BBC Two to air documentary ‘What’s the Matter with Tony Slattery’

As part of a major season of BBC mental health programming, the Horizon documentary strand will be screening the documentary film What’s The Matter With Tony Slattery at 9pm, 21 May 2020 on BBC TWO. The documentary features the comedian and actor, Tony Slattery, as he explores his mental health and seeks diagnosis for a possible bipolar condition, while he tours the country with his live shows,

The full press information can be found below.

During filming, Tony visited Belfast and took part in two shows at the Crescent Arts Centre focusing on male mental health alongside CinePunked’s Robert JE Simpson, and Tony’s regular collaborator and CinePunked contributor, comedy historian Robert Ross. A Comedy of Madness is a live touring show developed by Simpson and Ross, exploring the impact of mental health issues on some of their comedy heroes. Sincerely Slattery is an intimate interview between Slattery and Simpson, exploring Slattery’s career and various mental health concerns.

Marking Mental Health Awareness Week, recordings of both shows will be presented as part of the current run of the CinePunked podcast following the broadcast of the documentary. The CinePunked podcast is available from all good podcast channels and via

What’s the Matter with Tony Slattery? was directed by Clare Richards at Sundog Pictures for BBC TWO.

Programme information from:

What’s The Matter With Tony Slattery
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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