Did Sir Winston Churchill suffer from the 'black dog'?


In 1969, psychiatrist Anthony Storr published an essay that established very firmly in the public imagination that Sir Winston Churchill suffered from recurrent attacks of severe depression, which he termed the ‘black dog’. But how much evidence is there to support this diagnosis? In this podcast, Dr Raj Persaud interviews Dr Anthony Daniels about his recent paper which calls into question this supposed diagnosis, and considers the extent to which Churchill’s low moods could be accounted for by circumstance and simple human nature.


Date published: 16 April 2019

Presenter: Dr Raj Persaud

Interviewee: Dr Anthony Daniels

Audio running time: 40 minutes

Credits: 0.5


Learning outcomes


By the end of this podcast, we hope you will have gained an understanding of:


  • the meaning of the term 'black dog' in Churchill's lifetime


  • how Churchill's bouts of low mood affected his career and personal life


  • the accounts of Anthony Storr and Lord Moran relating to Churchill's low mood


  • some of the wider issues surrounding the assessment and diagnostic processes for depression.



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If you like this podcast, you may also be interested in the following:


Podcast Mood instability - the patient experience of the psychiatric assessment process with Dr Kate Saunders


Module Diagnosing bipolar depression by Professor Eleni Palazidou

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