The McGuinness Unit in Manchester is one of the UK’s biggest mental-health units for teenagers. This first episode of a three-part series acts as a discreet fly-on-its-wall – a documentary that thankfully leaves fixed, overarching narratives to others. As with a lot of BBC3 output, its title is its biggest letdown.
While it may open on a close-up of a set of nostrils and lips being squished against a window, there are no abhorrent and old-school attitudes toward mental health on show here. Quite the opposite, in fact. All of the teens featured take their treatment extremely seriously, while the dedication of the nurses and case workers is exemplary. Even moments of potential irony or wryness – for example, a girl with OCD whose meticulous room is disturbed for regular checks – are thankfully (and respectfully) underplayed. If only BBC3 didn’t have to use the ‘C’ word.