Sometimes you discover a book, television programme or piece of music that perfectly crystallises your thoughts and opinions on a particular subject. For me, “Takin’ Over the Asylum” was just such a television programme. This award-winning six-parter, shown in 1994, was the most sympathetic portrayal of mental illness I’d ever seen in a TV drama. Perhaps I was more than usually interested in this subject – I’d been treated for post-natal depression after the birth of my first child a couple of years earlier – but, even allowing for that, I remember it as being truly impressive, skillfully written drama – touching without being sentimental, funny without being cruel and dramatic without being hysterical.
So why no video or DVD release? Your guess is as good as mine but, anyone who knows me well will at some time in the last 14 years have listened to me bemoaning the fact that this series never got the recognition it deserved. I remember watching the BAFTA ceremony that year and when Donna Franceschild accepted her award, it was obvious that the assembled audience didn’t have a clue what she had won it for. Her speech was followed by polite, slightly bemused applause.
And why a DVD release now? Well, “Takin’ Over the Asylum” was also significant for providing a young actor called David Tennant* with his first televsion role.
Right, I’ve told you mine. What’s yours?
* He was heart-breakingly good. I always said he’d do well!