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Radio Times names "Doctor Who Hears Voices" Documentary of the Week



Well-known member
Dec 11, 2007
Radio Times names "Doctor Who Hears Voices" Documentary of the Week

Doctor Who Hears Voices Monday 21 April Radio Times Review

10:00pm - 11:20pm

Channel 4

Leo Regan's superb drama-doc tells the true story of Ruth, a young doctor who was suspended from her job after admitting to feeling suicidal. Ruth's scenes are reconstructed using an actor (Ruth Wilson, who is amazing), and seamlessly woven into documentary footage. Ruth isn't just depressed, she also hears a voice in her head that tells her to do destructive things (kill herself; kill other people), and she has paranoid delusions. Treating her is clinical psychologist Dr Rufus May, a fascinating figure who believes that medicating people like Ruth makes them "stupid" and can destroy lives.

Instead, he tries to break the hold the voice has on Ruth by talking to it and working out who it represents. Rufus knows what he's talking about: he was diagnosed with schizophrenia at 18. His imitation of what it feels like to have a voice in your head is shocking, as are the scenes where he engages in "radical dialogue" with Ruth's voice. You're willing for his unorthodox approach to work even as it exposes huge issues over how we treat mental illness and addresses that darkest of questions - what it means to be "mad".

Also see Channel Four Programme description here

With figures suggesting as many as one in four people suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives, the film prompts the question, how far can people who hear voices also continue to live a normal life? DigiGuide review here

And a wonderful discussion on the BBC Disability message board OUCH

This is extract:

A conversation with an AB friend. Yesterday, after the trailer on C4.

HIM: Oh wow. That looks amazing.
ME: Yeah, I've heard he's an amazing guy.
HIM: I wouldn't want to be treated by someone who hears voices tho.

[In the trailer, Rufus May is shown with a junior doctor who's a voice hearer. He's refering to her, not to him.]

ME: Um... Surely that depends on whether they are competent to treat you?
HIM: Oh come on.
ME: No really. Many people live happily with hearing voices in the same way I live happily with CP.
HIM: Wilma, that's completely different and you know it,
ME: It's not.
HIM: So you'd be happy if your doctor was a SCHIZOPHRENIC?
ME: Um... Do you even know what Schizophrenic means? Not everyone who hears voices is Schizophrenic, anyway.
HIM: Everyone who hears voices is MENTALLY ILL.
ME: That's a point of debate. Anyway. if they were a qualified doctor who was well enough to treat me, that would be fine with me.
HIM: Wilma, deep down you know that's not true.
ME: It is true.
HIM: You don't mean it. You're just trying to wind me up.
ME: I'm not. You know my friend X is a voice hearer? She hears voices all the time. She lives comfortably with it. She knows intimate details of my life. I trust her implicitly.
HIM: Oh, that's COMPLETELY different.
ME: Why?
HIM: She's a writer. It's OK for writers to be mentally ill.
ME: Ha! I don't think X does consider herself to be ill, you know. She receives no treatment. She lives comfortably with her symptoms. In the same way I don't consider myself to be ill.
HIM: Anyone who hears voices MUST be MENTALLY ILL.
ME: Oh shut up and watch the programme when it's on.

[Continues for about 3 hours until I threaten to beat him about the head with my stick.][/B]
Last edited:


Active member
Founding Member
Apr 21, 2008
Having watched the show I must admit to being slightly umcomfortable about the way Rufus helped Ruth to decieve her employer and therfore patients. I know it was dramatized but she really didn't seem to have a handle on things before she returned to work...anyone else see it...thoughts?

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