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Dramatisation of the true story of Harold Shipman, a GP (general practitioner, ie family doctor) from Hyde, Manchester, who was convicted in 2000 of murdering fifteen of his elderly patients and is suspected of murdering many more of them. Written by
Many in Britain were shocked when the police were exhuming bodies in the Manchester area with suspicion of foul play by a respected family doctor. This was in the late 1990s and this drama from ITV was shown a few years after the events and hence had to tread a fine and sensitive line.
James Bolam plays Dr Frederick Shipman, at first the well respected GP with a small, thriving practice and a respected member of the community.
However even when the police investigate him Bolam gives a hint of the sly humour that Shipman apparently had. As well as being a serial killer this was a doctor not ready to buckle under police pressure. James Hazeldine in one of his final roles plays the dogged policeman who is persuaded by the daughter of one of Doctor's victim's that Shipman might have a darker side.
We get an idea as to how Shipman got caught, it is a part police procedural as they forensically examine his computer. Shipman made a mistake in forging a will of one of his victim's. We never really get an idea as to why he did it or what his motives were. It seems we might never know.
Bolam's performance is key in keeping your interest in this drama and this is a tight film without getting too exploitative.
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