What’s the Matter with Tony Slattery? Available on BBC iPlayer now

 

 

Tony Slattery was one of the most gifted tv comedians of the late 80’s and early 90s. One of the Cambridge Footlight set that included Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson, he became a household name on Whose Line is it Anyway. Then in 1996 amidst rumours of a massive breakdown, he seemed to vanish from our screens overnight.

 

Tony was diagnosed with depression, but he and his partner of over 30 years Mark Hutchison have always been convinced there was more to it. Now as he approaches sixty Tony has agreed to have his mental health assessed on screen. Bipolar disorder was first discussed around the time of his breakdown, but never confirmed. Meeting Professor Guy Goodwin, one of the world’s leading experts on the condition, Tony wants to see if he can finally get a definitive diagnosis.

 

But like so many people with complex mental health and addiction issues Tony isn’t going to be easy to diagnose. People with bipolar disorder frequently also abuse alcohol or other substances, which can cloud the picture. Tony gave up cocaine at the millennium, but is still a heavy drinker, so to help arrive at a diagnosis Professor Goodwin sets Tony the task of keeping an electronic mood diary and sends him to see Professor Julia Sinclair an expert in addiction and mental health

 

Meanwhile Tony is touring the country with a show which deals frankly with his battles with mental health and addiction. His partner Mark has been carrying the burden of Tony’s illness for decades and believes a traumatic experience in Tony’s childhood could still be affecting him. Whilst in Belfast they visit Professor Ciaran Mulholland, an expert in childhood trauma and mental illness and in an extraordinarily raw and intimate session Tony opens up about these painful events for the first time in his life.

 

The Guardian**** A moving study of drink, depression and abuse..  a beacon for the genre’

 

 

Evening Standard***** immensely moving. It is the story of a lifelong struggle with depression, misdiagnosis and drink dependency, but it is also more than the sum of its parts. It is, at times, both funny and hopeful. There are very few of us who won’t be touched by it.

 

 

The Metro ***** ‘It was a moving celebration of an enduring love; revealing and responsible television of the highest order.’