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Bedlam

1 x 47 HD
Broadcaster:  HISTORY

Satirised over centuries as both a ‘human zoo’ and for 100 years one of London’s leading tourist attractions Bedlam came to stand for the very idea of madness itself.  Combining lucid interviews from leading historians with captivating drama, we enter into the shocking 750-year history of one of the world’s most notorious institutions, focusing on Bedlam’s role in holding up a mirror to ‘sane’ society to pose the question: who were the mad ones - those inside the asylum or those outside..?

The film explains Bedlam’s historical context both as a place and as an abstract concept. It reveals how, by the end of the 18th Century, after 100 years of rowdy public visits that led to constant depictions in the works of Shakespeare, Dekker, Ward and Hogarth, the idea of ‘Bedlam’ was firmly entrenched in the public mind.

Bedlam focuses on landmark events and colourful characters during the most scandalous period of the asylum’s history, including the 1815 Parliamentary Enquiry into Madhouses. Drawing from verbatim accounts from the enquiry, diaries artwork and poetry inspired by visits to Bedlam, this film uses a treasure trove of ‘raw history’ to deliver compelling dramatic reconstructions.

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