Mental: A History of the Madhouse, BBC Four
• Based in a mental asylum in the 50s.
• A man gets a new job in the asylum as a
psychiatrist, and works with a disturbed
• Boy tells psychiatrist of his life in the
asylum, and that he is unaware of the
identity of his parents.
• The boy’s behaviour gets worse, tensions
arise between the psychiatrist and the head
of the hospital because he’s extracting
information about the boy that the head
does not want him to know.
• The psychiatrists continues to research into the history of the boy, and brings back the
biological mother to the asylum. The mother is now a nun, and reveals that she used to work
as a nurse in the asylum and had to give up her son because her father (the head of the
asylum) forced her into a nunnery.
• Instead of being content that he has found his mother, he
becomes more angry.
• The boy confronts the head of the asylum violently about
why he has been contained his whole life, however the head
is cruel and unsympathetic, replying that the father of the
boy has been in the asylum his whole life.
• The story focuses on the boy trying to find his father whilst
being contained in the asylum.
• At the end, the boy murders one of the workers in the
hospital, who he is convinced is his father. His mother has
revealed that she was raped which was how she became
pregnant, causing the boy to lash out. He’s convinced that
it’s his father because him and his mother are the same age.
But it’s the wrong man- his actual father is a much older
• Young boy/teen in asylum – patient in the asylum with
schizophrenia. His intentions are good but he is angry inside,
especially after the shocking news. Stereotype of a neglected
child. Targets the 18 year old audience, as the boy is a similar
• Head of the asylum – in his 50s, creepy looking. Stereotype of
an evil manager/villain. Inspired by Mr Harvey from The Lovely
• Nurse/Nun/Mother – Around 33, was raped at the age of 16.
Stereotypical costumes, typically 50s. Innocent
looking/vulnerable. Target the older audience.
• Male psychiatrist – young male, new job at the asylum.
Potentially targets the younger male audience. Well presented
Pencoed Castle, Newport
Ruins also available for possible scenes
King Henry VIII School
May be possible to arrange rooms as
well as technically angle the shots to
create the illusion of an
Abergavenny Drama Centre
Possible interior location
1. The revelation scene. The head of the asylum reveals to the
boy that his father has been in the asylum his entire life.
Shot/reverse shot technique, close ups, focused on
emotions creating a tense atmosphere and climax.
2. Rape scene – subtly suggest/imply the rape of the
nurse/nun/mother. Without revealing the identity of the
male, various canted and distorted shots would be used to
create this idea.