Belfast Telegraph

Tony Slattery to seek answers to mental health issues in BBC documentary

The comic hopes to get some clarity on the problems that have ‘dogged his life’.

Comedian Tony Slattery (Yui Mok/PA)
Comedian Tony Slattery (Yui Mok/PA)

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Tony Slattery will seek answers to his mental health problems in a new BBC documentary to air following his return to the spotlight.

The comic, 60, appeared on shows such as Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Just A Minute and Have I Got News For You in the 1990s, before having a breakdown and completely vanishing from public life.

A revealing interview about struggling with substance abuse and bipolar disorder catapulted the once-prolific star back into the limelight earlier this year.

Now Slattery has revealed that he will make a one-off documentary, searching for a better understanding of the mental health problems that have “dogged his life”,  for BBC Two’s Horizon strand.

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Nadiya Hussain previously made a BBC film on anxiety (Ian West/PA)

The film will follow Slattery and Mark Hutchinson, his partner of 35 years, as they visit leading experts on mood disorders and addiction.

“Whatever the cause might be, I know that I am not unique in trying to cope with mental ill health,” the actor said.

“My main hope is that viewers will find the programme informative and helpful. That, after all, is the point of doing it.”

While bipolar disorder was discussed in earlier years, Slattery’s struggles with cocaine and alcohol addiction meant that there was no clear diagnosis.

Executive producer Katie Buchanan said: “The challenges Tony faces are reflected in the lives of countless other people with mental health and addiction issues who may not have received a clear diagnosis or been able to access the right support.

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David Harewood made a BBC film about psychosis (Ian West/PA)

“We, like Tony, hope that the film will reduce stigma, help others in similar situations and bring to the fore what it is like to live with such complex mental health issues.”

The programme will explore new developments in the science of understanding and treating complex mood disorders.

Whatever Happened To Tony Slattery? – its working title – follows BBC documentaries with Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell on depression and TV cook Nadiya Hussain on anxiety.

Former Homeland star David Harewood also made a film about psychosis while ex-England captain Rio Ferdinand discussed bereavement following the death of his wife.

PA

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