Channel 4's Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners

Channel 4 has had fluctuating abilities when it comes to mental health. There was the Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder that kick-started a bit of a television trend, but depicted Richard Wallace in quite a horrible light. Then, last summer there was the very successful 4 Goes Mad, which looked at OCD and depression - but Channel 4's Program Naming Manager slipped up. The content of the week's worth of programs really made up for that, though.

So why on earth has Channel 4 called their new programme Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners? Apparently the lesson wasn't learnt after The Undatebales. The program further feeds the completely and utterly ignorant view that people can be 'OCD' about cleaning if they, well - like things quite clean.

OCD is a debilitating, destroying and devastating illness that can, in some cases, lead to suicide. Do you know where I learnt the last fact? Channel 4. It's decided to trivialise OCD in the hope of getting a few more views - mentioning OCD in the title of the program, but without any focus on mental health. Where in the Channel 4 headquarters were the people who said 'a week dedicated to raising awareness of mental health sounds like a great idea' when this title was being brainstormed?

The first episode of the program starts by cheerily introducing Linda Dykes, who laughs about being called OCD. The narration then gives some statistics of how many of us are obsessed with cleaning. Reducing OCD to being 'obsessed with cleaning' will just lead to more misinterpretation of the illness and further encourage people to think that simply liking things clean is OCD. I've lost count of the amount of times I've had to grit my teeth when someone has said they're "a little bit OCD" about something or another.

The whole thing is pretty much summed up when Richard, a volunteer in the program, says his ex-wife's family said he was 'proper OCD'. My god, Channel 4. What are you thinking?

A reaction by an OCD sufferer can be found here, elaborating on the subject much better than I have!

The disorder covers a spectrum of severity, but to say that someone with OCD “loves cleaning” is like saying that someone with anorexia “loves slimming” or that someone with depression “loves a good cry”. Christopher Howse, The Telegraph


  1. I think Channel 4 need a good kick up the arse - they're so focused on putting on controversial shows that they don't give a damn about the wellbeing of viewers and those featured on the programmes.

    1. I completely agree - I've no idea how they got away with it!