Paul Gascoigne opens up about Calpol addiction and being 'barred from every chemist in Newcastle'

The former England football player spoke about his experience on a Channel 4 reality show called Scared Of The Dark. Credit: Jonathan Ford / Channel 4

Paul Gascoigne has opened up about his alcohol addiction as part of a reality show which has seen him spend 180 hours in the dark.

The former England footballer, who won the Channel 4 reality show Scared Of The Dark, was open about his addiction, which at one point led him to trying to buy 10 bottles of Calpol.

The 55-year-old from Dunston, Gateshead, spent 180 hours in complete darkness, living, eating, sleeping and completing challenges.

Speaking on the TV programme the former Newcastle United player said: "Unfortunately I've got this addictive personality.

"I started going to rehab for stupid reasons, you know, thats the addict side of us."

Paul Gascoigne eventually won the Channel 4 series 'Scared Of The Dark'. Credit: Jonathan Ford / Channel 4

He went on to explain that in desperation and under the hold of his addiction, he visited chemists in Newcastle and pretended to have nine children in order to buy multiple bottles of Calpol.

He added: "Calpol has 1% of alcohol and I thought well if I buy ten bottles, that's like having nearly a pint.

"I was going round chemists and saying 'listen I didn't want to tell anyone but I've got nine kids. I need Calpol'.

"They said 'nine kids? What you doing with nine kids?' I went 'yeah but don't tell me family because it costs a lot of money in maintenance'."

Mr Gascoigne went on to say he was eventually barred from all the chemists in Newcastle.

The father-of-three has opened up in the past about his decades-long battle with addiction.

Following his retirement from football he admitted struggling with his mental health and turning to drugs and alcohol.

In a 2011 interview on ITV show, Piers Morgan Life Stories, Mr Gascoigne said during his worst he was sniffing 16 lines of cocaine and four bottles of whisky a day.

Paul Gascoigne has opened up about struggling with alcohol addiction after his retirement from football. Credit: PA

Gascoigne fended off competition from seven other famous faces to win the Channel 4 series.

The series host Danny Dyer announced the winner during the final on Thursday 20 April.

Following his win, Gascoigne admitted he had been "nervous" to take part but said the experience had made him "a better person".

"People always question my mental strength but my success on this series proves that I am strong," he said.

"I was nervous going in there but having gotten this far on the series made me the happiest man around.

"I'm so happy. It's unbelievable. I've got my smile back. I'm a better person."

Other celebrities taking part in the debut series included Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffatt, former boxers Chris Eubank and Nicola Adams, blind comedian Chris McCausland, actress and comedian Donna Preston, Love Island's Chloe Burrows, and Max George from boyband The Wanted.

Paul Gascoigne became close to fellow contestant, Max George from boyband The Wanted. Credit: Jonathan Ford / Channel 4

During the course of the series, aired on five consecutive nights, the team endured the mounting psychological pressures of light deprivation while taking on the "faceless" challenges.

After Gascoigne was declared the winner, his fellow contestants praised him for his "openness".

"The way that he has been so open about his emotions and talking about his mental health, I feel like that's probably the most remarkable thing that's happened," former Love Islander Burrows said.

Actress Preston said: "This journey for him has been really, really hard and I think he just needs to be really proud of himself."

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