Series One

Episode 0


Dr. Rapp Takes The Stage

Sherman Hershfield was the medical director of the San Bernardino Community Hospital where he helped patients with debilitating brain injuries rebuild their lives. He had trained as a neurologist and was known as a diligent worker, it was not unknown for his workday to last from 6am to 3am even well into his 50s. During this time in the late 1980s he began to experience occasional blackouts. Hershfield, dismayed, put it down to overwork but couldn’t understand it. He was neither a smoker nor a drinker, exercised regularly and adhered to a strict vegetarian diet, so the source of the blackouts was a mystery.


Episode 1


Going Off The Deep End

On 22nd May 1826 Pringle Stokes set sail from Plymouth on a mission to chart the southern coast of South America. This expedition would mark his first official command of a ship and although ‘not practised in professional science’ he was nonetheless considered a highly respected seaman. The journey would be a difficult one for all involved...


Episode 2


The Devil Can Have You

Explanations of mental health problems in terms of possession have taken many forms over the course of history, and it is a form of explanation that has meant that many who have been suffering debilitating and distressing psychological problems have been persecuted and physically abused.


Episode 3


A Rose By Any Other Name, Part 1

83 Beals Street in Boston is located in the affluent suburb of Brookline. It is a three story home with a balcony that overlooks the rest of the street. On Friday September 13th 1918, 28 year old mother of two Rose Kennedy was having contraction. Twenty years later, a meeting with Dr Freeman would change history...


Episode 4


A Rose By Any Other Name, Part Two

On 6th May 1946 Life Magazine published a devastating article on the state of mental institutions in the United States. Written by Albert Maisel, with photography by Jerry Cooke, Bedlam 1946 told of how many returning soldiers were being left to suffer in abject squalor in already overcrowded asylums. These understaffed hospitals often led to horrific brutality at the hands of the staff.


Episode 5



The two extremes of mood, melancholy and mania, were first described by Hippocrates, who associated melancholia with an over abundance of black bile and mania with yellow bile. In the second century AD Arataeus of Cappadocia observed that ‘melancholia is without any doubt the beginning and even part of the disorder called mania’.


Episode 6


Lunacy And Liberty

On April 2nd 1836, Catherine Hogarth married Charles Dickens. Their marriage would be marked by wonderful moments of utmost happiness and irredeemable sadness.  He addressed her affectionately in his letters as ‘my dearest life’ and ‘dearest darling Pig’.


Episode 7


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Episode 8


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Episode 9


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Episode 10


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