sky News looks at Mosley’s extensive career and what we know about his last known movements.

Medical background

Mosley, who was born in India before moving to England to attend boarding school aged seven, studied philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) at the University of Oxford.

He initially opted to become an investment banker but eventually retrained as a doctor, studying medicine at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

After qualifying, he joined the BBC as a trainee assistant producer and has continued working with them for nearly 30 years, both as a producer and presenter.

Mosley is married to Clare Bailey, who is also a doctor, health columnist and author, and has four children.

Dr Michael Mosley with wife Clare. Pic: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock
Image:
Dr Michael Mosley with wife Clare. Pic: Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

TV work

The 67-year-old has been a regular fixture of British television for nearly two decades, and has appeared in more than a dozen programmes for the BBC alone.

He’s made appearances on television programmes including This Morning and The One Show, and fronted his own TV shows for Channel 4 called Secrets Of Your Big Shop and Who Made Britain Fat?

The latter, released in 2022, looked at why the UK is losing its battle with obesity after 30 years of government schemes trying to tackle the issue.

Mosley pictured at fast food restaurant as part of promo for a Channel 4 series. Pic: PA
Image:
Mosley at a fast food restaurant as part of promo for a Channel 4 series. Pic: Avalon/Channel4 via PA

Mosley has also been a presenter on the BBC series Trust Me, I’m a Doctor.

In one of his most notable TV appearances, Mosley lived with tapeworms in his gut for six weeks for the documentary Infested! Living With Parasites.

It was one of many unusual experiments he’s carried out on himself during his TV work, including eating a black pudding made with his own blood and injecting snake venom into his blood to see how it clotted in the BBC documentary The Wonderful World Of Blood.

His programmes have received Emmy, BAFTA and Royal Television Society award nominations and he was named “medical journalist of the year” by the British Medical Association in 1995.

Other media work

Mosley has written columns for The Mail On Sunday, The Times and The Independent. He is also a regular columnist for Focus magazine and Eureka.

He’s authored several books including The Fast 800, The Clever Guts Diet, The Fast Diet, Fast Exercise and The 8-Week Blood Sugar Diet.

While most of his work is health related, Mosley has also been the executive producer of popular science and history programmes including Pompeii – The Last Day, and business programmes such as Trouble At The Top.

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February: Dr Michael Mosley promotes show

He was nominated for an Emmy in 2002 for his executive producer role on BBC science documentary The Human Face, presented by John Cleese and featuring a raft of famous faces including Elizabeth Hurley, Pierce Brosnan and David Attenborough.

The broadcaster also hosts a Radio 4 podcast titled Just One Thing, where he reveals tips to help improve your health.

He recorded a special edition of the show, has run for more than 100 episodes, at the Hay Festival on 25 May with Professor Tanya Byron.

The 5:2 diet

Mosley is credited for the rising popularity of the 5:2 diet for losing weight, which involves fasting for two days per week.

He highlighted the form of intermittent fasting in his 2013 book The Fast Diet, which he co-authored with journalist Mimi Spencer.

The diet permits you to eat normally five days of the week but fast on the other two by reducing your calories to only 500-600 calories per day.

What we know about his last known movements

Map of the Greek island Symi
Image:
A map of the Greek island Symi

Mosley is believed to have gone for a walk on Wednesday afternoon while on holiday on the island, which is a popular destination for hikers.

Here is a timeline of his last known movements.

Wednesday – 1.30pm: Mosley goes for a walk from Saint Nikolas Beach on Symi, which is part of the Dodecanese island chain and is about 25 miles north of Rhodes.

Wednesday – 3pm: He has not returned to the hotel he is staying at with his wife Clare.

Wednesday – 7.30pm: Mosley’s wife reportedly raises the alarm and Greek authorities start to retrace his route but do not find him.

Thursday – 11am: An appeal (which appears to have been first posted on Wednesday at 5.34pm) is updated in a local Facebook group called Friends of Symi, which includes a photograph of Mosley on a beach wearing a blue T-shirt, grey knee-length shorts, a blue baseball cap and dark sunglasses. He is pictured holding a green rucksack.

Dr Michael Mosley
Image:
This image of Dr Michael Mosley was shared in a local Facebook group appeal

The post reads: “Have you seen this man? He set off to walk back from St Nick’s at about 13.30 and failed to make it home. “

It adds: “His name is Dr Mike Mosley and he is a familiar face for many British people.” The edit reads: “So far he still has not been found and the search continues.”

Search for Dr Michael Mosley
Image:
Drones have been deployed on the island

Thursday – 2pm: Six firefighters, a vehicle and a drone team are deployed from Rhodes to join the search.

Thursday – 7pm: A helicopter joins the search as Greek authorities continue to scour the coast.

Search for Dr Michael Mosley
Image:
A helicopter being used in the search

The helicopter's movements in the search on Thursday night. Pic: flightradar24
Image:
The helicopter’s movements in the search on Thursday night. Pic: flightradar24

Thursday night: Greek police say the search is being paused, but “more men will be coming” on Friday morning. Before the search is halted, Adriana Shum, the person to share the Facebook appeal, says in a comment on the social media post: “Apparently he was sighted at Kamares so he made it that far.” She adds Mosley reportedly “left his phone at his accommodation”.

Friday – 7am: Police confirm the search has resumed.

Friday morning: The local mayor’s office says islanders, a helicopter from Rhodes and Greek officers, along with police drafted in from outside the island, are searching the Pedi area and surroundings. The rescue operation is focusing on that area of the island after a woman reported seeing Mosley there on Wednesday.

Friday – later: Divers are “looking in the water” for Mosley, Symi’s deputy mayor says.

Symi’s coastguard says around five patrol boats, as well as private and commercial vessels in the area, are also involved in the operation.

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