A BBC Panorama programme on ‘hidden alcoholics’ in the UK presented by former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, has helped dispel the age-old stereotypical view of an alcoholic. Aired on BBC1 on 20 February 2012, the programme’s aim was to highlight the large number of hidden alcoholics in the UK, particularly among ‘functioning alcoholics in the middle classes’.
The show concentrated on how alcohol has become a daily ritual with many people who regularly exceeding the national guidelines for consumption. Although the programme hopefully may have helped to overcome the sweeping stereotype of who or what an alcoholic is, the show lacked any real insight in to the UK’s dreadful alcohol problem, even to the point where it failed to identify what alcoholism is.
Campbell, who was a self-proclaimed hidden alcoholic but is now a very publicly recovering one, touched on pricing issues and the downfall of public houses.
Ultimately and sadly – whether intentional or not – the programme gave across the message that we should now do something to curb the UK’s alcohol problem now that it is no longer just a working class problem. You can watch the programme Britain’s Hidden Alcoholics on the BBC iPlayer website.