'Bedlam' (Channel 4 series)

GenreMental health care documentary
Directed byDavid Nath
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes4
Executive producerAmy Flanagan
ProducerPeter Beard
Production locationSouth London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
Production companyThe Garden Productions
Original networkChannel 4
Picture format16:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release31 October (2013-10-31) –
21 November 2013 (2013-11-21)

Bedlam was a British mental health documentary filmed at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). The series offers unprecedented access to clinical services, patients and staff at the Trust.[1][2][3][4]


The first episode of the four-part series Bedlam was broadcast on Thursday, 31 October 2013 at 9 pm on Channel 4.

The first programme, Anxiety, follow patients through the 18-bed Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit at Bethlem Royal Hospital. This national unit treats the most anxious people in the country - the top one per cent - and claims a success rate of three in four patients. Some are consumed by irrational fears they've caused a road accident in their sleep, harmed strangers or have intrusive thoughts.

One of the four people featured in the documentary says that three of them relapsed within weeks of discharge. He accuses the documentary makers of deliberately misleading viewers by showing two patients apparently doing well, and not mentioning the other two, thus giving viewers the impression that they had all been cured.[5]

The second programme is called Crisis. Cameras are allowed in Lambeth Hospital Triage ward for the first time. This is the Accident and Emergency of mental health - where patients are at their most unwell. This episode features Medical Director Dr Martin Baggaley who has spoken out about the pressure facing mental health services in England.[6]

The third programme, Psychosis, films a community mental health team. South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust provides support for more than 35,000 people with mental health problems.

The final programme, Breakdown, focuses on older adults, including the inpatient ward for people over 65 with mental health problems at Maudsley Hospital.


The title ‘Bedlam’ was decided upon both by SLaM, Channel 4 and The Garden Productions. It is based on the fact that SLaM can trace its roots back to 1247 when the Priory of St Mary of Bethlehem was established in the City of London. The priory, which became a refuge for the sick and infirm, was known as ‘Bedlam’ and was the earliest form of what is now Bethlem Royal Hospital.[7] The title has generated concern and criticism from some mental health campaigners because of what is seen as the negative, stigmatising associations with the term ‘Bedlam’.[8] In response, the Trust set out the process and thinking which led to the name being agreed.[9]


  1. ^ Lydall, Ross (25 October 2013). "I don't want to end up a waste of a human being: student tells of OCD battle". Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  2. ^ Channel 4 Filming at South London and Maudsley
  3. ^ Charlton, Dan (3 December 2013). "Bedlam Trust: why we let the cameras in". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  4. ^ Charlton, Dan (9 December 2013). "A few lights, a camera and some real-life action helped us demystify what it's like to live with a mental illness". NHS Voices. Archived from the original on 9 December 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
  5. ^ Leon (Pseudonym) (2021). "Unreported BAFTA Scandal". the-visionary.w3spaces.com. Retrieved 3 February 2022.
  6. ^ BBC / England’s mental health services ‘in crisis’
  7. ^ Andrews et al. 1997, pp. 15, 23; Vincent 1998, p. 213.
  8. ^ Sectioned Can stigma be challenged by evoking stigmatising stereotypes? From the Maudsley to Bethlem
  9. ^ South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust What’s behind the name


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