Why bother giving ‘mad’ King George a modern label? CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV

Why bother giving ‘mad’ King George a modern well being label 200 years after his loss of life? CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV

Madness of King George: Lucy Worsley Investigates


Elephant Hospital


King George III’s physicians tried to deal with his insane delusions and hallucinations in 1788 by attaching leeches to his temples, ‘to suck madness out of his brain’.

Lucy Worsley, investigating the Madness Of King George (BBC2) within the last of her historic detective sequence, produced a plastic pot of leeches.

They had been labelled ‘Little Wrigglers: not for medical use’ and she or he’d purchased them on-line. ‘They’re similar to tiny little monsters,’ she enthused, popping the highest off.

She didn’t strive attaching them to her pores and skin, although. That’s taking tutorial diligence too far.

It’s tempting to snigger on the crudity of 18th-century medication, however our ancestors weren’t intentionally barbaric. They had been merely making use of the most effective data that they had.

Lucy Worsley investigates the well-known Madness of King George in her latest episode

Lucy Worsley investigates the well-known Madness of King George in her newest episode

Future generations may sneer at us, too, for our obsession with labelling folks in historical past with shades of psychological sickness. A big section of this programme tried to classify the King’s situation.

Genetic match of the night time

DI Salisbury (Robert Glenister) recognized the crossbow killer in Sherwood (BBC1) by swabbing for DNA contained in the mouth of a canine that bit him. That appears dodgy. They’ll find yourself charging a can of Winalot as an adjunct to the crime. 

For many years it was believed to be brought on by porphyria, a grievance that impacts the liver. Lucy dismissed that as pretend science peddled by arch-royalists who wished to absolve the monarch of the stigma of psychological sickness. Instead, she turned to Sir Simon Wessely at King’s College London, who entered all George’s recognized signs into a computer to provide you with a prognosis of bipolar dysfunction. Sir Simon did admit that one frequent symptom of bipolar is ‘grandiosity’ — which can be a widespread side-effect of being a king.

George III’s delusions included cradling cushions and pillows within the perception they had been his useless youngsters come again to life. And at Kew Palace, he tried to climb the 50 ft pagoda. As one in all his equerries remarked in a diary: ‘His Majesty was entirely deranged.’

Since we are able to’t prescribe Twenty first-century drugs for a man who died 200 years in the past, there appears little level in saddling the poor fellow with a modern prognosis.

Accounts unearthed in historical paperwork of remedies for insanity had been disturbing. The King was plunged into ice baths and knotted into a cotton straitjacket — supposedly a gentler remedy than the manacles inflicted on inmates at Bethlem Royal Hospital for the insane (or ‘Bedlam’) in London’s Bishopsgate. Lucy additionally traced the destiny of seamstress Margaret Nicholson, who tried to stab the King. ‘The poor creature is mad, do not hurt her,’ George cried out.

His clemency saved her from the gallows however condemned her to one thing arguably worse: 42 years in Bedlam. Hospital information described how, lengthy after her psychological stability returned, she was saved beneath lock and key — aged, resigned and deaf. ‘Do you know what,’ Lucy stated, sounding choked, ‘I’ve received a little tear in my eye.’

It was laborious to remain dry-eyed as one other previous girl, octogenarian Boon Nim, went for her each day bathe at a sanctuary in Thailand on Elephant Hospital (C5).

It was hard to stay dry-eyed during Elephant Hospital, set in a Thai sanctuary (file image)

It was laborious to remain dry-eyed throughout Elephant Hospital, set in a Thai sanctuary (file picture)

Narrator Jill Halfpenny instructed us that vets know Boon Nim is over 80 due to the pink pigments on her trunk and the rolls of fats on the high of her ears.

And she has to put on a plastic bucket on one foot within the bathe, to guard a wound from an infection. You must really feel for the expensive previous lady. It’s hardly dignified.

Other elephants, together with a cheeky child, splashed round within the river at bathtub time. That was a charming scene, and it’s a disgrace that Elephant Hospital doesn’t display extra of this. Instead, the present has an countless obsession with dung. Who over the age of 4 needs to see that?


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