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Gareth Gates - Stop My Stutter

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Gareth Gates Gareth Gates | 17:40 UK time, Friday, 24 February 2012

Stop My Stutter presenter Gareth Gates


Living with a stammer is difficult. It's a daily uphill struggle with emotional baggage weighing you down. You can't be the person you want to be. Why? Because you have no voice. No voice = no personality + no opinion. The stammer dictates who and what you are. You end up ordering a meal or a drink you can say rather than the ones you actually want. Stammerers end up in jobs they don't care much for (i.e. sat behind a computer) to avoid having to speak to anyone. It controls you and it makes decisions for you.

Stop my Stutter looks at how five young adults try to reverse this, as they make the first few steps to trying to control it.

I've stammered all my life, and it's fair to say that my stammer has shaped my life. It's made me make some decisions that I'm sure I wouldn't have if I didn't suffer with this affliction.

I particularly liked the idea of making this documentary with a group of people who are roughly the same age as me. Young adults living with a stutter is hard work. How do they handle job interviews? What do they do when the phone rings?  How do they 'chat someone up'? All these things the average person takes for granted prove to be a stammerers' biggest challenge.

This documentary shows how these 'everyday speaking situations' plague and torture these young adults, but then how a little hard work and courage can unlock a whole new life as they find a voice.

Get your tissues ready, it's emotional!

Stop My Stutter is on Monday at 9pm


  • Comment number 1.

    Cant Wait to watch! I've looked up to you since i first started to stammer when i was 6 up until now that i'm 16 Thanks for the help:) Please follow me on twitter @aileenh107 cheers!:)

  • Comment number 2.

    Cant wait to watch it! Especially as Im in it! :) follow me on twitter @shafmysterrr thanks.

  • Comment number 3.

    Your not the only one in it pal ha... Can't wait to watch it myself, see the change for the 5 of us :-)

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm really excited to the show . My school teachers and family are going off their heads for it too. I'm really nervous about seeing myself on tv, however. I am very excited, though. I'm also looking forward to seeing you're stories as well. :D

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi All . I am really happy about seeing the documentary. It will be a big change for the 5 of us I think.

  • Comment number 6.

    In tears here, you guys are awesome. You all did really well in the program and should be extremely proud of everything you have achieved.

    Having a stammer myself, I know how difficult it can be at times, so well done to everyone involved. x

  • Comment number 7.

    What an amazing documentary. I have been deeply touched by this programme, Gareth Gates..... you are an inspiration to all those who suffer stammering. So glad you are helping others. Cannot believe the awesome results. Keep up the good work. x

  • Comment number 8.

    Fantastic programme. The participants deserve every success they were brilliant. How do people who have never stammered help stammerers as this technique seems to only use people who used to stammer?

  • Comment number 9.

    Great programme, and what was even greater was seeing the progress made by all who were part of it. I have no connection with what is a terrible affliction, but it was deeply touching. You should be incredibly proud!


  • Comment number 10.

    Stop my stutter - fantastic. I am in admiration of those who took part in the programme and for Gareth for giving back to those in the same position as he was. Well done BBC3 for bringing this and others in the series to us.

  • Comment number 11.

    Excellent programme Gareth. Truly inspirational. Clearly the successes of those who took part in the film with you has given you as much satisfaction and delight as your own achievements in overcoming your own stammer. Needs to be repeated very soon!

  • Comment number 12.

    I am Programme Leader for a primary and early years PGCE and would be interested in talking to Sarah Webster if she is serious about pursuing a teaching career - looking at the way she engaged the group of children with her story telling I think she should!

  • Comment number 13.

    How do I find out more information about the course? Would be very keen to do it myself. Does anyone have a link please?
    Much appreciated.

  • Comment number 14.

    Inspirational. Oh yeah!

    Well done Gareth mate. We'll never know how many people this programme has touched or helped, but of course it has to be 'a lot.' You and all concerned can be proud that you have done a superb job.

    I'm a lucky guy I guess. I've always found it easy to talk to anyone, on any level and at any time, and I'd just taken it for granted until a good friend of mine pointed out that not everyone found it so easy.

    Long ago I realised it was a blessing and have tried to share this 'gift' or 'skill' ever since. So Gareth, keep doing what yer doing please!

    Just one thing. Advise your pupils not to get too despondent if they get a negative response when approaching members of the public . . . often it's nothing to do with your stammer . . . it's just because you're a stranger.

    We're now living in a culture of perpetuated fear and just the innocent act of approaching someone we don't know to ask for the time or maybe directions, is immediately met with suspicion, and the inevitable cold shoulder. Oh hum sad but true.

