Noel Edmonds reveals suicide heartache

It has been more than a decade since I fired the first shot in my David and Goliath battle with the giant Lloyds Banking Group.

In that time, I’ve done my best to make my case. I’ve set up a dedicated website, a Facebook platform, an internet radio station and a YouTube channel with more than 20 videos – all of which have generated a consistent flow of information and support.

But nothing has matched the scale of the response to my interview in last week’s Mail on Sunday, in which I outlined the devastating personal consequences of the way I was treated by HBOS – later taken over by Lloyds – and by one criminal bank manager, Mark Dobson, in particular.

It has been more than a decade since I fired the first shot in my David and Goliath battle with the giant Lloyds Banking Group 

I told how they drove my businesses into the ground and cost me my home, my marriage and very nearly my life as I was driven to the edge of suicide. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all those readers who have sympathised with my emotional ordeal.

My journey is far from over – I still have a £300 million claim against Lloyds. But there is some comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in being pushed to the very brink by evil bankers.

My journey is far from over – I still have a £300 million claim against Lloyds. But there is some comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in being pushed to the very brink by evil bankers 

Quite simply, I am horrified at the scale of the damage to so many other livelihoods and lives. Haven’t we all grown up trusting high street banks? Their branches were fixtures, not only in our towns and cities, but in the way our lives ran.

Yet it is no exaggeration to say that thousands, possibly millions of us, instead of being helped have found our lives permanently damaged by the toxic UK financial system.

Each day last week, other victims visited me at my home.

The stories of shattered families, life-threatening illnesses and suicides are truly harrowing.

My terrible school days made me stronger 

The TV star believes that surviving his ‘horrendous’ school days gave him the strength to fight back against the banks.

His heavily regimented days at the private Brentwood School in Essex during the 1960s, where fellow pupils included Labour grandee Jack Straw and comedian Griff Rhys Jones, were characterised by bullying and savage canings, and Noel says he ‘still bears the emotional scars’.

He recalls that it felt almost like ‘having served a sentence rather than having had an education’.

Pictured: Noel as a schoolboy  

Pictured: Noel as a schoolboy  

But he says it gave him the drive to eventually succeed.

Noel also credits his parents, Dudley and Lydia, with bringing him up to be ‘a positive person’ with the will to succeed in the cut-throat world of broadcasting – despite their disappointment at his decision not to go to university.

‘When I said to my Dad, “I’m not going to university, I’m going to be a disc jockey,” it was quite a moment. He said, “Just go and be the best one there’s ever been.” But, deep down inside, he and Mum must have been dying.

‘They instilled positive energy in me. I know I open myself to ridicule when I say it, but the energy of my parents is entwined with my own life force.

‘I sense their presence in everything I do.’


For example, one woman who ran a successful fashion company had lost her business, her home, her marriage and finally her sanity.

She told me she received death threats from one financial consultant – by no means the only scare tactic I have heard.

Another victim of HBOS and Lloyds was a farmer, a real salt of the earth type, who wrote to me saying he had been put through hell. His wife is fighting cancer for a second time and he desperately hopes they can recover their losses.

To list all such tales of heartbreak I’ve heard would require page after page. Suffice to say, ordinary people have been squeezed to the limit by the banks and their associates, their ordeals often strikingly similar to the one I have barely survived.

My own case has its roots in the notorious scandal based at the HBOS Reading branch, when a cabal of corrupt bankers and consultants set out to ruin small businesses, taking huge consultancy fees and stripping business assets.

It is true that Lloyds – which took over HBOS at the height of the financial crisis and is now responsible for clearing up the aftermath of the HBOS crime – has made numerous positive statements about setting aside compensation for victims. But the experience of those who have given evidence to the review of the HBOS scandal by Professor Russel Griggs has not been encouraging, with victims reporting a take-it-or-leave-it approach.

My fight, which will hopefully benefit all of the victims, is gaining support from every direction – lawyers and accountants offering additional advice; those generously offering to fund any future legal campaigns, and numerous media requests to discuss last weekend’s revelations.

Dave Fishwick, of the Bank of Dave, called me. What a great character! You might have heard of Mr Fishwick who, aside from being the largest supplier of minibuses in the UK, has set up his own bank. He was moved to create Burnley Savings And Loans after he found that his customers were being starved of cash by the conventional system.

Dave wants to put the trust back into banking and treat customers as valued clients, not people to be exploited. I’m really looking forward to our meeting.

Lawrence Tomlinson is another who saw last week’s paper. Mr Tomlinson’s Government-commissioned report in 2013 exposed the unfair treatment of business customers by RBS and he is dropping by this afternoon to discuss my fight with Lloyds.

Tomorrow, I’m off to Oxford to meet representatives of Thames Valley Police and hand over documentation about my case, and to supply additional HBOS/Lloyds’ names for their ongoing investigation, Operation Hornet.

She told me she received death threats from one financial consultant – by no means the only scare tactic I have heard 

It had already been an exhausting week. Yet just when I was about to take the dog for a long, relaxing walk, there was another startling development. An email arrived, followed by a phone chat and then a hastily arranged four-hour meeting at my home with the owner of the most explosive evidence I’ve seen. I’ve seen bundles of documents, which leave me in absolutely no doubt that the banking malpractices which wrecked thousands of lives were not confined to a single rogue unit in HBOS Reading, but extend much further and for a lot longer.

The harsh reality, which makes me very sad and extremely concerned for our nation’s future, is that for many years huge numbers of small to medium-sized UK businesses have been systematically pillaged by many of our largest banks – banks that are now too big to fail and too big to regulate, run by former executives who apparently believe they are too big to jail.

A spokesman for Lloyds Banking Group said: ‘We are making progress with providing compensation to customers affected by the criminal misconduct of those convicted in relation to HBOS Reading. Where we have customer input we have been able to assess nearly all of these cases and provide compensation offers. We have provided offers to nearly half of all customers in the review, and in more than 50 per cent of such cases the offers have been accepted and paid.’ 

‘I’m glad I said ‘deal’ to Deal Or No Deal!’ 

Pictured: Noel presenting Deal or No Deal

Pictured: Noel presenting Deal or No Deal

Noel’s fortunes started to improve when he agreed to host the hit show Deal Or No Deal, left.

The format proved extremely lucrative, earning him tens of millions of pounds.

But he nearly missed out on those riches by turning down the idea – not once, but twice. He admits he was reluctant to do the programme, saying: ‘I’d only seen the French version of the show, which made me think they were going to cast me as someone like Bruce Forsyth on speed.’

But despite his misgivings, the show proved a huge success, allowing him to rebuild his finances and buy another beautiful home. The loss of his Broomford estate in his dispute with HBOS had been a particular blow.

‘I turned down the show twice, when I really needed the money,’ he adds. ‘There is a theme to my broadcasting career – I’ve never done anything just for the money.’