Channel 5 is set to broadcast documentary about Gareth Thomas, who goes back to his roots to discover what effect his refusal to admit that he was gay had on his supporters, team-mates and family.

Gareth Thomas, who topped the IoS (Independent on Sunday) pink list in 2010 and winner of the Stonewall Hero Award tried, for 20 years of his life, to hide the fact that he was gay from his supporters, team mates and family.

In this programme Gareth goes back to his roots to discover what effect his deception had on others, to explain why he behaved like he did and to encourage other people to be open and honest about their sexuality.

Gareth visits his parents in Bridgend to see how they will react to him making a documentary about his sexuality, a part of his life they have never really openly discussed. He explains that his position in the public eye means that he has a responsibility to others.

On a trip to Chichester he meets a contemporary young gay man to compare experiences. Olly is 17 and has been bullied at his secondary school because of his sexuality.

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“I just wanted to escape the world,” Olly tells Gareth, admitting to self-harming and feeling suicidal. It was only when he came out to his family and friends that a weight was lifted from his shoulders and he started his life anew.

“It’s hard to admit, but I wasted 20 years of my life hiding who I was,” he concludes. “I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did. I’m really passionate that people should be open about their sexuality as soon as they feel comfortable about it.”

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My Secret Past: Coming Out: Gareth Thomas is broadcast on the 17th January 2013 at 9.00PM on Channel 5

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