Published on October 26th, 2012 | by admin0
My Hell with Britain’s Biggest Stars Says Ben Fellows
By Giles Sheldrick
TOURING the exclusive nightclubs of London in a hedonistic procession of binge-drinking and drug-taking felt like heaven to Ben Fellows, then a starry-eyed teenage actor desperate to make a name for himself in showbusiness.
For someone from the nondescript Birmingham suburbs being whisked through VIP entrances at some of the capital’s most fashionable hang-outs was alluring and deeply addictive.
The drinks were always free and beautiful women would gyrate provocatively in a haze of flashing neon while all around him men – some married – would whisper suggestive comments in his ear before disappearing into the toilets to snort the obligatory line of cocaine.
Ben was just 13 when he arrived in London, against his parents’ wishes. Although he stayed with relatives he was out feasting on a nightly cocktail of champagne and cocaine, unwittingly being paraded like a glittering under-age trophy.
And it’s only now, as the Jimmy Savile sex scandal engulfs the BBC, that he feels compelled to lift the lid on a culture of depravity and wanton excess that reaches the very heart of Britain’s entertainment industry and shines a light on the corporation which is held so dear by the general public that it is affectionately known as Auntie.
He didn’t know it at the time but Ben was the newest member of a deeply sinister and secret club in which young and vulnerable innocents like him were passed around and abused like playthings.
The leaders of this shameless parade in this plastic world were – indeed still are – household names.
Incredibly he says he was bedded by a current female BBC employee working in children’s entertainment when he was just 15 and snorted lines of cocaine with one of Britain’s best-loved stars who is still regularly seen on television.
He was propositioned by married actors and thespians with a penchant for boys and was almost raped in a grubby hotel room by one of the biggest TV stars of the Eighties.
Slowly, he saw friends get seduced by the excitement and thrill of endless parties and backstage passes.
They were drawn into a seedy world of rampant sexual abuse, horrific excess and empty promises and although he dabbled for a time at least with drugs he decided to stop the ride and get off.
He says: “From the age of 15 I was a regular at Stringfellows, Café de Paris and the Atlantic Bar & Grill. I attended scores of celebrity parties and private functions.
“As a child actor you are not responsible for your actions, you’re naive and vulnerable, so saying no when powerful industry people are telling you to take drugs was not an option when the implication was that if I didn’t I wouldn’t be hanging around for too long.
“The list of extremely well-known actors, casting directors, directors, producers, writers and executives who abused me, or attempted to abuse me sexually, while I was a child actor would make the public sick.”
Ben was one of the lucky ones. Many of his friends from his time as a child star are now deeply troubled individuals.
An intelligent man, now aged 37 and a successful filmmaker living in South London, Ben has taken more than 20 years to fully understand the world he once inhabited.
With the help of his beautiful wife Julia and a supportive family he has finally managed to come to terms with the abusive and fickle world of entertainment and showbusiness, a parallel universe that he describes as a “cesspit of predators and paedophiles”.
THE BBC EXECUTIVE AND A RIOTOUS HOUSE PARTY
One of the most shocking abuses of trust and power came at a house party thrown by BBC executives and attended by a raft of stars and their hangers on.
It was in Clapham in 1990 that a 15-year-old Ben, who was filming Model Millie for the corporation, claims that he was plied with alcohol and drugs, seduced and then shamelessly taken advantage of by a BBC employee who, incredibly, later worked in children’s entertainment.
As the music thumped, a host of high-profile BBC producers and directors waltzed in and out of the door to mix with a group of wide-eyed underage actors, almost all of whom were high on spirits and drugs.
Amid the chaotic scene Ben was introduced to one ambitious BBC employee, a female who was starting to make a name for herself in the world of children’s TV.
As the evening wore on and the house became littered with the prostrate bodies of those who succumbed to what was on offer the woman, who was 40, made a startling proposition.
She was fully aware Ben was a vulnerable teenager but the sex-hungry woman, who was at the party with her boss, was desperate to sleep with him.
Ben recalls: “She offered to give me a lift back to her place and when we stopped she leant over and slowly kissed me before suggestively saying, ‘Do you want to come in for a coffee?’ Once we were inside her flat it wasn’t long before we were having sex. She knew how old I was. I was just 15 for goodness sake but it didn’t seem to matter. I’m sure it happened all the time.”
