BBC – Secrets & Lies: Lives lived in shame

It’s Secrets and Lies season on Outlook and we’re revisiting some of the most fascinating stories from our archive on the theme. In this episode we hear about secrets borne out of shame.

When Gail Lukasik was growing up in the US, she’d always wondered about her mother’s quirky habits. For instance, she always wore a light foundation before she went to bed. Years later Gail would discover that this had been one of her mother’s attempts to hide the fact that she was actually multiracial and had ‘passed’ as white her whole life. Gail wrote a book about her story, White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing. She spoke to Emily Webb in 2019.

Stanley Underhill is a British priest who—at 91—came out as gay. He spent his whole life facing prejudice because of his sexuality but says that for the first time in his life, he’s comfortable in himself. He’s written a book about his life called Coming out of the Black Country. He spoke to Emily Webb in 2019.

Do you have a fantastic story involving a secret or a lie? We’d love to hear about it. Record a short voice memo or write an e-mail and send it to us at If your story is about someone you know, just make sure they’re ok with you telling us about it.

Presenter: Emily Webb
Producer: Fiona Woods
Orginal story producers: Alice Gioia and Emily Webb
Music: Joel Cox