Horizon (1964– )
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Killer in the Village 

Horizon's special investigation in this program is focused on the AIDS epidemic in its early years while the disease was making its first victims in UK. BBC's report the problem and ... See full summary »


Alec Nisbett


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Episode credited cast:
Bobbi Campbell Bobbi Campbell ... Himself
James Curran James Curran ... Himself
Sandy Ford Sandy Ford ... Herself
Alvin Friedman-Kien Alvin Friedman-Kien ... Himself
Michael Gottlieb Michael Gottlieb ... Himself
Linda Laubenstein Linda Laubenstein ... Herself
Paul Vaughan Paul Vaughan ... Himself - Narrator (voice)


Horizon's special investigation in this program is focused on the AIDS epidemic in its early years while the disease was making its first victims in UK. BBC's report the problem and consequences in U.S. following doctors, patients and everything that was gathered back in the first few years of its inception when very little was known about the disease except its progress, devastating effects and the alarming death toll. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

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Plot Keywords:

report | aids | 1980s | gay | health | See All (5) »





Release Date:

25 April 1983 (UK) See more »

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Featured in Sex: A Horizon Guide (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

A good report
6 February 2017 | by Rodrigo_AmaroSee all my reviews

BBC's "Horizon" program in this particular episode, "Killer in the Village", is perhaps the first time the AIDS epidemic topic was brought to UK's audiences, back in its earliest years. It shows that the issue was right at their door with few occurrences so most of what's presented here is what was going in the United States, when the first cases were reported with alarming death tolls in the gay community two years after its known appearance (but we know now that the disease could actually be traced way back to the 1960's and even more, and making no distinction about a person's sexuality or background). It's a great educational program despite the limited information it had back in the time; so, now it's more of a curious desire to see how the news shows treated the issue in a time filled with fear, prejudice and ignorance. A thrilling time machine that reveals everything researches, doctors and patients knew and experienced during the dark years of AIDS when hearing about it from a doctor meant a death sentence.

At a time when the disease didn't have a proper name, at first the harmful and prejudicial GRID (Gay-related immune deficiency), then the 4H rule came along (Homosexuals, Heroin addicts, Hemophiliacs and Haitians) until the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) vote for the terms we know: HIV and AIDS and the difference between both. But this documentary managed to be a good informative service despite not getting to those actual explanations and despite science and researches not being so advanced (but blame it on the government of that era for not providing budgets for the cause even when people were dying by the thousands but also in acknowledging that there was such a killing disease out there).

The report features interviews with doctors who, from day one, were immersed in this new reality and some of them still continue to pursue and find ways for a cure, like Alvin Friedman-Kien, Michael Gottlieb, CDC's director James Curran, Linda Laubenstein (thanks to this documentary that I was able to see the real person that inspired the wheel-chair bound character Larry Kramer used as basis for his play and film "The Normal Heart"). All dedicated individuals who tried their best to understand what AIDS was, to find means for cure or treatment, and never judging or being critical of their patients - despite the controversy revolving around shutting down the gay bathhouses in San Francisco and New York - not a topic in this film but can be found in other films and books. And we also follow some of patients and casualties (mostly identified only by their first name), from all different backgrounds (from artists to a prisoner) and the most courageous of them, Bobbi Campbell, the very first person media and people knew as being the face of AIDS. KS Poster Boy (as he would become to be known) was a nurse and the sixth confirmed person to have the virus in San Francisco and he used this experience to educate people, to show awareness and obtain funds for medical research, a true activism that made a difference.

Informative, respectful, sad and truly revealing, "Killer in the Village" is worthy of view to understand a full context of what was the mind-set of an epidemic that claimed thousands of lives through the years, when little was known about, paranoia taking over people who are affected or weren't but feared the same way. It's something that seems so far gone, trapped back in history but it isn't. Still happens because people just don't care, or they don't want to know, or even doesn't even know anything for ignorance, lack of talk or education (but here's something like this to show how devastating it was). Sure, now it's all manageable and treatable but just like 1983 a cure is yet to be found. 9/10

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