Fry’s ‘mad compulsion’ behind him
Wednesday 9th October 2013, 5:50PM BST.
Stephen Fry has told how he has moved on from the “mad compulsion” which led to a suicide attempt earlier this year and is on effective medication for his depression for the first time in his life.
The broadcaster and writer tried to take his life while working on a two-part BBC2 documentary about the lives of gay people around the world and their experiences of homophobia to be screened next week.
Fry, the host of highbrow BBC panel show QI, said at the moment he is feeling “much better” but said he found it uncomfortable to watch the scenes recorded in the build-up to his low-point.
During the programmes, called Stephen Fry: Out There which begin on Monday, he looked at the prejudices faced by people in countries as diverse as the US and Uganda.
And the realities of the entrenched anti-gay views became overwhelming during the course of filming the programmes.
In an interview with the Press Association he said he could identify the moment in the film where it all became too much and a turning point occurred.
He said: ” There’s a moment in the film where I recognised that this was the last moment we filmed before this wave of depression came over me, and I was idiotic or victim enough, or whatever one wants to call it, of this mad compulsion.
“It seems mad now because I’m on a course of medication for the first time in my life that really seems to be working so it does feel really strange. But at the same time I can recognise that moment.
“And I won’t say what it is because I don’t want people to look out for it then, but of course it makes my heart sink a little because I think that’s so odd because it’s such a really wonderfully important part of the film and it’s a very pivotal moment.
“And I asked myself if there was a connection between the despair that swept over me whether it was triggered by or at least reinforced by the despair that swept over me at the sheer weight of official homophobia that I was experiencing at that particular point of filming. But I’m glad to say at the moment things are much better.”
Fry said: ” Homophobia stands on a tripod of three preposterous lies – a decent and normal person can see they’re lies but somebody who is either themselves poor or feels dispossessed or is looking for someone to blame can follow those lies.
“One that it’s a choice, two that we want to recruit and the third even more pernicious one is that we’re after children in, not just recruitment, but that we actually want to abuse them – and that is just wickedness. There’s no more logic in that than saying heterosexuality is wicked because of paedophilia of men against little girls.”
Discussing the idea that it may be lifestyle choice, Fry said: ” Who would choose to be gay in Iraq or Iran where you could literally be thrown into a pit of fire? It’s just absurd. Plus I only have to think of my own example I grew up in a culture which basically told me to be straight because the second lie is recruitment that gay people want to recruit the young into being gay.
“It’s a bizarre idea. I’ve never wanted one extra gay person in the world, there are plenty of us around. In fact the boot’s on the other foot – I do know a lot of women saying, ‘Oh, why do all the boys I like turn out to be gay?’ they’re the ones who want to do the recruiting and the promoting of heterosexuality, but I grew up in a world in which heterosexuality was entirely promoted.
“That’s to say that every Bond film and Carry On film, every magazine and TV advert, every TV programme, every episode of Are You Being Served?, was basically just saying, you know, this is what being real is – it’s whistling at an hourglass figure, and admiring Brigitte Bardot and breasts and all this kind of thing and my school friends would say ‘come here look at the bazookas on that’ and did that make me straight, this 100% pressure to be straight?
“Are heterosexuals so fragile that even this suggestion of being homosexual and happy is possible will suddenly make the entire heterosexual edifice crumble because everyone secretly wants to be gay. It’s just so obviously nonsense,” Fry said.
:: Stephen Fry: Out There is on BBC2 on Monday at 9pm; a second programme is screened on Wednesday at 9pm.