Olly Alexander turned to self-harm and developed bulimia when he was bullied at school for being gay.

The Years & Years frontman has opened up about the homophobic abuse he was subjected to in a powerful new documentary he has made for the BBC for the broadcaster's 'Gay Britannia' season - which marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of sexual acts between two men in England and Wales.

Not only did it affect him mentally, but the 28-year-old singer says he was also involved in numerous physical fights because he would react to the taunts.

Speaking to the London Evening Standard newspaper, he shared: ''School wasn't a pleasant environment. When I was bullied it was two things. It's the language - being called a 'fag' or 'poof'. Being picked on. Being called 'gay' as a negative word - it still is, really. Then there was the physical side - I got into a few fights.''

Despite being brave and talking about the ''dark'' times in his life for the programme, Olly admits it is still ''hard'' to speak about harming himself.

He said: ''It was so hard at that time. I felt like I was going mad. I wasn't talking to anybody about what I was feeling. I was writing it all down. Everything felt hopeless. Bulimia and self-harm were a way of coping with that. Cutting was a coping mechanism. I was in a really dark place. It's still really difficult for me to talk about.''

The 'Desire' hitmaker hopes speaking out will encourage other people going through a similar experience to seek help from their loved ones or friends.

He said: ''What I want to get across is that there is hope - you don't have to feel like that, if you have the right access to support, friends or family.''

Olly's film 'Growing Up Gay' will be on BBC Three from July 18 and on BBC One later this month.