The Not So Secret Life of the Manic Depressive: 10 Years On

Confirmed for BBC One on 15 February at 9pm to 10pm

Ep 1/1

Monday 15 February



Ten years since Stephen Fry’s The Secret Life Of The Manic Depressive started a national conversation about mental health, The Not So Secret Life Of the Manic Depressive: 10 Years On looks at the experiences of Stephen and others with bipolar (as it is now called) now.

As a society, do we need to do more for those with the illness? Is the treatment better? Has the stigma reduced?

In the new film we see how different people of all ages deal with bipolar: we meet Alika, whose manic episode on the London Underground became a YouTube sensation - damning evidence that the stigma of mental illness isn’t diminishing quickly enough; Scott, who is battling to hold down his job as a chef and his role as a husband and father, but whose early attempts to control his bipolar with medication caused intolerable side-effects; and Rachel, whose first manic episode at age 19 led to life-changing injuries when she believed she could fly, leaving her in a wheelchair.

And we return to meet Cordelia who featured in the original series, an academic high-achiever struggling to find a place for herself in the world. Now in her 30s, Cordelia is still battling with bipolar so powerful that it eclipses even the cancer she is dying from.

Interviews with Stephen Fry give a privileged insight into what living with bipolar really means: he talks about the time he attempted suicide when he was filming in Uganda in 2012; how his busy lifestyle exacerbates his condition and the moment he realised his condition couldn't be cured, but only managed.

Stephen is now the president of Mind. Looking at the changes of the past decade, he finds cause for optimism in the increased awareness of bipolar, especially among the young. And the film gives a powerful insight into what it meant to live with bipolar in the past, what it means in the present and - most significantly for the contributors - in the future.