‘I sat in front of a lethal bottle of sleeping pills preparing to die’: Viewer tells how under-threat Victoria Derbyshire Show saved her life

Victoria Derbyshire, it’s a name that majority of the population will know.

If they don’t know from the name she’s made for herself  from broadcasting her journalism programme on BBC Two and BBC News channel, they will certainly know her now for the fact that her ground-breaking and life-changing show is being cut.

Derbyshire tweeted a picture of the text a viewer had sent in on Thursday. The text described how the viewer had sat in front of the TV, watching the BBC news channel with a lethal bottle of sleeping pills preparing to die.

After over 30 years of domestic abuse, she was at her end, but said that when the Victoria Derbyshire program came on, it changed everything.

As she watched the show, which was about women who managed to get away from abusive relationships, she was able to see a way out. At the end of the show, she contacted the helpline, flushed the pills away and because of this, her children still have a mother.

The viewer said: “How can you dare acts (sic) this very valuable, helpful and life-saving program? There will be a public outcry without a doubt.”

The 51-year-old Ramsbottom presenter has said she is “absolutely devastated” of the news that her BBC Two show is ending, and rightly so as she unfortunately had to find out about it all from the media.

The show which has been running since 2015 will come off air later this year as part of a two-year plan to save £80m in BBC News.

However, this decision made by the BBC has not come lightly to members of the public. Twitter has been alight with backlash claiming that it is a life-saving programme and it deserves the chance to stay on.

Ex Footballer, Steve Walters who played a key role in exposing sex abuse in football tweeted: “On behalf of all football survivors, you gave us the opportunity to tell our stories, despite our vulnerability; you showed outstanding reporting skills @bbc please rethink this decision.”

Shadow culture secretary Tracy Brabin has written a letter appealing to Lord Tony Hall, the outgoing BBC director general, to reconsider the decision.

She said: “I, like so many others am deeply concerned about the recent revelation that The Victoria Debyshire Show will soon come off air and ask you to reconsider.

It’s intelligent, popular journalism, reaching normal people that regular BBC News doesn’t. It has a warmth and empathy that brings often marginalised people to the show who aren’t reached anywhere else.”

A former guest on the show, Annie Shaw tweeted: “ As a rape survivor and someone who’s been a guest multiple times on @VictoriaLIVE I can’t tell you how important this program and @vicderbyshire are to me. She really was one of the VERY FEW people who gave me a voice in the past year. Thank you so much #SaveVictoriaLIVE

The Director of the BBC News and current affairs Fran Unsworth has said that it had not been an easy decision to cancel the programme and blamed the changing audience behaviours for the move.

“Over the last five years, the programme has delivered award-winning, distinctive journalism, exploring topics which the BBC has not traditionally covered,” said Ms Unsworth in an email to staff on Thursday, saying it was “exactly the type of journalism we need to continue.”

She also said that they will remain committed to building the journalism shows’ impact online and that they will be retaining “some of the journalists”.

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