1 9 9 1 (UK)
7 x 60 minute episodes
This glossy seven-part £5 million drama series from Euston Films featured the staff of the (fictional) Maximillian Institute – a psychiatric partnership in London where the six partners had more problems than their (mostly) well-heeled patients.
The casting was faultless with Bill Paterson as senior partner Dr Matt Hennessey (whose son died in a car crash) and Brian Protheroe as the smooth and charming sex therapist Dr Leo Brompton, clearly unnerved by his tenacious – and obviously unbalanced – ex-wife, Alison (Mary Maddox).
The other partners at ‘the Max’ were Dr Beth Myers (Elizabeth Garvie), who ran a group for “women who love too much” and was having an affair with a married man; the motherly Magda (Yvonne Bryceland); Dr Jack Cavendish (Simon Jones), and the ever-worried Dr Win Bargate (Patricia Kerrigan).
Receptionist Lexie was played by the former lead singer of the ska revival band The Selecter, Pauline Black.
Shrinks manipulated the viewer through scenes of tragedy and comedy with smooth alacrity and set everything up so perfectly with various production aids such as music, (heavy rock for an oncoming motor crash or soft and tinkling nursery rhymes for a child care case) so that we knew exactly when to laugh and when to be moved.
The subject matter held a kind of bizarre fascination, and for all the seriousness of the subject, a chink of light in the mantle of gloom and doom which covered our screens at the time.
Particularly amusing were the young couple – poor Colin and ice-skater Jane – who, having lost the initial throes of passion in their relationship, returned to the circumstances of their first meeting, with semi-disastrous results!
Dr Matt Hennessey
Dr Leo Brompton
Dr Beth Myers
Dr Magda Myers
Dr Jack Cavendish
Dr Win Bargate