Stephen Fry reveals attempted suicide

Wednesday 5th June 2013 @ 4:39pm by Aaron

Stephen Fry. Image credit: BBC.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:

 

Latest News

The Revolution Will Be Televised takes on America

The Revolution Will Be Televised takes on America

Hit BBC Three satirical prank show The Revolution Will Be Televised returns to screens in October, and has now taken on the American establishment.

Alex Horne and Greg Davies star in new show Taskmaster

Alex Horne and Greg Davies star in new show Taskmaster

Alex Horne and Greg Davies will star in Taskmaster, a new show for channel Dave in which comedian guests have to undertake various challenges.

Peter Kay to star in Danny Baker's comedy?

Peter Kay to star in Danny Baker's comedy?

A newspaper report suggests Peter Kay will play the father in Danny Baker's Cradle To Grave comedy drama.

Toast Of London wins prestigious Rose d'Or award

Toast Of London wins prestigious Rose d'Or award

Matt Berry's Channel 4 sitcom Toast Of London has won the sitcom award at the prestigious international Rose d'Or Awards. Bridget Christie won in the radio category.

Alexander Armstrong and Kevin Eldon star in new Danger Mouse

Alexander Armstrong and Kevin Eldon star in new Danger Mouse

Alexander Armstrong, Kevin Eldon and Dave Lamb will voice the new series of Danger Mouse, due on CBBC next year.

Daniel Rigby to star in police sitcom Undercover

Daniel Rigby to star in police sitcom Undercover

TV channel Dave has announced it has ordered Undercover, a new sitcom about a covert police officer. Daniel Rigby will take the lead role.

Get More News

In The Press

In The Press

The latest press clippings from the newspapers and various internet blogs.

Newsletter

Newsletter

Subscribe to our mailing list to get news and more in your inbox every Monday.

Twitter

Twitter Feed

You can follow us on Twitter too. We post the latest news and gossip every evening.

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Subscribe to our RSS feed to get our headlines in your news reader software.

Axis of Awesome interview

Axis of Awesome interview

Musical comedy group Axis of Awesome talk about their UK tour, and their elaborate YouTube series. Read

Video: Cardinal Burns tips

Video: Cardinal Burns tips

In this video, double-act Cardinal Burns offer insight and tips on how to create a sketch show. Watch

The Job Lot inteviews

The Job Lot inteviews

The cast of The Job Lot talk about the second series of the sitcom set around a Job Centre. Read

Enter the Hobgoblin Awards

Enter the Hobgoblin Awards

The search for the next British comedy talent is underway. Do you have what it takes to win? Read

Comedy Knights 2014 winner

Comedy Knights 2014 winner

Dave Green has been named the winner of the Comedy Knights 2014 stand-up comedy competition. Read

Job Lot Series 2 interviews

Job Lot Series 2 interviews

Interviews with all the key cast members of The Job Lot, as Series 2 prepares to start on ITV2. Read

Bad Education interviews

Bad Education interviews

The cast of Bad Education talk about what looks set to be the final series of the hit school sitcom. Read

Bad Bridesmaid - Holly Burn

Bad Bridesmaid - Holly Burn

Holly Burn talks about how her cover was almost blown whilst filming on ITV2 show Bad Bridesmaid. Read

Is a Scottish kilt a skirt?

Is a Scottish kilt a skirt?

Extract from eBay. A Scottish seller gets into an argument over whether his kilt is technically a skirt. Read

Comic calendar Kickstarter

Comic calendar Kickstarter

Stand-up John Cooper has launched a Kickstarter drive to fund a calendar of his stand-up comic strips. Read

Stephen Fry's new book

Stephen Fry's new book

Details have been released about More Fool Me, the candid new memoir book from Stephen Fry. Read

John Cleese tour

John Cleese tour

John Cleese is to tour the UK in a series of live shows themed around his autobiography. Read

Rik Mayall interview

Rik Mayall interview

Video in which Rik Mayall talks about Crackanory and explains what makes a great storyteller. Watch

Video: Cardinal Burns

Video: Cardinal Burns

Here's a funny video from sketch act Cardinal Burns, who are getting ready to tour the country. Watch

Best Edinburgh shows 2014

Best Edinburgh shows 2014

A list of the comedy shows at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe that got the most top star ratings. Read

300+ shows in one month

300+ shows in one month

An interview with David Chapple, who has set a record by seeing over 300 different shows at the Fringe. Read

Bad Bridesmaid filming blog

Bad Bridesmaid filming blog

A blog from Anna Morris, one of the actors going undercover in in the new ITV2 show Bad Bridesmaid. Read

Cofilmic's cash prize

Cofilmic's cash prize

COFILMIC Comedy Film Festival has teamed up with Wildseed Studios to offer a £10,000 Award. Read

Comedy Versus Alcohol

Comedy Versus Alcohol

A look at the long established, sometimes turbulent, relationship between comedy and alcohol. Read

Win Cuckoo Series 1

Win Cuckoo Series 1

Win a copy of Series 1 of Cuckoo on DVD, the sitcom starring Greg Davies and Andy Samberg. Enter

Thom Tuck interview

Thom Tuck interview

Thom Tuck talks Munnery, Bambi, expensive dross at the Fringe, piles of rubbish on BBC3, and more. Read

Big School interviews

Big School interviews

David Walliams, Catherine Tate, Philip Glenister and Frances de la Tour talk about Big School Series 2. Read

Obituary: Lord Alan B'Stard

Obituary: Lord Alan B'Stard

Lord Alan B'Stard, First Marquess of Haltemprice, has died at the age of 58, it has been confirmed. Read

Lucy Beaumont interview

Lucy Beaumont interview

Lucy Beaumont talks about how she got started in comedy, and what she misses about leaving Hull. Read

Aidan Strangeman wins

Aidan Strangeman wins

Musical comedian Aidan Strangeman has won the 2014 So You Think You're Funny? new act competition. Read

Pre-Gig Notes: Photos

Pre-Gig Notes: Photos

A photo gallery providing an intimate insight into the pre-gig routines and notes of some of comedians. Read