BBC Two Commissions Tony Slattery Doc for Horizon


BBC Two has ordered the one-off documentary Whatever Happened to Tony Slattery? (working title) from the factual indie Sundog Pictures.

The one-hour doc will follow the actor and comedian as he searches for a better understanding of the mental health problems he has dealt with for the past 25 years. Directed by Clare Richards, Whatever Happened to Tony Slattery? (w/t) is set to form part of BBC Two’s flagship Horizon strand. It will be distributed globally by BBC Studios Distribution.

Slattery, who became a comedy star in the 1990s regularly appearing on both stage and screen, had suffered a breakdown by the turn of the millennium and vanished from public life. Though a bipolar disorder was considered, the entertainer was struggling with cocaine and alcohol addiction at the time, making it difficult to make a clear diagnosis. In the documentary, Slattery and his partner Mark Hutchinson will be followed as they visit experts on mood disorders and addiction in search of answers. The program will also explore new developments in the science of understanding and treating complex mood disorders.

Katie Buchanan, executive producer, said: “The challenges Tony faces are reflected in the lives of countless other people with mental health and addiction issues who may not have received a clear diagnosis or been able to access the right support. We, like Tony, hope that the film will reduce stigma, help others in similar situations and bring to the fore what it is like to live with such complex mental health issues.”

Slattery added: “Whatever the cause might be, I know that I am not unique in trying to cope with mental ill-health and my main hope is that viewers will find the program informative and helpful. That, after all, is the point of doing it.”

Patrick Holland, controller of BBC Two, commented: “This promises to be a highly personal and important film, exploring Tony’s life with mental health issues and the science behind treatment. BBC Two has a rich heritage of commissioning documentaries that focus on mental wellbeing, with our powerful recent films on psychosis, Aspergers and depression. I hope this film helps break down barriers in our conversations about conditions that impact on so many lives.”