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30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 16 February 2014

A former BBC reporter talks about the lost decade of his life and how a generous break from a Welsh MP saved him from alcoholism and sleeping rough. Email religion.wales@bbc.co.uk.

  • A Lost Decade


    On All Things Considered this week Roy Jenkins guest is a familiar figure from radio and television news programmes.


    As a BBC Wales political reporter, John Stevenson was regularly seen and heard analysing affairs at Westminster and interviewing the men and women who make laws there.   But a few months ago he dropped his journalistic objectivity, and told his own personal and very painful story in a film for S4C.  


    Gadael Y Gwter, Getting up from the Gutter, was more than a neat title, because John Stevenson climbed out of many all too real gutters during what he regards as his lost decade.  He had already lost his marriage, and a couple of jobs; he had wrestled with his sexuality, and then spent much of the eighties in an alcoholic haze, homeless on the streets of Cardiff, Bristol and London. 


    It was an experience he can hardly have imagined when he left home in Anglesey for university in Bangor in the 1970s, intending to become a Baptist minister.

    But astonishingly, thanks partly to a generous break from the MP Ann Clwyd, he eventually returned to broadcasting, and has been dry now for twenty years.



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