The Living Dead (subtitled Three Films About the Power of the Past) was the second major documentary series made by British film-maker Adam Curtis. This series investigated the way that history and memory (both national and individual) have been used by politicians and others. In three parts, it was transmitted on BBC Two in the spring of 1995.
1. On the desperate edge of now
This episode examined how the various national memories of the Second World War were effectively rewritten and manipulated in the Cold War period. For
2. You Have Used Me as a Fish Long Enough
In this episode, the history of brainwashing and mind control was examined. The angle pursued by Curtis was the way in which psychiatry pursued tabula rasa theories of the mind, initially in order to set people free from traumatic memories and then later as a potential instrument of social control. The work of Ewen Cameron was surveyed, with particular reference to Cold War theories of communist brainwashing and the search for hypnoprogammed assassins. The programme's thesis was that the search for control over the past via medical intervention had had to be abandoned and that in modern times control over the past is more effectively exercised by the manipulation of history. Some film from this episode, an interview with one of Cameron's victims, was later re-used by Curtis in his The Century of the Self. The title of this episode comes from a paranoid schizophrenic seen in archive film in the programme, who believed her neighbours were using her as a source of amusement by denying her any privacy, like a pet goldfish
3. The Attic
In this episode, the Imperial aspirations of Margaret Thatcher were examined. The way in which Mrs Thatcher used public relations in an attempt to emulate Winston Churchill in harking back to Britain's "glorious past" to fulfil a political or national end. The title is a reference to the attic flat at the top of