Tony with Hugh Laurie, Emma Freud, Stephen Fry, and Jennifer Saunders in 1991
Tony Slattery was a huge comedy star in the 1990s, famously appearing on C4’s Whose Line Is It Anyway?, but by the turn of the millennium he’d vanished from public life after having a breakdown.
Now, a new BBC2 documentary, Whatever Happened to Tony Slattery?, will see the star search for a better understanding of the mental health problems he has had for the past 25 years.
As the BBC puts it, at the time of his breakdown at the turn of the millennium, “bipolar disorder was discussed but, at the time, Tony was struggling with cocaine and alcohol addiction so it wasn’t possible to make a clear diagnosis”.
The one-hour documentary, part of BBC2’s flagship Horizon strand, will follow Tony and his partner of 35 years, Mark Hutchinson, as they visit the UK’s leading experts on mood disorders in the hope of getting a better understanding of his mental health problems.
The 60-year-old will also be seen taking a wider look at mental health as he examines new developments of understanding and treating mood disorders.
Tony Slattery says: “‘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 programme informative and helpful. That after all is the point of doing it.”
Controller, BBC2, Patrick Holland, says: “This promises to be a highly personal and important film, exploring Tony’s life with mental health issues and the science behind treatment. BBC2 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.”
Executive Producer, Katie Buchanan, adds: “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.”
Whatever Happened to Tony Slattery? – which is currently a working title for the show – will be screened on BBC2. It’s not yet been announced exactly when the documentary will be screened.
Main picture: Getty Images