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Winston Churchill put in a straitjacket for Channel 4 stunt

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The statue of former British prime minister Winston Churchill has today (July 19) been trussed up in a straitjacket to highlight mental health issues in the UK as part of a Channel 4 season.

Churchill's statue in Parliament Square, London was just one of the landmarks featuring admired Britons targeted in the campaign.

Winston Churchill put in a straightjacket for Channel 4 stunt

© Channel 4

Winston Churchill put in a straightjacket for Channel 4 stunt

© Channel 4



Also wrapped in straitjackets were Florence Nightingale in Waterloo Place, Charles Darwin in Shrewsbury and Samuel Johnson in Lichfield.

Statues of the historical figures were 'restrained' in bespoke straitjackets, with the mental illness they were reputed to have suffered from stamped on the front.

The stunt was carried out to promote Channel 4's new season of programming that aims to challenge the stigma and discrimination around mental heath.

Launching on July 23, the season - called '4 Goes Mad' - features a range of programmes including Ruby Wax's Mad Confessions, Jon Richardson: A Little Bit OCD and World's Maddest Job Interview.

Winston Churchill put in a straightjacket for Channel 4 stunt

© Channel 4



Commissioning editor for the season Lina Prestwood explained: "Despite the fact one in four of us are likely to experience a mental health condition in our lifetime, misunderstanding and stigma persists.

"We wanted to demonstrate how outmoded attitudes towards mental illness can be - by using the archaic image of the straitjacket in conjunction with individuals whose achievements have made them some of the most celebrated Britons of all time - they also happened to have mental health conditions.

"In 2012, it is no longer straitjackets holding people back - it is discrimination that is preventing people from fulfilling their potential."

Churchill was known to have suffered from severe bouts of depression, which he termed his "black dog", while nurse Florence Nightingale is understood to have had a classic case of bipolar disorder.

Charles Darwin, author of On the Origin of Species, was often crippled by anxiety, and poet and writer Samuel Johnson is believed to have suffered from various symptoms of depression throughout his lifetime.

Charity Rethink Mental Illness commissioned a bronze statue of Winston Churchill in a straitjacket in 2006 as a way to show that even 'great men' could be afflicted by mental health issues.

Winston Churchill put in a straightjacket for Channel 4 stunt

© Channel 4



Jane Harris, an associate director of Rethink, said: "We're pleased to see Channel 4 putting mental health on the agenda with this bold stunt.

"Churchill in a straitjacket is a provocative but powerful image which highlights the message that mental illness can affect anyone, no matter how able or successful.

"Our campaign six years ago caused some controversy, but the response we had from the public was overwhelmingly positive. Most importantly, it opened up a national conversation around the taboo subject of mental illness."

Channel 4's straitjacket stunt was captured on film and will be shown as part of Channel 4 Arts strand 'Random Acts' next week.

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