Leading British filmmaker David Puttnam has spoken out about his debilitating 16 year battle with Me (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) for the first time - which he contracted after wearing himself out filming THE KILLING Fields.

LORD PUTTNAM blames the intense pressure of shooting the 1984 OSCAR-winning movie in Asia, after which he contracted a viral infection, for leaving him with the condition - which he says will now attack him up to eight times a year.

He says, "I had a six-month period when I couldn't do anything - nothing, really nothing. Going to the loo was like climbing Everest. It is impossible to explain to people how debilitating it is.

"You become irrationally gloomy and everything becomes negative. Sometimes it's not such a terrible thing, but I suddenly see all the dangers of a situation or all the problems.

"I was so exhausted when I finished The Killing Fields, to which I gave everything I had in me - everything I had learned, everything I knew."

Puttnam even considered retiring following the experience - but kept working for financial reasons.

He says, "Everything told me when I finished making it that I should retire. I couldn't have afforded to anyway - it was a daft idea - the kids were at school.

"But viscerally, it was absolutely right. I had nothing left to give, absolutely nothing."

27/04/2004 17:26