Andrew Flintoff MBE will seek to understand the causes and impact of bulimia on his life, and why eating disorders in general are so hidden in men, in a documentary for BBC One.
He will meet experts and male sufferers and aim to return home with a new understanding of what it means to be a man with an eating disorder.
Freddie is the cricket all-rounder who became one of Britain’s best-loved sporting heroes before forging an equally successful career on screen, most notably as a presenter of Top Gear. But Freddie hasn’t always coped well with the demands of life in the public eye.
As a new recruit to the England side in 2001, under constant scrutiny from fans, the press and his colleagues, Flintoff felt pressure to keep his weight down. It was an obsession that soon evolved into full-blown bulimia as he tried to keep up with his slimmer, fitter teammates. What started as a quick fix solution soon spiralled into something he battled with through his entire career and which he hasn’t fully dealt with to this day.
Up to one in four people living with bulimia are men. Their numbers have more than doubled in the last decade – but it is estimated that only 10% seek professional help for this devastating illness.
Freddie says: “If this resonates with one person watching, or through this we can show someone that there is help out there, then this is worth doing.”
Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, says: “I would like to thank Freddie for opening up about his struggle with bulimia in this very personal film for BBC One. I hope this film will raise awareness about a subject that is all too often a taboo and make a difference to the way men talk about mental health.”
Freddie Flintoff On Bulimia (w/t), a 1×60’ for BBC One, is made by South Shore. It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director, BBC Content and Catherine Catton, Commissioning Editor, Factual Entertainment and Popular Factual. The Executive Producers are Andrew Mackenzie and Melanie Leach, and the Producer/Director is Leo Burley.