Last night's viewing - Ruby Wax's Mad Confessions, Channel 4; Absolutely Fabulous, BBC1

 

To get Ruby Wax's Mad Confessions under way, the programme's presenter sent out a tweet: "Are you successful in your business and suffering from mental illness? Would you talk about it on television?"

Received opinion might have it that answering "yes" to the second question would be automatically answering "yes" to the first one too. You'd have to be mad, wouldn't you, to choose to reveal this deeply personal fact through the medium of Wax, a reliably entertaining on-screen presence but never, in the past, a byword for sensitivity or tact. But Wax has changed a lot in recent years, coming out about her own experience of clinical depression, and she wants to change received opinion about mental health too. To that end, she was trying to persuade others with the condition to jump, to take the risk of exposing their condition to their close colleagues.

I don't know how many people replied to her invitation but three appeared here: Charlotte, a part-time marketing manager with OCD, Johnnie, a London chef who recently had a very public meltdown on Great British Menu, and Derek, an industrial designer who'd recently had a serious bout of depression. For Johnnie, likeable as he was, the hazard of this enterprise was relatively small. He already traded on a reputation for eccentricity and, besides, he was the boss. When he sat his staff down and came clean about the seriousness of his recent breakdown, I don't suppose he expected any of them to throw their whites on the table and stalk out the door. Charlotte and Derek, on the other hand, were gambling with bigger stakes.

It turned out well, of course, at least within the limited time frame that can be accommodated by such a programme (the thing about prejudice these days is that it knows how to conceal itself). Derek's colleagues found out the exact reason for his four-week sick leave and Charlotte's fellow workers discovered that her apparent standoffishness (she finds it very difficult to shake hands) had its origin in fear of contamination, not mere haughtiness. They also discovered that she had been sexually abused when she was young – the origin of her compulsion to cleanliness. In both cases, everyone was supportive and admiring of the candour involved. But the real test of this experiment in openness will be what happens when there aren't cameras around to record a ceremony of acceptance. I have a feeling that the results will be good.

No getting away from the Olympics on BBC1 last night. Between 8pm and 11.25pm, every single programme paid homage to the invader, with the torch parade passing through Walford and Absolutely Fabulous building the last of its three specials around Eddy and Patsy's wild excitement about the event. It isn't the sport they're interested in, obviously, but the imminent arrival of Michael Douglas, who has rented Eddy's house and who they see as a passport to A-list Olympic parties. "I shall be wearing my buttocks as a head-dress by the time that man arrives," announced Eddy, who plans a major make-over.

Unfortunately, she's not been paying very close attention to the calendar and doesn't realise she's left it too late, a mistake she feels is forgivable: "It's been everywhere for five bloody years! Excuse me if I missed that it's actually bloody started. It's been like tinnitus." Dames Kelly Holmes and Tanni Grey-Thompson and Stella McCartney offered themselves up as straight-women for Patsy and Eddy's faux pas and there was a brief, slightly baffling visit to the Olympic Stadium, during which both women enjoyed an unconvincing reverie of athletic glory. And then, after quite a few raucous laughs, it just stopped, as if nobody had quite worked out where the finish tape was. But I did enjoy Eddy's protest as she was bundled out of the stadium by a security guard: "You're discouraging me from taking up sport!"

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn