Joe Wicks hailed as a national treasure after documentary about his childhood

Emotional viewers heaped praise on Joe Wicks after a touching documentary about his childhood aired on the BBC.

Facing My Childhood reflected on the fitness expert's life as a boy growing up with a heroin-addicted father and a mother living with severe obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

The 60-minute programme explored how the 36-year-old's life was shaped by his childhood experiences through a series of candid discussions with his family and friends.

At the age of 12 Joe was left in the care of his dad Gary, who was addicted to heroin, when his mum sought help for her debilitating OCD.

He praised his "brave" mum Raquela for getting the help she needed while his older brother Nikki, 38, tried to shield him from the reality of living with their addict father.

Joe, who also goes by The Body Coach, is probably best known for his intense workout videos which got the country moving during the Covid lockdown.

But fans had the opportunity to see a different, more sensitive side to the father-of-two who broke into tears several times during the documentary.

And some were moved to share their admiration for the personal trainer and praise his bravery on social media.

One viewer wrote: "Joe Wicks is such a gentleman & truly an inspiration (a national treasure). His documentary #FacingMyChildhood is an amazing insightful into #mentalhealth & thank you for your open, honest & emotional reflections".

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Another commented: "Joe Wicks is such a lovely man. He’s truly an inspiration.

"This programme is so insightful and needed more than ever. Mental Health is all around us and education is so important."

A third added: "Goodness me, serious warmth, insight and honesty. Joe Wicks absolutely blew me away tonight.

"A real advocate about listening to children, the effects of growing up around mental illness and how it’s affect for him now."

Joe also took to social media to encourage others to talk about mental health and thank fans for their support.

In a four-part Twitter thread on Monday night, he wrote: "I'd just like to say a huge thank you to all of you for tuning into my documentary on BBC1 this evening.

"The intention of this documentary is to open up conversations around mental health and highlight the support which is out there if you are struggling…

"It’s so important we talk about our issues and remove the shame, guilt and stigma from mental illness and addiction. I really hope the documentary has helped you in some way but if you need more help and support please visit http://bbc.co.uk/actionline.

"There you will find links to all the relevant charities and services you may need. Just a heads up regarding my own personal mental health. Since filming the documentary last year I have found a much better balance with my phone and social media…

"I am in a much more positive place with it all. It was a very emotional process but I’ve come away from it feeling stronger and more positive. Thanks again for all your support. Much love Joe x"

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