Media Report



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Bedlam 

Media Report

@maudsleynhs

#bedlam


South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

2

Introduction



Our Channel 4 documentary series was first announced in August 2013 but it wasn’t until the title of the series 

went public at the start of October 2013 that it attracted more attention and really started to generate interest 

across media and social media sites. 

The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust communications team tried to engage with patients, 

the general public and potential viewers as much as possible. Our primary aim in taking part in the series was to 

improve understanding of mental illness, to raise awareness and help to destigmatise.

Initially we had a great deal of positive feedback but there was also concern and criticism about the fact that the 

series was called ‘Bedlam’. 

Bedlam was the product of hard work and negotiations between SLaM, The Garden Productions and 

Channel 4. An important factor was that Channel 4 wanted a title that would create interest and attract viewers. 

So did we. We took part because we wanted to try and help shift public attitudes about mental health. 

You can’t do that if nobody is watching.

It was a tough decision to make as no title is going to be universally acceptable, especially in the field of 

mental health.

With Bedlam we go ‘back to our roots’. The logic of the name being that South London and Maudsley can 

trace its origins back to the founding of ‘Bedlam’ in 1247. For the television producers and commissioners, it’s 

a word that resonates with people who aren’t familiar with the world of mental health. And for those who are 

familiar they will know the significance of the word and how treatment of mentally ill people has evolved since the 

‘Bedlam’ years.  

It was called provocative, inflammatory and plenty of other names. Of course the history of treating mental illness 

is not always positive. Bedlam is a name which is often associated with the incarceration of the mentally ill within 

the walls of the asylum and charging people money to view the ‘lunatics’. Some felt we would be reinforcing 

stigma by using this title.

For us this was a chance to make the significant contrast between the history of Bedlam and the way 

in which mental health services are provided today. 

It is almost impossible to quantify but it seems attitudes are very gradually shifting – you only need to 

look at the enthusiastic conversations erupting on Twitter throughout the series and the feedback we have 

received so far. All four programmes were, at times, uncomfortable and distressing, but also insightful, 

inspiring and educational. An underlying theme in the conversations developing on Twitter was that people 

no longer felt alone, that treatment and recovery were possible in the right setting. The films showed that your 

tax band or the type of car you drive do not matter when it comes to mental illness - nobody is exempt.

The media response has been encouraging. The deep seated ignorance of mentally ill people in the popular 

press seemed to have been challenged by Bedlam. We hope this continues.  


South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

3

Bedlam Social Media Report



The tracking of Bedlam’s influence on SLaM’s social media activity began on 24 October, 

a week before the first episode of the documentary series was due to air. We looked at the response that 

our social media pages (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) were receiving as well as the volume of traffic 

on the SLaM website. 

Twitter

During the month Bedlam was on Channel 4: 



n

  the estimated number of accounts reached using #bedlam over the period of the series was 

69,147,341

.  


n

  the Twitter handle for MaudsleyNHS was mentioned by other users 

1,820

 times. 


n

  the potential reach of MaudsleyNHS retweets and tweets combined was more than 

8 million

.

n



  Sustained conversation on Twitter throughout the series resulted in the MaudsleyNHS account sending out 

over 


1500 tweets

 and receiving more than 

600 replies

The response we received on Twitter throughout the series was overwhelmingly positive. During the month 

Bedlam was on, SLaM’s Twitter account gained 

1,387


 followers (fig.1). The most significant leap in followers 

came after the airing of the second episode of Bedlam. Figures then continually rose as more people were 

talking about the programme. The sharp rise in followers was due to the increased commitment to tweeting 

and promoting the series on Twitter.

Each week the communications team tweeted live during the episodes and tried to respond directly to any 

questions or concerns that arose during the broadcast. Steps were also taken to assure that the series ‘hashtag’ 

#bedlam was always mentioned in any tweet that was sent from the MaudsleyNHS account. Regular tweets 

were sent out every day with updates and information on the programme including links to the SLaM website. 

On the days that episodes were airing, high profile Twitter users were directly targeted in a bid for them to 

‘retweet’ and raise the profile of #Bedlam. Research carried out after the airing of the first episode suggested 

that tweeting mental health charities, other mental health trusts and high profile ‘celebrities’ and politicians such 

as Stephen Fry and Tessa Jowell also raised the profile of #bedlam. During each episode #bedlam ‘trended’ 

which implies that a significantly large number of people were talking about it on Twitter - more than any other 

subject at a certain time. During the first episode #bedlam was the top subject, trending on Twitter for at least 

40 minutes. By the third episode #Bedlam was trending for more than two hours.  

Tracking the ‘potential reach’ - that is the projected number of users who would have seen #bedlam on their 

Twitter feeds - gave an idea of roughly how many people were engaging with the conversation. Numbers were 

much higher at the beginning of the series, with a projected number of over 

21 million

 accounts during the first 

episode, talking or reading about Bedlam tweets. The reason for this large number may be explained by the high 

profile Twitter users tweeting about the programme (Louis Theroux, Alistair Campbell, Anxiety UK charity, Rethink 

Mental illness charity). For example, Stephen Fry, who has more than six million followers, tweeted about the 

programme (as seen in figure 2) and the tweet itself which mentioned #bedlam was eventually retweeted more 

than 150 times by his followers. Projected reach numbers decreased as the series continued, however sustained 

numbers of #bedlam mentions within tweets and direct mentions of the @MaudsleyNHS handle suggests 

that organic conversations about the series and mental health in general continued at a very high and 

consistent level.  



South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

4

The viewing figures for each episode reflect the volume of activity on Twitter.  



Episode one ‘Anxiety’

 had a total viewing figure averaging 

1.6 million

 (and a consolidated figure of 

2,093,500 million

) which is reflected in the number of people talking about Bedlam online. Numbers were 

steady during the day, but reached their peak at 9pm when the episode aired (fig.3). Episode 1 was the best 

performing episode on Twitter:

n

 

8,786



 tweets contained #bedlam.

n

 



21,407,424

 million accounts reached with #bedlam.

n

 

432



 mentions of the @MaudsleyNHS handle, reaching 

1,264,963

 million accounts.

Episode two ‘Crisis’

 had an averaging viewing figure of 

1.7 million

 (and a consolidated figure of 

2,015,000 million

). Again numbers were steady throughout the day, peaking once at 2pm after tweeting 

charities and other NHS mental health trusts and reaching their peak at 9pm during the broadcast of 

episode two. 

n

 



7,602

 tweets contained #bedlam

n

  

14,777,011 million



 accounts were reached with #bedlam (this may have been due to Rio Ferdinand who 

has nearly 5 million followers on twitter, tweeting about the show fig.4)

n

 

322



 mentions of the @MaudsleyNHS handle that reached 

476,675


 accounts.

Episode three ‘Psychosis’

 had an average viewing figure of 

1.2 million

 (and a consolidated figure of just over 

1.5 million

). Twitter activity was a little different on this episode. The day the hashtag #bedlam was building its 

online presence throughout the day, but still peaked once again at 9pm during the broadcast. This may explain 

why #bedlam trended on Twitter for a far more significant period of time (approximately two hours) in comparison 

to the previous two episodes. Research suggests the nature of the tweets being sent out by @MaudsleyNHS 

stimulated more conversation (introducing participants, linking helpful websites and recent articles all performed 

very well). 

n

 

5,277



 tweets contained #bedlam

n

 



7,892,885 million

 accounts were reached with #bedlam

n

 

178



 mentions of the @MaudsleyNHS handle that reached 

206,339


 accounts

Episode 4 ‘Breakdown’

 had an averaging viewing figure of 

1.1 million

 (and a consolidated figure of 

1.5 million

). Twitter activity continued to trend during the day the episode aired, reaching high figures by 

10am (fig.5). Again the nature of the tweets that were being sent out by the MaudsleyNHS stimulated more 

conversation and pointed people towards further links on the SLaM webpage.

n

 



3,906

 tweets contained #bedlam

n

 

5,882,209 million



 accounts were reached with #bedlam

n

 



1061

 tweets contained the word bedlam without using the hashtag

n

  Retweets were significantly higher at 



395

 (compared to the previous week at 187)

n

  @MaudsleyNHS mentions were also higher than previous weeks, hitting 



395

 tweets


South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

5

Some examples of the conversations that were taking place on Twitter throughout the series are shown below. 



(Figures 7 and 8)

Facebook


Again, feedback on Facebook has been positive. ‘Fans’ of the South London and Maudsley’s NHS Foundation 

Trust page increased 36.6% from 

765

 to 


1045 

throughout the Bedlam series. 

n

  The page had an organic reach overall for the posts it made about Bedlam of 



13,405

n

  These posts also gained a total of 



358 ‘likes’

The posts that gained the most attention were posts made following the airing of the first show, bringing 

in a total reach of 

2087 Facebook accounts

. The most successful post made during the series was 

the announcement of the viewing figures for the first episode, which had a reach of 

1090 and gained 

45 likes


. (fig.6)

SLaM website - Bedlam on C4 Page 

As a consequence of our online referrals to the SLaM website, traffic on the site increased. 

Throughout the course of the series on Channel 4, the designated Bedlam page on SLaM’s website 

received 

19,439 unique views

n

   The section of the Bedlam on C4 website that received the most traffic was ‘Behind the scenes’ with a total 



of 

2195 unique 

views

n

   The highest unique views came on 



7 November

 (broadcast date for episode two) with the media landing 

page receiving 

4622 unique

 

views


 and the Bedlam on C4 landing page receiving 

3661 unique

 views. 

n

  The visits that each page received were:



  -  Behind the scenes: 

2195


 unique views

  -  Crisis: 

2187

 unique views



  -  Psychosis: 

1825


 unique views

  -  Anxiety: 

1323

 unique views



  -  Breakdown: 

1210


 unique views

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

6

YouTube


There were no definitive spikes of views on the days the episodes were on however there is a marked increase 

of views during the month that the series was on. 

n

   From 24 September to 23 October: 



4081 individual views

n

   From 24 October to 23 November: 



4596 individual views

n

  



Within the month there was a 13% increase in views on the YouTube channel.

 

Appendix



Figure 1:

  An increase in Twitter followers during the series



South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

7

Figure 2:



  Stephen Fry tweet in support of Bedlam

Figure 3:

  Figures showing the how far the tweets about #Bedlam reached during episode one


South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

8

Figure 4:



  Rio Ferdinand tweet on 7 November – Episode Two of Bedlam

Figure 5:

  Figures from Episode Four of Bedlam (Breakdown)


South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

9

Figure 6:



  Most successful Facebook post during the series

Table 1:


South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

10

Table 1 Continued:



South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

11

Figure 7:



  Conversations taking place on Twitter during Episode 1 (Anxiety)

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

12


South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

13

Figure 8:



  Conversations taking place on Twitter during Episode 2 (Crisis)

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

14

Figure 9:



  Live Twitter feedback and conversation during Episode 3 (Psychosis)

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

15

Figure 10:



  Live Twitter feedback during Episode 4 (Breakdown)

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

16

Channel 4 Bedlam media report



During October and November 2013 Bedlam was written about in the press (both online and in print) and 

mentioned on television 

155 times

. Articles were mainly positive with the series consistently being chosen 

as the ‘critics’ choice’ within the television review sections. The articles had an average daily circulation of 

over 


322,000 in October and 379,000 in November

. The average space that was allotted to Bedlam 

was 

280cm²


 (excluding those that appeared online). In depth articles were overall positive, the following 

is a selection of the type of articles that appeared:

As the series continued articles with more of an in-depth analysis continued to appear. 

Here are a few examples:

The Evening Standard printed a piece about James, who features in the first episode, as well as the 

Radio Times who conducted an interview between Dr Martin Baggaley and Alaistair Campbell, both pieces were 

printed prior to the first episode. After the airing of the first episode response from the press was overwhelmingly 

supportive and positive, as noted in an article featured in the Daily Mail: 

“this hour long documentary about 

people with extreme anxiety was an illuminating and brace investigation of what obsessive compulsive 

disorder (OCD) really is”



South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

17

Reviews of the series continued to be positive, Grace Dent in the Independent Weekend Magazine noted 



that although the series may not have achieved what it had set out to do, the article was titled: ‘For all we learn 

about mental illness on TV, we may as well be gawkers at a 17th century freak show’ it was still a 

well-made and delicate piece of television 

“Bedlam – which has full access to The Maudsley Hospital in 

South London, which traces its roots in treating the mentally ill back to 1247 – is sensitively produced 

and totally compelling.”

Bedlam continued to appear in the ‘top picks’ and TV choice sections of magazines and newspapers 

throughout the series. The following are a selection of the reviews and listings that the programme was receiving:



South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

18

The only critical piece of press came from Private Eye, who believed the series did nothing to distinguish 



between 

“the notorious “freak shows” at the original hospital – when day trippers and tourists came 

to view the disturbed an unhappy – and their modern equivalent in fly-on-the-wall shows that capture 

people in extremis”.

As the series continued more articles about how mental health is portrayed within society were published, in 

particular an article written by the director David Nath published by The Independent highlighted the media’s 

influences on mental health patients: 

“Lloyd’s deep-rooted anxiety about his diagnosis was a product of 

years of sensation and inaccurate media reporting about the risks posed by paranoid schizophrenic 

patients living in the community”.

Reviews and television listings continued to highlight the success of the series.

Overall Bedlam coverage in the press, both online and in print was positive and encouraging, including extensive 

coverage in the Radio Times, Evening Standard and The Guardian.

Radio Times: 

“It’s gripping, dramatic, often troubling television, but also uplifting in the way it shows 

people can and do get better”.



South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

19

Evening Standard: 



“James told the Standard he hoped the programme would help to destigmatise 

mental health and create a wider understanding of OCD.”

The Guardian: 

“It’s brave of Bethlem’s staff and patients to open its doors to the cameras…For the 

viewer it’s fascinating, because it’s a rare peek inside a fascinating institution few of us get to see.”


South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

20

Bedlam - Blogs



More than 50 blogs were written during the series, some from regular contributors who posted several blogs. 

Here is an example of few. Most were also posted on twitter or facebook.

Spiked Online

 


South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

21

Bedlam - Blogs



It’s on the telly, stupid

 


South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

22

Bedlam - Blogs



NOT disordered

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

23

Bedlam - Blogs



Clinical Psychology and People

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

24

Bedlam - Blogs



Time to Change

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

25

Bedlam - Blogs



Time to Change

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

26

Bedlam - Blogs



Time to Change

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

27

Bedlam - Blogs



Time to Change

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

28

Bedlam - Blogs



Exboozehound’s blog

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

29

South London and Maudsley - social media statistics



Twitter followers

2,598


 

January 2013

5,070

   


6,700

 

January 2014



Facebook (likes)

439


 

January 2013

826

 

1,057



 

January 2014

31 October 2013 

(Night of first Bedlam transmission)

31 October 2013 

(Night of first Bedlam transmission)

YouTube

70,741 


January 2013

90,047


 

108,960


 

January 2014

31 October 2013 

(Night of first Bedlam transmission)



South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

    


Bedlam Media Report 

February 2014

30

Channel 4 research taken from approximately 400 viewers showed 



how opinions have changed since Bedlam:

The results showed that:

Attitudes towards mental health

89% of viewers said that the series brought an important taboo issue to a mainstream audience.

88% of viewers said that the series made them realise that anyone could suffer from mental illness 

at some point in their lives.

87% of viewers said that the series made them realise that people should be just as sympathetic to 

mental health issues as any physical health ailment.

80% of viewers said that the series made them think about how we can change attitudes towards people 

suffering from a mental health condition.

77% of viewers said that the series helped to dispel myths about mental health.

73% of viewers said that, having watched the programme, they think that the mental health services should 

be able to intervene in people’s lives – rising to 79% for those who have either suffered from a mental health 

condition or have a friend or family member who has.

Portrayal of mental health patients and staff

86% of viewers said that the series highlighted the hard work of NHS staff in treating mental health.

80% of viewers said that the series provided a view of mental health that they hadn’t seen before 

on television.

79% of viewers said that the series portrayed mental health sufferers in a more positive light than the media 

tends to.

Viewer appreciation

91% of viewers rated the series as either excellent or good, rising to 95% amongst 16-34 year olds and 99% 

for those who watched all four episodes.


Research by Julia Milavic Davies

Communications and Media Department 

 

 

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust



Trust Headquarters

Maudsley Hospital

Denmark Hill

London


SE5 8AZ

T.

 



020 3228 2830

F.

 020 3228 2021



E.

 communications@slam.nhs.uk

W.

 www.slam.nhs.uk



Switchboard:

 

020 3228 6000




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