The 73-year-old, who at the time was married to her first husband, journalist Charles Wilson, said she refused to speak to anyone about the ordeal because of the shame.

London - Anne Robinson has opened up about having an abortion aged 23, describing it as a "terrifying, confusing and very, very lonely" experience.

The TV presenter had the procedure as a newlywed in 1968, and said it left her feeling depressed with the "most terrible black doom".

The 73-year-old, who at the time was married to her first husband, journalist Charles Wilson, said she refused to speak to anyone about the ordeal because of the shame.

Discussing the incident in detail for the first time, she said: "At the beginning of 1968, I was newly married, very, very unhappy and I found I was pregnant.

"I was terrified, confused and very, very lonely because I didn’t think I could talk to anyone.

"I came from a Catholic family and I was well aware of what Catholicism thought of abortion and it was a really isolated place.

"So much so that the only way I felt I could go through with an abortion was if I didn’t think about ... what I was doing. It was like someone who was shutting their eyes and jumping from a cliff." Despite her resulting depression, Robinson – who has one daughter, TV director Emma Wilson – said she has not allowed herself to regret her decision.

"Fear makes you behave in a very odd way," she said. "What I remember is, unexpectedly, the most terrible black doom came over me and it lasted for months.

"Again I didn’t talk about it because I was ashamed of what I’d done, and how could I explain that I felt so depressed.

"I haven’t allowed myself to regret it." Robinson made the comments in BBC2 documentary Abortion On Trial, in which she discusses the issue of terminations with nine others with conflicting views to mark 50 years since the passing of the Abortion Act. Statistics show one in three women will have an abortion in their lifetime.

Despite saying she did not regret her decision, the former Weakest Link host admitted she still feels "inherent shame" about it. "It was quite a hard question to ask what I thought about it since, and the truth is that I have tried very hard not the think about it," she said.

"I can see that a lot of that is inherent shame in me and after all these years and it’s nearly 50 years ago, so it runs very deep."

The Watchdog presenter, who has two grandchildren, said she was still in "skip over mode" after previously only briefly mentioning her abortion in her 2001 autobiography, Memoirs Of An Unfit Mother.