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Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive (2006)

Stephen Fry presents this documentary exploring the disease of manic depression; a little understood but potentially devastating condition affecting an estimated two percent of the ... See full summary »


Ross Wilson
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Stephen Fry ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Andy Behrman Andy Behrman ... Himself
Jo Brand ... Herself
Jo Crocker Jo Crocker ... Herself
Richard Dreyfuss ... Himself
Carrie Fisher ... Herself
Griff Rhys Jones ... Himself
Tony Slattery ... Himself
Rick Stein Rick Stein ... Himself
Robbie Williams ... Himself


Stephen Fry presents this documentary exploring the disease of manic depression; a little understood but potentially devastating condition affecting an estimated two percent of the population. Stephen embarks on an emotional journey to meet fellow sufferers, and discuss the literal highs and lows of being bi-polar. Celebrities such as Carrie Fisher and Richard Dreyfuss invite the comedian into their home to relate their stories. Plus Stephen looks into the lives of ordinary people trying to deal with the illness at work and home, and of course to the people studying manic depression in an effort to better control it. A fascinating, moving and ultimately very entertaining Emmy Award-winning program. Written by Watch_Movies

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Official Sites:

IWC Media [UK]





Release Date:

19 September 2006 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Безумная депрессия со Стивеном Фраем See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

IWC Media See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(2 parts)


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Stephen Fry: And I always have voices in my head saying what a useless bastard I am, but the voice is my own. It is my own voice which is telling me what a worthless lump of shit I am. Are you surprised that I feel like that? I no longer am.
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References Wilde (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

A thoughtful and well presented documentary.
11 May 2015 | by magicalmcgSee all my reviews

In this poignant two part documentary, actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry looks to unravel the stigma surrounding mental health and discover the truth behind bi-polar disorder. The themes and issues tackled in this documentary are sensitively handled throughout, and Fry makes for a compelling and articulate presenter, as the viewer follows his journey to discover the truth about his condition. The filming of the scenes is sensitive and even handed, not only with the people affected in the documentary but also with Fry's personal journey in finding out whether or not he needs to take treatment. Fry's narration is frank and sincere, the information about the illness as well as his own personal experiences are bravely and compassionately told. The documentary balances the medical and personal aspects of the illness as Fry talks to fellow sufferers as well as the doctors attempting to treat and help those affected. The documentary confidently avoids the trope of the 'tears of a clown' (the fascination with mental illness and comedians), and the issues and experiences shown in the documentary are handled with care, without being exaggerated for dramatic effect. What is presented is honest and thoughtful, with the interviews conducted by Fry being some of the best aspects of the show. His interview with fellow comedian and former psychiatric nurse Jo Brand is particularly well presented, it was clear that the views shared in this scene were heart-felt and sincere. This was due to the natural rapport that Fry succeeds in having in all of his interviews. Even when sharing his own issues he remains sincere and thoughtful throughout. The style and presentation of the documentary was successful, and successfully presented the experiences and issues without feeling overdone. The tone was consistent throughout, and the music and cinematography were mostly of a subtle and high standard. The one point at which the music felt overdone was during Fry's on screen depression episode, where the music was overly dramatic and detracted from what would otherwise have been a poignant scene. Overall however, the style and presentation was well executed, and confidently delivered the complex themes without seeming cynical or overly dramaticized. The secret life of a manic depressive presents a thoughtful and intelligent discussion of the issues surrounding bi-polar disorder and the stigma of mental health. Fry makes for a more than capable host, effortlessly conducting interviews and presenting information as well as his own personal issues. This documentary is a must-watch for anyone who has been affected by the issues involved or who has an interest in clinical psychology.

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