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McLibel is the inside story of the postman and the gardener who took on the McDonald's Corporation. Filmed over three years, the documentary follows Helen Steel and Dave Morris, anonymous campaigners who become unlikely global heroes. Struggling to defend themselves in the longest trial in English history, they face infiltration by spies, secret meetings with corporate executives, 40,000 pages of background reading, and a visit from Ronald McDonald. Using interviews with witnesses and reconstructions of key moments in court, the film examines the main issues in the trial: nutrition, animals, advertising, employment, the environment, and freedom of speech. Written by
I watched this film on BBC4 this week. It ran for 83 minutes (approx) and was dated 2005. It has been updated to include the victory over the UK Government in the European Court of Human rights, which further added to the strain on the two defendants.
Since this judgement has changed the status of the notorious UK libel laws, the film will be of wider interest than to just those interested in the McDonalds aspect (and will open the way for less timidity in comment in the UK in the future). My wife was reluctant to watch the program but became enthralled by it as a court drama in the Law & Order mode. It showed a major victory of the little man over Big Government and rapacious multinationals that would do Frank Capra or Michael Moore proud.
It was a riveting experience.
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