Freud: Genius of the Modern World

Freud: Genius of the Modern World

Series 1



There’s a bit of Freudian mischief in Bettany Hughes’s robust dissection of the father of psychoanalysis. Watch for how the camera lingers on her hand stroking the banister as she climbs the stairs to Freud’s apartment. Read into that what you will.

Hughes adopts Freud’s own approach by exploring how his childhood experiences led to his revolutionary theories, which she argues changed how we saw ourselves, freeing us to talk openly about our deepest emotions. Not that she agrees fully with all he said. There’s a telling moment where she reads a letter from his lover Martha, who complains, “Why wallow around in this stuff that makes us miserable?”


Bettany Hughes travels to Vienna on the trail of Sigmund Freud, a pioneer in the study of the human mind, whose psychoanalytic methods addressed emotional issues seldom even discussed in the 19th century. Talking to his patients inspired his radical understanding of the unconscious mind as a repository of hidden repressed emotions - and irrational primal desires. Last in the series.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Bettany Hughes
Director Rob Cowling
Executive Producer David Upshal
Producer Rob Cowling