Darren Harriott shares the second he realised his dad was in jail

Watch: Darren Harriott on the second he found his father was in jail

Comedian Darren Harriott is a contestant on Dancing on Ice. (Getty Images)

Comic Darren Harriott is a contestant on Dancing on Ice. (Getty Pictures)

He’s a fast-rising star of British comedy and a contestant on the brand new collection of ITV’s Dancing On Ice. But to realize success, Darren Harriott needed to overcome childhood trauma.

By the age of 11, the comic revealed to Kate Thornton on podcast White Wine Question Time, his father Patrick had disappeared from his life.

It was solely by likelihood that the younger boy found why.

“The home telephone rang at my nan’s home [and] I answered,” Harriott, now 34, advised Thornton.

“It is my dad – out of all people in all the world, who I needed to talk to, it is my dad! Oh hi there!”

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The decision got here “round Christmas time”.

“So clearly, [I’m] much more excited… I simply bear in mind being over the moon to listen to from him.” In the course of the name, he recalled his father telling him to “take care of your mum and be sure you work exhausting” earlier than promising to come back to see him play soccer.

The decision then ended abruptly. Curious, Harriott dialled 1471 and heard the recorded message. “Unable to hint.”

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Tippy Packard and Darren Harriott skate collectively on Dancing On Ice. (ITV)

“And I bear in mind going downstairs and asking my Nan… what does it imply?” he mentioned. “[She said], ‘Perhaps somebody’s calling from, I do not know, like a jail or someplace?’”

Harriott stored this discovery about his father to himself.

But there was harder information to come back.

“Three months later, we discovered, you recognize, he had killed himself.”

Patrick, a convicted drug seller, had taken his personal life in jail.

Watch: Darren Harriot opens as much as Kate Thornton about his father

The expertise, Harriott revealed, triggered a collection of dangerous selections in his childhood.

“I used to be so indignant.”

As a teen, he joined a gang at his college within the West Midlands.

“I used to hold a knife, I used to need to be a grime MC,” he mentioned. “I used to be actually what any individual would name, like, a wannabe gangster on the road.”

The turning level got here on New Yr’s Eve 2004, when Harriott awakened in hospital, badly overwhelmed. He’d been attacked by a fellow gang member.

Darren Harriott was interviewed by Kate Thornton for Yahoo UK's podcast White Wine Question Time. (White Wine Question Time)

Darren Harriott was interviewed by Kate Thornton for Yahoo UK’s podcast White Wine Query Time. (White Wine Query Time)

A transfer to a brand new faculty supplied a recent begin – but in addition new challenges.

“I wasn’t busy anymore – my thoughts was type of empty,” Harriott mentioned. The house full of ideas in regards to the dying of his father Patrick, who Harriott described as a “very proud Rastafarian” who had been struggling psychological well being points.

“I used to be actually depressed.”

Then got here a life-changing second.

“I noticed a flyer for a range night time,” he advised Thornton, which made Harriott determine to “have a go at comedy”.

Earlier than the gig, Harriot mentioned he discovered himself sitting on a wall “ an image of my dad… I’m fairly certain there was a tear in my eye.”

His debut gig was successful. Nonetheless a teen, Harriott hit the UK comedy circuit. “I discovered this factor [that] retains me busy.”

It additionally proved to be an schooling.

“I am a 19-year-old child, and I am in automotive shares [to gigs] with comedians who’re of their mid-40s, who’re on the identical stage as me, however they have mortgages, they have wives, they have full-time jobs,” Harriot recalled. He described the “generosity” and “kindness” of his older colleagues, who included him in conversations on points on topics together with equality points. “It actually opened me as much as being very open-minded.”

Additional progress got here when, aged 23, the younger comic noticed the primary gang member who’d attacked him.

“I noticed him strolling with this little woman – he was holding her hand,” he advised Thornton. “I went, ‘Oh, he’s a dad? That’s his daughter. Good for him.’” His anger in the direction of his attacker, he mentioned, “simply vanished”. “Simply seeing him as a person, I assume, grown up, being a dad or mum.”

Aged 26, Harriott moved to London and labored as a bouncer to assist his comedy profession. In 2017, he received Greatest Newcomer Award on the Edinburgh Fringe Competition, and Greatest Present Award in 2019. He would go on to seem in quite a few TV exhibits, and host Black Label on Radio 4, a collection of programmes about his life and comedy.

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Harriot was frank in regards to the half his father has performed in all of this. “I don’t assume I might be doing comedy if my dad was nonetheless alive.”

Speaking about Patrick’s dying early on in his comedy routine, he mentioned, helped him “cope with it.”

“[Afterwards audience members] would speak to me about their dad’s dying, and we’d simply have this second – having a very deep, good dialog about our dads.”

Darren Harriott posing for Dancing On Ice. (Getty Images)

Darren Harriott was slightly apprehensive about a few of the costumes he’d be anticipated to put on for Dancing On Ice. (Getty Pictures)

Now he is having fun with a very completely different scene, entertaining viewers as a contestant on ITV’s Dancing on Ice, which he is been “coaching exhausting” for with “stretches each morning” and “exercises on the gymnasium”, leading to him shedding 23 kilos since he began getting ready for the present final summer time.

He is slightly cautious of a few of the outlandish costumes that is likely to be anticipated of him although.

“I do not thoughts all of the tight-fitting stuff and see-through [costumes]… I am utterly comfortable with that” however the doable Disney themes are making him slightly nervous.

As an example, if it is a case of, “‘Oh do you thoughts being a donkey from Shrek?’ Sure I do, truly! I do not need to be the donkey from Shrek, guys.”

His dimension 14 ft additionally posed a slight downside for the costume division. “They needed to custom-make my determine skates and it took six weeks.” He jokes that they’re “Shrek-sized”, including the skating producers advised him they had been the “largest skates they’d ever made.”

For confidential emotional assist contact The Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123 or emailing [email protected]

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