Stephen Fry reveals attempted suicide
Stephen Fry has revealed that he attempted suicide in 2012, but was saved by his producer.
Speaking to Richard Herring on Monday night for Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, Fry revealed to a shocked audience at the central London venue that he made a suicide bid whilst filming overseas last year.
Fry has long been open about his suffering from the at-times debilitating mental condition, bipolar disorder (manic depression), and is President of mental health charity Mind.
Amongst numerous symptoms, bipolar disorder primarily manifests as inflicting upon Fry, and others with the condition, drastic mood swings, between hyperactive positivity and deep depression.
Stephen Fry said: "I am the victim of my own moods, more than most people are perhaps, in as much as I have a condition which requires me to take medication so that I don't get either too hyper or too depressed to the point of suicide."
Speaking about suicide, he added: "I would go as far as to tell you that I attempted it last year, so I'm not always happy - this is the first time I've said this in public, but I might as well. I'm president of Mind, and the whole point in my role, as I see it, is not to be shy and forthcoming about the morbidity and genuine nature of the likelihood of death amongst people certain mood disorders."
He elaborated: "It was a close run thing. I took a huge number of pills and a huge [amount] of vodka and the mixture of them made my body convulse so much that I broke four ribs, but I was still unconscious. And, fortunately, the producer I was filming with at the time came into the hotel room and I was found in a sort of unconscious state and taken back to England and looked after."
In an attack on the stigma of mental health problems, Fry attempted to convey to non-sufferers the lack of reasoning behind depression.
He explained: "There is no 'why', it's not the right question. There's no reason. If there were a reason for it, you could reason someone out of it, and you could tell them why they shouldn't take their own life.
"All my friends when they heard about this, and my family when they eventually heard about it, came to visit me in the hospital said 'Why didn't you call?'. And I said, it's a very odd thing, but put it this way: It's a cheap and silly way of putting it, but it's just as true...
"Think of your very best friend. Very, very best friend. Suppose you suddenly noticed you had a massive and really disturbing genital wart... would you show it to your very best friend? No, no... you might show it to a stranger, a doctor, a genital urinary specialist, or to Doctor Christian I suppose on Embarrassing Bodies - or in the street in his case. But, the weird thing is, although friendship is what Ralph Waldo Emerson called the 'masterpiece of nature', it is a thing we all celebrate, oddly enough it doesn't solve things like that."
Talking of other symptoms of bipolar disorder, Fry said: "If un-medicated, there are times when I am so exuberant, so hyper, that I can go three or four nights without sleeping and I'm writing and I'm doing stuff and I'm so grandiose and so full of self-belief that it's almost impossible to deal with me. I can't stop speaking, I'm incredible, I go on shopping sprees..."
He jokingly added: "Fortunately one of the common signs of mania, or hyper-mania as it is known, is sexual exhibitionism. I don't have that as one of my brands, but others do."
Fry concluded: "There are times when I'm doing QI and I'm going 'ha ha, yeah, yeah', and inside I'm going 'I want to fucking die. I... want... to... fucking... die.'"
Stephen Fry was appearing as the guest on Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast. The weekly series is in the middle of a six-episode run, recorded each Monday evening in central London, with a fourth, six-part series planned for September. The show picked up the Bronze award at the Sony Radio Academy Awards last month, the first podcast to be recognised in the main comedy category.
A video of the full 90 minute interview can be downloaded now from Go Faster Stripe for £3.50. The free audio podcast version will be released via this website and iTunes at noon on Thursday.
In the following video, published when Fry took over the Mind charity's presidency in September 2011, the comedian explains the work of the organisation:
For more information about the work of mental health charity Mind, visit their official website
Story edit, 6th June - additional media added:
The full 90 minute podcast interview (podcast page):
Two video clips from other parts of the interview:
Fry talks about his time in prison:
Fry admits he has never read The Hobbit:
Radio 4 is developing And God Laughs, a new panel show that 'takes a humorous look at religion in its many and varied forms'. Katy Brand will host.
Just two episodes into its first series, Channel 4 has recommissioned Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney's sitcom Catastrophe.
Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse are reportedly collaborating with the BBC to make a special to celebrate 25 years of their comedy partnership.
The first series of revived sitcom Still Open All Hours came to a close last night with a peak of over 8 million viewers.
The results of the ninth annual Comedy.co.uk Awards have been announced, with Cabin Pressure writer John Finnemore the biggest winner of the year.
ITV2 has ordered a brand new panel show focussed on the world of reality television, to be hosted by Stephen Mulhern with team captains Emma Willis and Joel Dommett.
David Jason talks about Only Fools And Horses, in the process revealing his favourite scene from the show. Read
The comedians involved in Let's Play Darts For Comic Relief talk about how good they are at throwing the 'arrows'. Read
We have three copies of the DVD of football comedy film United We Fall to give away. Find out more: Enter
A preview of 'Goodbye - The (After) Life of Cook & Moore', the comic play about Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. Read
BCG chats to Count Arthur Strong. Somehow he gets the impression we've booked him for Just A Minute. Read
Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney talk about how Catastrophe, their new Channel 4 show was conceived. Read
100s of comedians will take part in Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival 2015 between 4th & 22nd February. Read
The second series of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton's anthology show is filming now. More details here: Read
The cast of ITV2's post-apocalyptic sitcom Cockroaches talk about the show. Jack Whitehall explains it's unique. Read
Here's a list of the ten British comedy shows that were repeated the most in 2014. LOTSW was top. Read
We've selected 10 great facts from David Mitchell's Radio 4 show The Unbelievable Truth. Have a look: Read
The hit panel show podcast returns. Pappy's are joined by guests Alex Brooker and Angela Barnes. Listen
2014 saw the usually politics-fuelled Josie Long take a more personal fork of the comedy freeway. Interview
Milton Jones joins Richard Herring to discuss killer heckles, when gigs go wrong and more besides. Listen
David Walliams talks about bringing another one of his books, The Boy In The Dress, to television. Read
Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival is organising a trip for Londoners featuring a packed day of comedy. Read
The finalists for the NATYS contest have been announced, but the organisers warn of problems with the circuit. Read
The internet has been busy creating lots of funny festive video sketches. Here's 20 of the best from 2014. Watch
UK Pun Champion Darren Walsh has written us some festive jokes. There's a couple of drawings too. Read
Pointless star Richard Osman joins Richard Herring for an entertaining chat. Watch or listen here: Listen
The winners of UKTV Gold's Christmas Cracker joke competition have been announced. Read the top 10: Read
Alistair Barrie and Nick Revell host a festive edition of the No Pressure To Be Funny political podcast. Listen
Check out some of the puns from the comedians who will take part in the UK Pun Championships 2015. Read
A list of 25 festive comedy specials to look out for between now and 2015. There's lots of treats ahead: Read
Shopping for gifts? We've plenty to choose from in our Christmas selection, from books to DVDs. Browse