Published On: Mon, May 10th, 2021

Repair Shop star Jay Blades recalls getting attacked by racist policemen

Jay Blades has recalled getting called a ‘black b******’ by policemen who attacked him when he was 14.

In his new book, Making It: How Love, Kindness And Community Helped Me Repair My Life, the Repair Shop star, 51, who is of Bajan heritage, admits the racial abuse he received from authorities in the 80s was ‘brutal’ and frequent.

The presenter says in an excerpt obtained by The Mirror: ‘The back doors swung open and there were five or six uniformed policemen sitting in the van waiting for me. They didn’t even bother to search me. They just beat the s*** out of me.’

‘It was brutal’: Jay Blades has recalled getting called a ‘black b******’ by policemen who attacked him when he was 14

Jay was walking home at night when a police van pulled up next to him, and he never reported the attack.  

The furniture restorer explains: ‘It was brutal. They were laying into me with fists, feet and truncheons, and all I could do was roll into a ball on the floor of the van and wait, pray, for it to end. It probably lasted two minutes but it felt a lot, lot longer.

‘They were laughing, ”This’ll show you, black b******!”. When they’d had enough they chucked me out and drove off. It was normal, especially in the 80s. Sometimes you weren’t badly beaten up. Other times they’d beat you up and drive off with you. 

‘Every now and again you get a kick in the back or a stamp on the arm. They’d throw you out in an area that was predominantly white, and you’d have to find your way out of that area because if the racists saw you there they’d chase you.’

'They were laying into me with fists, feet and truncheons': The Repair Shop star, 51, admits the abuse he received from authorities in the 80s was 'brutal' and frequent (pictured as a child)

‘They were laying into me with fists, feet and truncheons’: The Repair Shop star, 51, admits the abuse he received from authorities in the 80s was ‘brutal’ and frequent (pictured as a child)

Candid: The media personality details the ordeal in his new book, Making It: How Love, Kindness And Community Helped Me Repair My Life

Candid: The media personality details the ordeal in his new book, Making It: How Love, Kindness And Community Helped Me Repair My Life

The tragic incident left him keen to fight whoever was ‘treating me in a particular way’, insisting he would get into altercations at school ‘everyday’ for himself and anyone else who was getting bullied.

The media personality also discusses his mental breakdown when he split from his wife Jade.

Jay shares in another excerpt with Daily Mail: ‘I had spent years fixing things: chairs, communities, estates, homeless people, young people. I had fixed all of those things, but now I couldn’t fix my relationship. I couldn’t fix me.

‘Each morning brought a new day. And each day, the car park filled up around me with purposeful shoppers. I felt nothing. I was numb, asleep . . . dead. Beyond repair.

 ‘My life had come crashing down around me. I was 40, I was in a cloud of dust and couldn’t see anything. This is it, I thought. There’s no way forward. All the things I have achieved are worth nothing now.

‘Eventually, I took a long look at myself in the rear-view mirror. My eyes were red and bloodshot, and there were days of beard growth on my chin. I had to find a hotel and take a shower.

‘Using my credit card, I ordered room service and ate the first real meal I’d had in days. I’d lost a stone since leaving home.

‘Next morning, the police wanted to talk to me. My wife had reported me missing, and when I paid for the room by card, alarm bells rang.

‘The police brought a psychiatric nurse, who began asking me questions from a clipboard. I answered on autopilot, feeling like I wasn’t really there. It all seemed to be happening to someone else.

But I got jolted awake when I overheard the nurse say to the policeman: ”I’m not sure yet that we need to section him.”

”’We think you might be a danger to yourself, sir,” the policeman said. That was scary. Then, to my astonishment, a man I knew walked in. A friend. 

‘His name was Gerald Bailey, a businessman who had served as a trustee for my charity, Out Of The Dark. ‘I will look after this gentleman,’ he said.

‘I sat in his plush motor, sobbing. Proper, shoulder-heaving, gut-wrenching sobs. Everything poured out of me. When I stopped crying, I realised I’d got my feelings back. I was alive again.’

The TV star has served as the foreman on The Repair Shop since 2017, and has since launched a new TV firm with Holly Willoughby‘s husband Dan Baldwin.

Jay and the TV producer, 45, have set up a joint firm called Hungry Jay Media, with Dan aiming to get him presenting a number of shows and both names are down as directors for the new firm.

Dan’s company Hungry Bear Media makes high-profile TV shows such as Celebrity Juice and Michael McIntyre’s Big Show. 

New venture: The TV star has served as the foreman on The Repair Shop since 2017, and has since launched a new TV firm with Holly Willoughby's husband Dan Baldwin (pictured 2016)

New venture: The TV star has served as the foreman on The Repair Shop since 2017, and has since launched a new TV firm with Holly Willoughby’s husband Dan Baldwin (pictured 2016)

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