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Life on the psych ward.

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About this work


This is a programme about forensic psychiatry at Bethlem Royal Hospital in South London where a group of patients who have convictions are held as they are too ill for prison. Dr Tim McInerny, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist describes some of the crimes which these men have committed. James has a borderline personality disorder; he received a life sentence for a violent assault. Dr Colin Campbell is treating him; he has a lifetime of anti-social (violent) behaviour. John has been in the hospital for a long time; some of his artwork is displayed in his room. He has a personality disorder and alcohol consumption has led to violent behaviour (stabbing a man several times). Profiling does not prove whether patients will be safe in the outside world; John is allowed to leave the hospital unaccompanied and wearing an electronic tag. His consultant forensic psychiatrist, Dr David Ndegwa, comments on John's ability to cope. Tony was being prepared for controlled release but is reluctant to get up; Helen Bristow the ward manager describes a catalogue of his crimes. He has also been accessing cannabis and legal highs brought in by other patients on release. Unfortunately, although rare, patients who have been released from the hospital have gone on to commit further offences. Despite the risks, the hospital takes a humanitarian approach. James had a history of violence, was in prison and speaks of the life he has lost. Tony is on controlled supervised release. Tony's mother Maggie speaks movingly about the challenges of having a son with schizophrenia. Atonement is difficult for the patients due to the complexities of their conditions and history.



Physical description

1 DVD (47 min.) : sound, colour ; 12 cm


Originally broadcast on 28 November 2016 on Channel 4.

Creator/production credits

Filmed and directed by Guy King. Producer, Anna Stephens.

Copyright note

Channel 4.



  • English

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