At last.

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!

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10 Responses to At last.

  1. Oh, goodness me. It sounds worth checking out, anyway (even if I still prefer Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor…)

    I’m afraid that the”book, television programme or piece of music that perfectly crystallises your thoughts and opinions on a particular subject” at the moment for me is one that’s a bit too controversial to mention on someone else’s blog. Instead, in my yank-centric way, I’ll cite the Obama campaign for the moment. It’s making me happy, if nothing else.

  2. Marsha Klein says:

    Valerie, immediately after I read your comment I clicked on and saw this:

    then this:

    Have we got our fingers on the cultural pulse or what?!

  3. BiB says:

    Damn the reader built into wordpress. Didn’t show me this (because I hadn’t read any blogs for over a week and the reader only shows what’s been written in the last week).

    Anyway… Don’t know that programme, though it sounds like a good watch. I’m not sure I’ve got an equivalent. I think Torch Song Trilogy probably had quite an impact when I was a young, freshly come-out gayer 93 years ago. Homophobia, mums and fun. I might cringe if I watched it now.

  4. marshaklein says:

    BiB: Hadn’t read any blogs for over a week? Now I’m all for real-life as a hobby (it’s good to keep abreast of new technology, after all) but when it starts to impinge on your ability to relate to the blogosphere…well, you just have to be careful is all I’m saying!

    I used to have a bit of a soft spot for Matthew Broderick.

  5. BiB says:

    No internet on holiday. Terrible.

    Hope Valerie will check back in here… Bill Bailey on Desert Island Discs tomorrow.

  6. marshaklein says:

    I heard Bill Bailey’s Desert Island Discs last Sunday. Very good.

  7. BiB says:

    Bugger. Missed it and it’s not one of the programmes you can listen to again online. Fuck. Was he a charmer?

  8. Marsha Klein says:

    I’ve never understood why Desert Island Discs isn’t on Listen Again – it would seem to be an ideal candidate.

    Bill Bailey was, indeed, very charming and very funny.

    I’m not sure if it’s your thing, but there’s a whole lot of tributes to Humphrey Lyteltton on Radio 4 on Sunday (inc. his Desert Island Discs)

  9. marshaklein says:


    Right, off to write it out a hundred times now.

  10. Sylvia says:

    I’ve had a think about this, Marsha, but I can’t think of anything at the moment.
    Um, does Caroline in GW count? The first time I feel that women of a certain age (ie mine) have been so accurately represented.

    I reckon Caroline is really Victoria Pile – wish I’d asked that question at the BFI event in Jan 07 rather than whitter on about all the women at the convention and did that reflect the viewing figures and why did she think that women were so bowled over by it.
    She looked at me as if I’d suggested something improper which made me want to crawl under the seats…..Ho hum.

    Listened to the Hump tribute on listen again – really good. What a wonderful facility…

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