Hitchin comedian makes ‘cathartic’ sitcom about sexual abuse

Home Entertainment Hitchin comedian makes ‘cathartic’ sitcom about sexual abuse
Hitchin comedian makes ‘cathartic’ sitcom about sexual abuse

Rachael McMenemy & Andy Collins,BBC News, Hertfordshire

Channel 4 Mark O'Sullivan sitting on a bench. He is wearing a black jacket over a white t-shirt.Channel 4

Mark O’Sullivan says the process of making the shows has been “life changing”

A comedian who wrote a sitcom about his experiences of sexual abuse said the process was “cathartic” and “life changing”.

Mark O’Sullivan, from Hitchin, wrote My Sexual Abuse: The Sitcom and said the process was better than any therapy he had ever had.

A documentary on Channel 4, with the same title, chronicles O’Sullivan’s work writing, directing and filming the 80s-style family sitcom.

“If anyone watching it feels a bit more able to talk or less alone in what’s happened to them, then the programme will have totally done its job,” O’Sullivan said.

Growing up in Hertfordshire, O’Sullivan said he had a normal upbringing until a person began sexually abusing him when he was aged 11 or 12.

What followed was several years of abuse.

When O’Sullivan was in his early 30s he felt compelled to go to police, after he discovered he had not been the person’s only victim.

He said following an investigation and court case the person was sent to prison.

  • If you have been affected by sexual abuse or violence, details of help and support are available at BBC Action Line.

The documentary delves into why O’Sullivan chose to write a comedic sitcom about his trauma.

He said: “It’s quite an unusual approach, I know the title is quite provocative and shocking but it’s also the most accurate title for the programme we made.”


O’Sullivan, 47, said it was not a case of laughing at the abuse or victims but instead finding humour in the darkness and the “ludicrous” things he encountered as a victim.

He said: “I’ve always used humour as a sanity valve as a thing to hep me get through the darker things that have happened to me. I’ve always tried to laugh where I can.

“I joke I’ve done lots of therapy the last 35 years, I’ve done it all… the thing that’s helped me the most is making this.

“I thought it might be cathartic and healing but had no idea how healing it was going to be.”

“There’s something about the act of making something which has been life changing for me,” he added.

O’Sullivan said he hopes that the documentary and sitcom will “normalise talking about [sexual abuse].”

“Because silence is fuel for this happening. It stops people speaking out about it. It stops people saying that’s wrong. So the more able to talk about it, the better,” he said.

The sitcom and documentary are available on Channel4.com

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.