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Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), father of psychoanalysis, was unquestionably one of the great revolutionary thinkers of the 20th century. The impact of his remarkable ideas on all our lives ranks with that of Copernicus and Darwin; yet little is known of Freud the man or his theories. What precisely was he – scientist, philosopher, artist or mystic? What special influences in his own life led him to produce a body of thought so radical that it was in effect a brand new discipline?

Freud was suspicious of biography, considering its authors generally too idealistic in approach: “They obliterate the individual features of their subject’s physiognomy; they smooth over the traces of his life’s struggles with internal and external resistances, and they tolerate in him no vestige of human weakness or imperfection. They thus present us with what is in fact a cold, strange, ideal figure instead of a human being to whom we might feel distantly related.”

This major new drama serial, written by Carey Harrison, presents the life, work and ideas of Sigmund Freud in an authoritative and uniquely candid portrait that strives to avoid the kind of idealization which the subject himself abhorred. It reveals, among other things, an important aspect of Freud’s life which successive biographers have discreetly skirted around: namely, his relationship with his wife’s sister, Minna Bernays. As with the other passionate friendships in his life – Breuer, von Fleidchl-Marxow, Fleiss, Jung - Freud’s association with Minna is a bitter-sweet episode that affected him deeply and which he struggled to understand.

Daily, for over 50 years, in an abiding quest for clues to his own behaviour, Freud reserved a quiet hour for self-analysis, a practice he continued until the end. The drama invites us to join the old man in Maresfield Gardens, London, as he reflects on the significant moments of his life for the last time.

David Suchet heads a large and distinguished cast as Freud. With Helen Bourne as Martha, Suzanne Bertish (Minna), Anton Lesser (Fliess), Michael Kitchen (Fleischl), David Swift (Breuer), Michael Pennington (Jung) and Dinsdale Landen (Charcot).

‘Freud’ is a BBC Television production made in association with RCTV. Directed by Moira Armstrong and produced by John Purdie, it includes location filming in Austria and Italy.

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