Stephen Fry felt 'undesirable' when he arrived in London in 80s

Julia Hunt
Stephen Fry presenting the 2019 Dave's Edinburgh Comedy Awards, at Dovecot Studio in Edinburgh. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)

Stephen Fry has revealed he hated the gay scene when he got to London and felt like “an undesirable person”.

The actor and TV star, 62, grew up in Norfolk but arrived in London in the early 80s.

Speaking on the Homo Sapiens podcast, Fry said he wasn’t a fan of “dance places” and found it tough walking into nightspots where people looked him up and down and turned away.

“I always hated what was called ‘the scene’ when I arrived in London – I arrived in London at a bad time for any gay person to arrive, in 1981, it was exactly the same time as the HIV virus,” he said.

“I remember hearing about GRID – gay related immune deficiency and bathhouse flu and all kinds of other strange words.”

Stephen Fry early in his career

Fri said he would frequent Heaven in London and other clubs, as well as a gay bar in Chelsea.

He said he felt comfortable in the pub as it was “full of cosy old people who sat and chatted” but wasn’t such a fan of some of the clubs.

“The look up and down, sweeping eyes as you walk into a club and, in my case, the look up and down and the quick turn away!” he said.

“I’m such an undesirable person. I’m as far from cute as it is possible to be.

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“Not that I particularly wanted to be but it was just… also I just don’t like dance places, I just like talking.”

Stephen Fry poses for photographers upon arrival at the British Academy Film Awards in 2017. (Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)

Fry – who has been open about his mental health struggles in the past – also told how he came to realise that he was lonely.

The star, who has been married to husband Elliott Spencer since 2015, said: “It wasn’t until I had the awful experience in the mid-90s when I was in a play and I walked out, this was when I had to start examining my mind and what was going on with me and why it was going wrong and why I was unhappy when I was at the top of the game that I had set myself.

“I had achieved things I never dreamed I would – everything should have been wonderful, every light was green and yet I was in such a state of terrible misery and distress.

“Weirdly it was almost the exact same time that I was cast in the film to play Oscar Wilde that I met my first boyfriend since the one at Cambridge.”

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He added: “I think (during that time) I realised one of the things I was unhappy about was that I was lonely, I really was.”