Page last updated at 12:45 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Bill Oddie speaks about his depression battle

Bill Oddie
Bill Oddie quit presenting the BBC's Springwatch last January

TV presenter Bill Oddie has said the past year was "probably the worst 12 months of my life" due to his struggle with depression and bipolar disorder.

The 68-year-old told his local London newspaper, Ham & High, that there were several times he thought he would never recover.

"Basically I thought I had had it, it was that bad," he said.

After two spells in hospital in 2009, Oddie said he "emerged" from it in time to enjoy Christmas with his family.

"The last year was probably the worst 12 months of my life because I suffered from bipolar and terrible depression which began in January and February," Oddie said.

"This has put pressure on my whole family - especially my wife - and I am just glad I managed to come out of it in time to enjoy Christmas."

'Long journey'

The wildlife presenter paid tribute to the staff who gave him "extremely good care" at the hospitals he stayed at in London while receiving treatment.

"You hear about the NHS not being able to cope but they were absolutely splendid," he said.

Oddie added that he hoped to return to the BBC after quitting nature programme Springwatch last January.

"I will have to go back to the BBC and see where we stand. They quite reasonably realised I would not be able to do the normal work but with any luck I will get back there," he said.

"I am hoping a slight re-diagnosis and change of medication will help and I am looking forward to what the future brings and just being normal because, believe you me, I wasn't - it has been a long journey."

A BBC spokesman said: "We're very pleased that Bill is feeling better and we are looking forward to starting work with him on the programmes he was making for us before he fell ill last year."

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