WILD TIMES WITH A SHOWBIZ ICON
The now veteran darlings of light entertainment have made names for themselves with multiple primetime successes, loved by the BBC and always in demand.
What people will be less familiar with are their insatiable appetites for cocaine.
Another male comedy star who regularly appeared on prime time TV invited Ben to an end of production party at BBC Television Centre where anything went including, so it would appear, lines of cocaine.
The culture of drug taking at the corporation during the late Eighties and early Nineties was so prevalent that this man had his drugs personally dispatched by motorcycle courier.
And they were bought on expenses.
Naturally Ben, who was still a young teenager at this time, was encouraged to take lines of the highly-addictive drug at these wild parties.
He says: “I was only a boy of 14 but I thought I was an adult. It was a really heady time. When someone offers you coke at the BBC like this comic did it didn’t seem strange because it was happening all the time.
“The end-of-run parties as they are called are riotous. Often someone would try and do something to you, a grope or similar, and if you didn’t respond they would move on to the next person.”
Although he didn’t witness any horrific rape, sexual assault or molestation (the like of which has been well-documented in the sordid Savile scandal) he did see one doyen of light entertainment take a clutch of young girls back to his dressing room.
On another occasion during a rehearsal for Model Millie Ben claims that he and his child co-stars were invited to a cocaine-fuelled party on BBC premises hosted by two of the BBC’s biggest stars of the time.
“It got very late and I was very drunk. At that point (one of Britain’s best-loved stars) said to me, ‘Do you want to do some coke?’ so we slipped off to a dressing room. The problem was, I was just 15.
“She was so drunk that later in the evening she was walking around with her breasts hanging out.”
And Ben adds: “Prostitutes and escorts coming into the BBC was happening as standard.
“They would get you what you wanted as long as the ratings were being pulled in. The attitude was ‘nothing is going to get in the way of the BBC’.”
AN INDECENT PROPOSAL FROM A SUPERSTAR
The only time Ben says he feared for his life was when a Hollywood icon tried to rape him.
At the time the young actor was appearing in a West End play and as was the norm members of the cast and crew would regularly meet in late-night bars afterwards to relax.
The married British-born screen legend, who was one of the biggest names in the entertainment industry in the Eighties, approached Ben in a hotel bar and showered him with free drinks.
He later walked with Ben, who was a little worse for wear, to his hotel and helped him into his room before slamming the door shut.
Ben says: “He came up behind and then proceeded to force himself on me. I was feeling as if I wanted to be sick at any moment but couldn’t move.
“Amazingly, my friend was looking for me as I had disappeared from the bar suddenly and burst through the door as this star was on top of me.
“Then he punched me in the face to make it look as if it was all just a game and the rolling around was part and parcel of it. I thought I was in real danger.”
SEEDY SECRETS OF THE WEST END STAGE
As a child actor looking for bit-parts in stage musicals and repertory theatre Ben was mindful of being enthusiastic but there were limits as to what he was prepared to do to get a role.
One married icon of the industry groped Ben, he claims, in his office and tried to force his tongue down his throat after he was invited up for a “cosy chat”.
Naturally, in the bitchy world of professional theatre, Ben was discarded when this man’s advances were spurned.
However the incident also ruined his chances of appearing on stage as he was blanked whenever their paths crossed after that.
On another occasion a married, English-born actor stripped off completely naked in his dressing room before saying to Ben: “Tell every famous person you meet what you want to do and how hard you have trained.”
One of the most surprising names to be mentioned by Ben is that of a married, classically-trained stage and screen actor with a long list of credits to his name who preyed on Ben after he auditioned for a minor part in a major West End musical.
The actor, who will be known to millions for his appearance in an iconic movie during the Nineties, met the youngster after the matinee performance of the musical and invited him to come to his dressing room.
He was wearing only a dressing gown but he was fully exposed.
He circled Ben like a vulture as the teenager desperately tried to move from the window, to the door and back again, before he was able to make his excuses and leave.
The BBC was approached for comment but had not returned our calls before The Daily Express went to press.