Stephen Fry has revealed that he attempted suicide following an interview with a Ugandan politician he describes as a “foaming, frothing homophobe”.
The actor and TV personality recalls his encounter with Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, in BBC One’s forthcoming mental health documentary The Not So Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive: 10 Years On.
Fry tells viewers Lokodo “was a foaming, frothing homophobe of the worst kind [and] behind the bill in Uganda that was supposed to make homosexuality a capital offence, in other words a death sentence”.
“It was a very passionate interview and I was very strong in my opinions,” he adds.
Fry then recalls the suicidal feelings he experienced after completing his interview with the Ugandan minister. “I paced around trying to analyse what it was that had disappeared from me. It seemed as though the whole essence of me had disappeared. Everything that was me was no longer there. Just some feeling came over me that this was the end,” he explains.
“I just carefully lined up I don’t know how many of those damned pills and drank all the vodka that there was there with the pills,” he adds. “The next thing I remember was that I’m on the floor and an embarrassed member of the hotel is looking down at the carpet in the doorway [saying], ‘We’ve just got to get him to a hospital’.”
When Fry returned to the UK, his psychiatrist Dr William Shanahan kept him on suicide watch for a day and a half and even considered having him sectioned. “I was worried enough about him to believe he might actually kill himself,” Shanahan says in the documentary.
The Not So Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive: 10 Years On airs on BBC One on Monday (February 15) at 9pm. It finds Fry revising the mental health issues he previously explored in his 2006 documentary The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive.