Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners

Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners is a series of six controversial programmes broadcast by Channel 4 in February/March (series 1) and October/November (series 2) 2013.

New television programmes about OCD

Bedlam is a brand new four-part Channel 4 series based at the Maudsley Hospital.

Next week will see OCD featured on three different television programmes.

OCD Ward is due to be screened on ITV1 on Monday 28th October at 9:00pm and will primarily focus on treatment of OCD at the Springfield University Hospital in South London. OCD Ward also focuses on the impact the condition has on both the patients and their family relationships and the difficulty in treating it.

Bedlam is a brand new four-part Channel 4 series, which boldly challenges the myths and taboos about mental illness through unprecedented access to the patients and staff of the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) - the world’s oldest psychiatric institution. The series will focus on different severe mental health illnesses, with the first episode on Thursday 31st October at 9pm featuring OCD and Anxiety at the Anxiety Disorders Residential Unit (ADRU).

Article posted on: Sun, 20/10/2013 - 6:56pm

OC Cleaners - Response from Professor Salkovskis

Professor Paul Salkovskis

Our concerns about Channel 4's Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners have also been echoed by one of the leading OCD experts, Professor Paul Salkovskis.

Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners
I first heard about what I presume was this programme when I was contacted by the Production Company, Betty TV. They floated the idea with me. I was horrified and I expressed my concerns with detailed reasons (all of which concerns have now been realised in the actual programmes).

Article posted on: Tue, 05/03/2013 - 5:49pm

Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners Complaint

Over the last three weeks we have been publishing feedback about the Channel 4 series, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners. Unfortuntely episode three viewing figures have increased from episode two back up above the two million mark, which means the programme could receive a commission for a new series. This is why we remain incredulous at Channel 4’s continuing dismissive response to our concerns about the programme, at the time of writing.

This continuous dismissive nature of Channel 4 to complaints about the programme can perhaps be best illustrated by the following comment made by the official Channel 4's verified account @ch4insider Twitter account yesterday (Sunday) "An infuriated viewer is an engaged viewer.", which appears to be a response to a Tweet that was critical of the programme.

Despite constant communication for the last three weeks with Channel 4's disability advisor and the programmes commissioning editor, it seems that they are seeing our concerns, but not actually hearing them and because we have not been given assurances that lessons have been learned and a new series won't be commissioned, we feel that we have no choice now but to make a formal complaint. Therefore we have formally submitted a letter of complaint to the Channel 4 Chief Executive, David Abraham. We are now in the process of submitting a formal complaint to Ofcom based on the fact that our concerns have been ignored by Channel 4 pre and post broadcast (possibly in breach of Ofcom Broadcasting Code 2.2 and 2.3). We encourage all those that feel this programme is a trivialisation and misrepresentation about OCD to do likewise by importantly contacting Ofcom by clicking here, and then writing (rather than emailing) to Mr Abraham and requesting a response to your concerns:

Article posted on: Mon, 04/03/2013 - 10:30am

Obsessive Compulsive Cleaner - A video response

Last week we published our feedback about the Channel 4 programme, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners which was broadcast on Wednesday night.

With the second episode broadcast last night, the OCD community still remain frustrated and angry at Channel 4 for broadcasting this programme. In one survey that we have launched, 96.4% (53 out of 55 people) at the time of writing believe this programme is not a good representation of OCD. Following the first episode last week, OCD-UK member Claire Watkinson filmed the following video in response.

Article posted on: Thu, 21/02/2013 - 11:12am

Obsessive Compulsive Cleaner - A psychologists opinion

Dr Stephanie Fitzgerald

Last week we published our feedback about the Channel 4 programme, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners which was broadcast on Wednesday night. Today we hear from one OCD specialist, clinical psychologist, Dr Stephanie Fitzgerald.

Having watched the first episode of Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners I have mixed emotions about the programme but my over-riding feeling is one of sadness. I feel here was a wonderful opportunity to promote awareness and reduce stigma of a debilitating mental health condition, which was not only missed, but instead used to endorse a stereotype that clinicians and sufferers know to be untrue.

Having not been involved in conversations with the production company, it is difficult to comment, but my understanding is that they have stated that there was no intended link to OCD. However, 'obsessions' and 'compulsions' form the diagnostic criteria of OCD, so by calling the programme 'Obsessive Compulsive' cleaners, they are referring directly to the condition, whether this was intentional or not.

Article posted on: Mon, 18/02/2013 - 6:24pm

Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners Update

Last week we published our concerns about the Channel 4 programme, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners which was broadcast on Wednesday night, the first of a six part series. Like, seemingly all of the OCD community that have contacted us since the broadcast about the trivialisation of OCD, we share your frustration and anger. The only message delivered by this programme was to add to the misconceptions, confusion and misunderstanding to the general viewing audience have about what OCD is, and what OCD isn’t.

OCD-UK vice-chair, Catherine Mills shared her feelings "As a sufferer of OCD for over 40 years, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners left me disheartened and frustrated. It came across as Channel 4's attempt to pitch one set of 'freaks' against another with the outcome that the viewer will have gone away with a very muddled message about OCD and lacking insight as to the devastation it brings to the lives of true sufferers. Our fight to demystify and detrivialise OCD could be put back years by this programme."

Watched the programme? Please take a moment to complete the OCD-UK programme survey by clicking here.

Article posted on: Fri, 15/02/2013 - 12:30pm

Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners

OCD-UK today remain extremely disappointed that, despite our lengthy discussions with them, Channel 4 are continuing with their plans to broadcast a series of programmes which falsely gives the impression that people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder somehow gain pleasure from their compulsive cleaning. We feel that this not only trivialises the severity of those that suffer with contamination obsessive fears, but also adds further to the misconception that OCD is primarily about cleaning compulsions. This misrepresentation about what OCD is all about can only lead to increased stigma for those that suffer.

Next week (13th Feb, 9pm), Channel 4 launch the first of a six part series called Obsessive-Compulsive Cleaners, which follows a lady, that the channel 4 programme describe to be obsessed with cleaning so much that she setup an agency to recruit what the programme call ‘Compulsive Cleaners’. The programme description goes on to suggest that people with OCD that are compulsive cleaners have a special set of skills and a gift for cleaning that could change the habits of the nation, and in the programme Linda Dykes, sets out to recruit an army of obsessive compulsive cleaners to help clean Britain's dirty homes and filthy public spaces.

Whilst we are yet to see the programme, despite a request to do so, we are incredibly concerned that the title and emphasis of the programme might add to the wholly inaccurate and false stereotype that OCD is purely about people that clean. In fact, the direct opposite is true, the NICE guidelines for OCD suggest one study showed that only 26.5% of people with OCD actually have cleaning compulsions, and that figure goes down further in other parts of the world. In fact, people with OCD that do have contamination/cleaning issues find it incredibly disabling and actually get no pleasure what-so-ever from their compulsive rituals.

Article posted on: Wed, 06/02/2013 - 8:00pm


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