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The not so secret life of the manic depressive.

  • Fry, Stephen, 1957-
  • Videos

About this work


This programme revisits Stephen Fry’s 2006 television programme ‘The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive’ 10 years later. It attempts to explore whether the conversations surrounding the manic-depressive disorder Bipolar, of which Fry was diagnosed in 2013, have evolved. Clips of the 2006 series are used throughout. To begin, Fry recounts events in 2012, when he visited Uganda to interview a government minister that was planning to make homosexuality a capital offence. He and his psychiatrist Dr Willian Shanahan then speak about his first suicide attempt. The programme next explores medication and early diagnosis. Fry revisits Cordelia Feldman, who featured in the 2006 series. She recites excerpts from her creative writing, which is focussed around depression. Her mother Teresa Feldman discusses how her daughter’s condition has affected her life. Cordelia discusses the choice involved in medicating her condition with a close friend. Cordelia is shown getting an MRI scan, as she has, since the 2006 programme, been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Fry and Shanahan discuss the symptoms of his Cyclothymia. Clips are shown from the film ‘Network’ (1976), in reference to symptoms Fry mentions in therapy. He discusses a shift in diagnosis from Cyclothymia to Bipolar 1. Alika Agidi-Jeffs discusses a video of him having a manic episode in public, which was posted on Youtube in 2012 and went viral. He and his mother recount the public humiliation he experienced, and his subsequent suicide attempt. Agidi-Jeffs has a conversation with a group of school children about the depression, suicide, and the consequences of remaining ignorant to these conditions. Fry and Shanahan discuss intense travelling, self-medicating, and sleeplessness. Next, the programme revisits Chef Scott Martin and his wife Hayley. They recount manic episodes Martin had experienced since the 2006 programme. Martin’s employer Karen Swindells, discusses his fluctuating mood. Psychiatrist Dr Jha and Martin discuss his attitude towards medicating his condition. Clips are shown of a BBC News bulletin announcing Comedian Robin Williams’ death, as well as an episode of the chat show Parkinson (2002) of which Fry and Williams a part. Fry and Shanahan discuss how Bipolar, for Fry, is a chronic disease with the potential for manic episodes and suicidal thoughts to resurface in the future. The programme next revisits Rachel Edwards and her mother Kate. They recount the manic episodes that led to her diagnosis as a teenager, one of which left her paralysed below the waist. Mental Health Nurse Peter Henson discusses the purpose of the Mental Health Act. Fry discusses being President of Mind, and the continuing evolution of understanding in the general population regarding mental health issues.



Physical description

1 DVD (60 min.) : sound, colour ; 12 cm


Originally broadcast on 15 February 2016 on BBC 1.

Creator/production credits

Produced and directed by Ross Wilson.
Presented by David Morrissey.

Copyright note

Sprout Pictures for BBC Scotland.



  • English

Where to find it

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    OpenOnline request

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