Gay BBC presenter Ray Gosling was held in police custody last night after he claimed to have killed a former lover who was dying from AIDS.

Mr Gosling, 70, made the confession in the BBC’s Inside Out programme which was aired on Monday night.

He was arrested yesterday at dawn by Nottinghamshire Police on suspicion of murder. His home has been searched but he has not been charged.

Police have extended their questioning of him until at least 7.45pm tonight.

The veteran presenter said earlier this week that he would not name the man he claimed to have killed, “even under torture”.

He claimed that a doctor had given tacit approval of the killing and that he and the man, who he referred to as a “bit on the side” had agreed a pact.

There have been some doubts over his story and queries as why he has now chosen to publicise it.

Mr Gosling has said he is not a campaigner for legalised euthanasia. He is known to have nursed his long-term partner Bryn Allsop until his natural death from cancer in 1999.

Paul Watson, a documentary maker who knows Mr Gosling, told the Guardian: “I would question it. I think it is desperate seeking of attention. He is a lovely man, but he does know how to manipulate the media.”

But another friend, Alan Horsfall, of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, said he believed Mr Gosling’s story.

He said: “He told me about it a long time ago. It came up in passing, he told me about it and that was that. He didn’t make a big issue about it. It was some years after the event that he told me. I accepted it as assisted suicide.”

Mr Gosling’s soliticitor Digby Johnson said his client could be held until Sunday, adding that his night behind bars had “taken its toll”. He said that Mr Gosling was standing by his pledge not to name the man.