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Mourning Kristian Digby

March 2, 2010

I didn’t know Kristian Digby.

I might have seen him in the canteen. I might have passed him in the corridor behind Stage Door at Television Centre. If I had I wouldn’t have recognised him. And if I’d recognised him I almost certainly wouldn’t have said anything to anyone.

News of Kristian Digby’s ‘unexplained’ death is making me feel uneasy, however.

I learn about it from a friend on Facebook. He’s upset about it. He said so at around about 9.45pm.

Instinctively I post a status update on my own profile saying I’m ‘stunned’ to learn of his death. Then I finish reading over my blog post, switch off my computer and go to bed.

In bed, I check my email and discover a message from another friend commenting on my status update, saying how she’s feeling the same way. She offers food for thought. It’s too late to be thinking about it. I check to see whether the story features in the Radio 4 midnight news – he’s a BBC TV presenter after all – and when it doesn’t get read out in the headlines, I drift off to sleep.

When I wake up again, I’m still thinking about Kristian Digby.

Why is that exactly? I don’t know him. I didn’t watch any of the television programmes he presented. I don’t have pictures of him stashed away anywhere. I didn’t have a thirty-something crush on him either.

The spark of interest is possibly because he’s a BBC presenter. That must be the hook which has snared me. It’s a tenuous one. But it’s that which has prompted me to start thinking about someone who essentially read a script out to camera and looked good on it when he did so. I have no other reason to mourn his passing especially.

It’s important to be clear here. I’d hate to see this blog post fly around the internet because people have misunderstood me. I wouldn’t want to see comments responding to a poorly read post pointing to perceived homophobia. I am not anti-Kristian Digby.

His death is sad because it’s so unexpected. People younger than me shouldn’t die. People ten years older than shouldn’t die. People who reach their 60s or 70s or 80s if they’re otherwise fit and healthy and I had a choice.

His death is interesting because he’s a relatively high-profile gay man who’s died unexpectedly. That’s the only conclusion I feel comfortable with.

What distresses me most as I journey across London is the extent to which his death has captured my attention. How is it that news from Haiti or Chile doesn’t figure highly in my mind. Why is it the unexpected death of a TV presenter has skewed my attention? My sympathies are focussed not on the millions on the other side of the world who struggle to survive. Instead I’m thinking about one person I didn’t have a personal connection with, his family, his friends and those who worked with him.

I don’t want to give the impression I don’t care. But cold analysis suggests to me that I can’t justify mourning his passing. That’s not to say I don’t think it’s a terrible shame.

And then like a fool, I pick up a discarded copy of the Sun newspaper, with a story showing pictures of Digby and the exterior of his flat under police guard, with a quote from an unattributed source under a headline which reads “BBC STAR DIES AS SOLO SEX GAME GOES WRONG”

  1. Soullady permalink

    Kristian Digby stood out more than most. He shone and looked such a happy young man , he always made me smile when I watched him on TV.He will be remembered for many years. Rest in Peace sweet heart. x x

  2. I didn’t know him either … in fact, I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen him on TV as I rarely watch “lifestyle” programmes but I’m saddened to learn of his death. It’s always sad to hear of someone so young dying. I’m even more saddened that his demise have provided yet another opportunity for the tabloids to have a field day for no good reason at all.

  3. If the Sun story is true, then Didgby’s dying in such a senseless makes things even sadder. I suspect the more homopphobic corners of the press (you know who you are) may take this as an opportunity to drool disapprovingly over “the twilight world of the homosexual”, but it’s worth stating that, of course, there is nothing specifically gay about auto-erotic asphyxiation. A friend of mine’s stepdad did this way, and is still mourned and missed.

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