Roman Kemp in tears as he shares his fears with dad Martin in moving documentary

The radio star opens up about his friend's suicide in the programme

Roman Kemp The Fight For Young Lives,Roman Kemp,TwoFour,Phil Sharp
Roman Kemp breaks down in The Fight For Young Lives. (BBC)

What did you miss?

Roman Kemp broke down in tears in his new documentary as he told his dad Martin of his fear that it looks like he is using his friend’s suicide to boost his own fame.

The star’s close friend, radio producer Joe Lyons, took his own life in August 2020 aged 31 and at the time Roman said it left him "absolutely destroyed".

He opens up in new BBC documentary Roman Kemp: The Fight For Young Lives, which sees him exploring the mental health crisis.

Roman Kemp breaks down during documentary (BBC)
Roman Kemp explores the mental health crisis in the programme. (BBC)

What, how, and why?

In one moving scene, Roman told his dad Martin, best known for being in Spandau Ballet and EastEnders, that he had a particular fear.

"I guess I’m at that point now if I’m in the pub or something and someone’s talking to me about suicide, there’s part of me where I’m like, 'I don’t want to do it anymore,' but I’ve brought that on myself by putting it out in the public," he said.

Martin told his son he was helping to save lives so he shouldn't question it.

Roman replied: "It’s so hard to explain because it’s like the thing that’s really hard and makes me worry a lot, just I feel like..."

“Do you think you’re using Joe to make you more famous? And to further your life?” Martin asked.

The radio DJ said yes, adding: “But it’s not that. I’m constantly trying to feel like I need to prove that.”

His dad reassured him that people were grateful for what he was doing to raise awareness of mental health struggles and of how “proud” he was.

Martin Kemp gives his son reassurance and says he makes him proud (BBC)
Martin Kemp gives his son reassurance and says he makes him proud. (BBC)

“I feel horrendous,” said Roman, who has battled depression himself.

“Because I feel like, well he’s dead.

"I feel like I have to go home and when I speak to him I feel like I have to apologise.”

However, Martin told him: “I promise you Joe would be more than happy to know what you are doing.”

What else was said in the documentary?

Roman also shared that he still sees a therapist once a week.

“It’s more so like, now I’ve realised a lot about PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder),” he said.

“How for me, going to the radio station and reliving that day happens a lot in my head and it will cause me to have a panic attack.

"It’s understanding that my body, even though it’s in the past, it’s done, my body is still reacting to a moment that happened. So I’ll be on a train or anywhere. It’s scary. When I have a panic attack, my whole body will, just start throwing up and yeah. It’s not nice."

Roman confides in his dad Martin (BBC)
Roman confides in his dad Martin. (BBC)

The star said the only way he'd been able to "break the cycle" was through medication.

"I talk to him all the time," he said of Lyons.

"A part of me feels like I want him here saying I don’t need to do this. That I can let go of it.

"It’s not about crying. More about knowing I’ve done everything I can.”

What have viewers said?

The documentary moved fans, who labelled it "powerful", with many posting on X, formerly Twitter, after it aired to share their thoughts.

One said it was "absolutely heartbreaking" as another admitted it had them in tears.

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Roman Kemp with his dad Martin. (BBC)

Plus, viewers praised the radio and TV star for what he was doing to help others.

"This is an amazing piece of work Roman," said one.

"You're an inspiration."

Another called it "insightful", adding: "Roman Kemp keep going and your honesty and drive is inspiring Mountains can be removed a pebble at a time."

For confidential emotional support contact The Samaritans at any time by calling 116 123 or emailing

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