- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
A controversial special on Britain’s Channel 4 that monitors the effects of the drug ecstasy on 25 test subjects has earned big ratings.
That’s a big number: more than three times the 600,000 who tuned in to the evening’s second most-watched program — an interview with author JK Rowling on BBC2’s Culture Show. (For comparison, smash hit Downton Abbey‘s third season premiered to 9 million viewers earlier this month.)
The show gave the 25 participants one of two pills — one was a placebo, the other contained 85 milligrams of ecstasy. They were then subjected to a 90-minute magnetic resonance imaging scan of their brains.
Among the five test subjects who appeared live in studio were British actor Keith Allen, who appeared in Danny Boyle‘s classic heroin-culture film Trainspotting, and Lionel Shriver, the female author of We Need to Talk About Kevin. Both had undergone their ecstasy trials while under observation in a hospital.
Only one person was shown live in studio while on the drug — a psychiatric nurse named Tom, who “sat rather calmly,” the Telegraph notes, as host Jon Snow interviewed him about its effects.
The program has been criticized for being too sympathetic towards ecstasy and drug use in general. The man overseeing the trials, David Nutt, was previously forced to step down as Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs after making comments that suggested alcohol, tobacco and even horseback riding was more lethal than drugs like ecstasy, marijuana and LSD.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day