The House of Obsessive CompulsivesBMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7513.409 (Published 11 August 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:409
- Sabina Dosani, specialist registrar in child and adolescent psychiatry (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Bethlem Royal Hospital, London
Channel 4, 1 and 8 August at 9 pm
The trailer for The House of Obsessive Compulsives contained a clever hook. A man put his hand down a toilet while a woman looked horrified. This sort of sensationalism, coupled with the fact that it was screened before the reality gameshow Big Brother, riled me.
In the hunt for huge audiences, television programmes are given titles that sometimes repel serious viewers. The title of this show suggests the coming together of Big Brother and Hammer House of Horror. This is a pity as the subject, obsessive compulsive disorder, and the three hapless sufferers, their partners, and the therapists involved deserved better.
Reality television has brought live sex and a real time autopsy into our front rooms. I work at the Bethlem Hospital, where, in 1808, people paid a penny to see lunatics chained to the walls. Were television viewers getting same voyeuristic thrill in the House of Obsessive Compulsives? Not necessarily. …