Stephen Fry is bashful. Recounting achievements pains him. In a world where we’re used to knowing more about our television personalities than our neighbours, any glimpse into the lives of the glitterati can prove irresistible.

But what pleases Stephen Fry most is not on public display. It’s his inner work ethic.

Ask him to list his successes and you don’t get a verbal biography. Getting into Cambridge University after a stint in prison comes high up. This marked the first time the young Stephen Fry ever really worked hard at something, using his intellect for development rather than destruction. Winning the Perrier Prize at the Edinburgh fringe was another golden moment.


But with the pleasure comes the pain.

Stephen Fry’s first experience behind bars may have been the making of him, but his second – Simon Gray’s play “Cell Mates” – was very nearly his undoing. Walking out of the play at the beginning of its West End run Fry vanished. Contemplating suicide, he disappeared off to Belgium. The experience still haunts him, but the depression has now faded to embarrassment and the anger to forgiveness.

Stephen Fry is now a man content.