Frank Skinner says he used to be a 'reckless alcoholic' who lived a 'strange life'

The comedian talked frankly about his battle with alcoholism

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Frank Skinner has revealed he used to be a “reckless alcoholic”, who slept on the streets and experienced temporary blindness.

The comedian spoke candidly to talk show host Jonathan Ross about his past battle with alcoholism and how he finally became sober.

In an interview to be aired on Saturday night, the 57-year-old said: “It’s a word I don’t like but yes, I mean proper… I was quite a reckless alcoholic.

“I lived a strange life, I remember [with] a friend of mine sleeping next to a railway line one night not by choice, we just couldn’t walk any further… I slept on grass verges in Birmingham city centre and stuff like that.”

Skinner said he realised he needed to stop drinking after he began waking up to a glass of Pernod.

“I remember thinking ‘you know you’ve gone too far this time’,” he said.

“So that was the moment when I thought ‘maybe this is getting a bit out of hand’ but I didn’t seek help, I basically got the flu and I couldn't consume alcohol for about five days just because I was ill and I hadn’t gone five days for 14 years and I thought ‘I wonder if I could do six days’ and I just carried on like that.”


Skinner, who stopped drinking on 24 September, 1986, said that he misses it but wouldn’t risk retuning to the life he once led.

He said: “I went blind for about 40 minutes [one morning] and couldn’t see at all… it was so  terrifying I needed a drink!”

The visual impairment experience Skinner relates is caused by drinking heavily and often. Excessive drinking can not only cause your vision to become blurry but can lead to optic neuropathy. This results in a painless loss of vision and problems seeing colours.

Skinner appears on the show alongside singer Lily Allen., TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and Hunger Games stars Natalie Dormer and Stanley Tucci.

The Jonathan Ross Show airs on Saturday 8 November at 9.45pm on ITV