ITV documentary: Broadmoor

ITV is showing part one of its documentary about Broadmoor tonight at 9pm. The makers were given more access than anyone has had before, so it should be an interesting programme to watch if you want to find out more about what the hospital does and how it does it. I think it probably won’t cover too much of the history of the place though.

From the Radio Times page about the programme:

“For the first time, the world’s best-known high-security hospital lets in the cameras. Documentaries about prisons, hospitals and mental health facilities have proved popular in recent years and in a sense Broadmoor offers veteran film-maker Olivia Lichtenstein a combination of all three.

It’s unlikely to make for comfortable viewing, though: this is a facility (technically a hospital, not a prison) that houses and treats the most severely psychologically disordered patients, including violent offenders such as Peter Sutcliffe. And having the patients’ faces blurred (on the insistence of the hospital) won’t make it any easier to watch. Even so, it should be grimly fascinating television.


1/2. Part one of two. Having been built as a Victorian asylum for the criminally insane, Broadmoor in Berkshire is now a high-security psychiatric hospital and home to some of the nation’s most violent men – many of whom are considered too dangerous to be accommodated elsewhere. This documentary meets new patients at the institution, others who are responding well to treatment, and some whose lack of co-operation keeps them from moving on.”

The ITV page includes a video clip of the director, Olivia Lichtenstein.



Published in: on 05/11/2014 at 10:51  Leave a Comment  
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The Sketch 23 Oct 1901

The Sketch

An article from the 23 October 1901 issue of The Sketch, an illustrated weekly newspaper/magazine. The full text reads:

“During His Majesty’s Pleasure”

Life At Broadmoor Asylum

An extensive red-brick building, fashioned somewhat like a squat letter “H”, standing on a lofty eminence, amidst beautiful scenic surroundings, and wearing a generally bright and attractive appearance. That is the Asylum, at Crowthorne, in Berkshire, which received as patients the insane among criminals.

The only feature about it which bears any resemblance to a prison are the large, nail-studded entrance-gates. The grounds in the rear are arranged in terraces, leading down by stages to the cricket-field, a wide stretch on bright-green turf, level as a billiard-table, and flanked by the high outer wall. Viewed from the rear, the Asylum might pass well for the princely country abode of a distinguished nobleman. Standing immediately outside the building on the top terrace, one obtains a perfectly free and uninterrupted view of the surrounding country, the outer wall being hidden below the terraces. The building is designed to accommodate 486 male patients and 185 females. Upon the occasion of my visit, they had one male beyond their number, but twelve short of their full complement of females. Another wing is being added, which is to accommodate an additional eighty patients and will be ready next year.


Published in: on 22/04/2014 at 09:31  Leave a Comment  

BBC News Magazine – Broadmoor Hospital: Inside a Victorian ‘lunatic asylum’

BBC News Magazine – Broadmoor Hospital: Inside a Victorian ‘lunatic asylum’

The BBC news website has posted a slideshow about the history, and future, of Broadmoor Hospital. It’s now 150 years since the Hospital (or Asylum as it was originally) opened to both male and female patients.

Published in: on 28/02/2014 at 11:55  Leave a Comment  
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