The South London and Maudsley Hospital sits on the ground formerly occupied by the notorious Bedlam facility. Treatments are gentler now but, as the opening episode of this series exploring the hospital’s work demonstrates, it’s still a challenging place. It’s clear from the recent glut of related films that OCD is set to become the TV documentary health issue de nos jours.
Tonight, we meet a group of sufferers with such apparently random anxieties as compulsive veganism and a very personal obsession involving strangers and rubbish bins. But of course, they’re anything but random and that’s the point – uncovering the roots of the fear takes you halfway to conquering it. The charming, shambling James and his toilet issues soon become the focus of the film.
There’s a jarringly inappropriate moment early on where the musical accompaniment strays dangerously close to playing his hysterical confusion for laughs. But otherwise, his travails are sensitively handled and shine a light into a condition that, to a greater or lesser degree, affects us all in some way.
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