To Get OCD on TV

About a year ago I was approached by the Mind (mental health charity) media team to offer some help with character development. It was a great honour to asked to work with a popular TV drama and one that I couldn’t pass up, so of course I said yes.

Due to the nature of the plot line and the risk of it being revealed to tabloids I had to keep super quite which wasn’t difficult for the most part. Keeping it from my family, who knew I was working on a show and desperately wanted to know more info, was the tricky part. I couldn’t tell them what the show was or what the story line was going to be, although of course they tried to guess and trick me into revealing it. All attempts failed.

On the 16th of Feb 2018 the plot line was revealed on the show, Coronation Street. It is one of Brittan’s longest running dramas with viewers of all generations. The show portrays the lives of people living in a Manchester following the current events of the day. This particular story line was about a young man (Craig, played by Colson Smith) with OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. With mental health awareness on the rise the shows leaders clearly wanted to reflect this and so with the help of charity organisations did just that.

For months I looked over scripts deciding on whether certain manners or behaviours would be right for someone with OCD to ensure that a rounded, not stereotyped, view was taken.

After watching the episode on the 16th I was not only proud to be a part of it but impressed with how the Smith played his part.

In one scene we see how Craig spends a challenging time completing his compulsive checks without getting any satisfaction from it. Over and over he performs the tasks knowing that he is getting late for a date with his girlfriend, yet unable to break out of the pattern. The thoughts in his heads continue to torture him with doubts.

The following scene Craig confesses (with tears streaming down his face) to a child, who stumbles on him mid check, as to what he is doing. The innocent child cannot understand why doing these things would save the lives of anyone, stop them from being angry or prevent harm. All he can see is how emotional it is making his friend.

It is a truly powerful scene to watch, revealing the emotional and physical toil of mental illness on a person.

I was invited to attend a workshop to help the actor get into character for this role but unfortunately was not able to make it. A friend (Rich Taylor) and fellow mental health campaigner, was also invited and he was able to attend. It is clear from the episode that Rich was able to really help get Smith get into the mind of an OCD sufferer.

The story line continues and I am excited to see how it goes. If you do watch Coronation Street tell me what you think. It would be great to hear other people’s thoughts also.

Here is a clip from the show;

And one from the interview in This Morning. Rich Taylor also speaks about OCD in this.

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