What's The Matter With Tony Slattery?
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Tony Slattery was one of the most gifted comedians of the late 80s and early 90s. One of the Cambridge Footlight set that included Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson, he became a household name on Whose Line is it Anyway?
Then in 1996, amid rumours of a breakdown, he seemed to vanish from our screens overnight.
Now, as he approaches 60, Tony has been touring the country with a show that explores his past and his mental health. Diagnosed with depression, he and his partner of over 30 years Mark Hutchinson have always been convinced there was more to it. At the time of his breakdown nearly 25 years ago, Bipolar disorder was discussed but never confirmed. Now Tony wants to have his mental health reassessed to see if he can finally get a definitive diagnosis, and visits Professor Guy Goodwin, one of the world’s leading experts on the condition.
Like so many people who have complex mental health issues, Tony isn’t going to be easy to diagnose. Bipolar disorder is characterised by severe and disabling highs and lows over which the sufferer has little control. Tony kicked his cocaine habit decades ago but alcohol still plays a part in his daily life, leading Professor Goodwin to bring in Professor Julia Sinclair, an expert in addiction and mental health.
Tony’s partner Mark has been witness to Tony’s illness for decades and believes a traumatic experience in Tony’s childhood could be affecting him. New science confirms that people with bipolar are over 2.5 times more likely to have suffered physical or mental abuse as a child, so whilst in Belfast they visit an expert in childhood trauma, Professor Ciaran Mulholland, which results in Tony revealing and extraordinarily raw and painful childhood trauma.
On their return Professor Goodwin calls them back in. Can he confirm a diagnosis, and will Tony finally be able to access the support he needs?
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