TV & Movies

Extraordinary Escapes viewers left in tears as Sandi Toksvig property show takes emotional turn

EXTRAORDINARY Escapes viewers were left in tears after Sandi Toksvig's travel show took a very emotional turn.

Sandi's Channel 4 programme saw the comedienne joined by legendary actress Sue Johnston OBE, 78.

The Downton Abbey actress and Sandi were exploring some of Cornwall's most unique stays when she opened up about a traumatising sexual assault that happened about 50 years ago.

"I had been sexually attacked when I was 27. And I’d never talked about it," Sue told Sandi.

But the actress had to face her trauma when her character on soap Brookside, Sheila Grant, was given a storyline about rape in 1986.

“When they called me and said they were going to do this storyline, I told them it happened exactly how I’d been attacked," she explained.

“It happened that the way she was attacked was the way I had been attacked, and I was so scared that the reality would cross with the fantasy, that I wouldn’t be able to control myself.

"But actually it released something in me that I was able to talk about it. It was good therapy for me.”

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Sandi said to her:  "I'm so sorry that happened to you, I'm so devastated to hear that happened to you."

Sue first opened up about the sexual assault in her autobiography and feared she would be killed, but managed to escape.

She said even to this day if someone runs up behind her it reminds her of the attack that happened when she was 27.

 “I can’t, even now 50 years later, have somebody run up behind me," Sue told Sandi.

“I have to step aside. I think it’s just an instinct.

"People do things and they walk away from it and have no idea of the impact and the horror of how they have affected people’s lives. And it does, it changes your life.”

An emotional Sandi told her: "Well I think you're wonderful."

Sandi later said to the cameras: “There’s a surprising conversation that she and I have over a cup of tea.

“She started talking so honestly about her life. I thought there’s no way they’ll broadcast this because I had tears running down my face but it’s in the show and I’m proud of it.”

Viewers watching at home were overcome with emotion and celebrated the women for the important conversation.

"And now @suejohnstontv on #ExtraordinaryEscapes has made me cry," wrote one fan on Twitter.

Another added: "The second house in #ExtraordinaryEscapes#Cornwall has actually made me cry."

And a third wrote: "Aww Sandi and Sue. So moving."

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault please contact the Rape Crisis helpline on 0808 802 9999.


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