Robbie Williams has said that making his documentary was like “watching a crash you were involved in”, adding that he nicknamed it “trauma watch”.
The 49-year-old singer, formerly of Take That, is the subject of a new Netflix docuseries which sees him watch old footage from his career in music, exploring his time in the band to his drug addiction and rehabilitation journey.
Speaking to journalist and author Caitlin Moran in The Times, Williams discussed what the documentary was like to make and said: “It was like watching a crash you were involved in, but in slo-mo.
“(Making the documentary) was like enduring your mental illness at a very, very slow pace, over a very, very long time. It’s a niche thing to experience, you know. There aren’t many support groups for it.
“When they asked me to make the documentary, I came up with a jingle for it. ‘Trauma watch!/ Trauma watch!/ Have a trauma watch!/ I was in Take That then I left Take That/ Then I did drugs and I got real fat’.
“They didn’t use that in the end.”
Speaking on what his initial hopes for the documentary had been, Williams said: “When I met the Netflix people, the question I had to ask them was, ‘Can you polish a turd?’
“I know everyone’s got a story, or a turd, but I want my particular story, or turd, to mean something.
“Like, I know everyone’s really interested in the trauma aspect and the addiction aspect, but I’ve always thought, ‘Well, there’s more to me than that’.
“I wanted to break with the form. I need things to be … different from what they were.”
The format of the documentary means the cameras have recorded Williams’ reaction to him watching old pieces of footage for the first time in years.
Speaking on what it was like to capture this, Williams said: “We spoke for 25 days, six-seven hours every day.
“It was intense. But you have to show it to all the people who just go, ‘Oh, it’s tomorrow’s chip paper’, or, ‘Nobody believes what they read in the papers’, or, ‘Brush it off’. Well, I was incredibly mentally ill.
“You can’t brush that off. That’s basically like people saying, ‘Don’t be sad’, to someone who’s mentally ill. And we know not to do that now, don’t we?”
Williams revealed he now has a set of diagnoses for his mental health issues and said: “Oh, I’ve got them all.
“Dyspraxia, dyslexia, ADHD, neurodiversity, body dysmorphia, hypervigilance…
“There’s a new one that I acquired recently: HSP. Highly sensitive person. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“Obviously I have an addictive personality. I haven’t got narcissistic personality disorder or split personality disorder, though.
“I looked at them last week and, obviously, I chose all the worst options. So, if I did have it, I would proudly tell you. But I am collecting them all, like Scout badges.”
Williams achieved fame in the band Take That, which released its first album Take That And Party in 1992, three years before Williams left the band during the middle of their Nobody Else world tour.
He has also had an extensive solo career, with seven chart-topping tracks in the official UK singles chart.
According to Netflix, documentary Robbie Williams is a limited series that will be released on November 8.
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