    Well done y'all

  • Comment number 15.

    Marc: you can find more information about the costal breathing technique and programmes that teach it via the British Stammering Association at

    I hope this helps!

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Gareth. I found your programme deeply moving but truly heartwarming. You are so focussed to improve other stammerers lives! You have matured into such a motivated inspiring individual. You should be so proud of overcoming your own disability! Well bloody done!

  • Comment number 17.

    I Watched this last night and cried I am now 31 and have been stuttering since I was 4 when I copied a girl at Nursery. I am now in a professional job and do a lot of telephone work. I am very out going but still I come accross Ignorant minded little people who talk over me!!! or finish my sentences which as you know is very frustrating. I had Hypnotherepy in 2007 which helped a lot but my Stutter came back after a Trauma. I am now seeking help again as I want to say My Wedding Vowes and make all my Family and Friends so very proud of me.
    This programme was such an eye opener as you fell like you are the only one in the world. The Kings Speech has helped and has opened up many proples eyes.
    If there is anything you can send me or advice can you please contact me??
    Even though I have a Stutter I would never say it is a Disability and frown upon those who do.

  • Comment number 18.

    SHIVSY1981: You should let people describe stammering/stuttering as a disability if they feel that this is an appropriate term. There is no precise legal definition of what a disabiltiy is, instead anything can be a disabiltiy provided it has the requiste impact on a person's life - for some people with a sever stammer it may be perfectly justifiable to refer to it as a disability.

    It's also unlikely that you picked up a stammer from copying a girl at nursery. It's actually quite common for children to stammer when they are young and then grow out of it. Stammering has a genetic aspect to it so it's more likely that you were pre-disposed to stammering and then didn't grow out of it.

    You should look at the website of the British Stammering Association which has lots of information on therapies, coping mechanisms and support networks across the UK. The BSA also has a page on the technique taught in this programme, costal breathing, at

  • Comment number 19.

    I’ve not stopped thinking about this programme since I saw it last night. I stammered from childhood through to my late teens when desperation led me into a long period of elocution, The King’s Speech style. Practice, practice and more practice has left me virtually fluent – the only word that sometimes causes me trouble now is my given name. Gareth is right about asking for what you can say rather than what you want. I prefer my coffee white but for years I’d only have black coffee because I had real trouble with the “k” sound. I couldn’t say “coffee”, but “black-offee” was easy.

    I’m now 51 and I regularly give presentations, often to large audiences, sometimes even to hostile ones, and I enjoy it every time. I don’t use a script, I say what I want and make up jokes along the way.

    I’d like to give a special message to Sarah, whose experience of stammering and her doubts and uncertainties seem very close to my own when I was her age. I felt as though I could be fluent. I was so close, and then some word, some interruption, would throw me off balance and I’d be a wreck. Like her I became incredibly adept at finding alternative words, or re-casting sentences very quickly. The difference between us is that what took me six to nine months to achieve she did in five days. That’s fantastic. I hope Sarah does go on to teach. If I’d had a teacher with her understanding of what it’s like to stammer my life might have been very different.

    Finally, thank you BBC for not ending with “If the issues discussed in this programme have affected you, please telephone...”

  • Comment number 20.

    What an inspiration! Can't believe how far Gareth has come since that first appearance on Pop Idol! I felt I had to watch this programme ... my 11 year old son is a constant target for bullies since developing his stammer & with secondary school etc on the cards, his confidence has been at rock bottom. Watching this with him tonight was emotional for us both. He watched it intently, spoke about how inspired he felt by Gareth and the amazing people who showed determination and bravery throughout the programme. It helped us to open up to each other - he found himself practiing his breathing while watching the programme and trying simple techniques. It was amazing to watch - during he programme he managed a 10 minete phonecall with his uncle without stammering once. Absolutely incredible! It has given us both hope and he has gone to bed a very happy young man ;) Thankyou all of you xxxxxx

  • Comment number 21.

    Tom, about getting the students to speak to strangers. The whole point of the exercise is that it is a tricky situation, and not everyone will want to speak to them (for whatever reason), but that it doesn't matter. It wasn't obvious due to tv editing, but the students build up to the point where they go out and about on the street, starting in "safer" environments.

    You will notice that although the students might start out worried that it's too difficult, or anxious that people don't want to speak to them, they are elated by the end, because managing to speak to lots of people is a big achievement. It's all about facing fears, and that accepts that some people are too busy, too wary of strangers, or plain rude.


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