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Harold Shipman: Doctor Death (2002)

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 ... See full summary »


Roger Bamford


Michael Eaton


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Stainton Michael Stainton ... John Shaw
Olive Pendleton Olive Pendleton ... Kathleen Grundy
Veda Warwick Veda Warwick ... May Clarke
Tony Melody ... Len Fellows
James Bolam ... Dr. Harold Shipman
Jacqueline Pilton Jacqueline Pilton ... Primrose Shipman
Mary MacLeod Mary MacLeod ... Ivy Lomas
Helen Donohue Helen Donohue ... Surgery Receptionist
Clare Kerrigan Clare Kerrigan ... Julie - Teenage Girl
Demelza Randall ... Debbie Bambroffe
Irene Skillington Irene Skillington ... Bereaved Woman
Alan Rothwell ... Alan Massey
John Flanagan John Flanagan ... Jim King
Deborah Norton ... Debra King
Sushil Chudasama Sushil Chudasama ... Junior Doctor


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 Anonymous

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Release Date:

9 July 2002 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Prescription for Murder See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Hurt was offered the title role but declined because he thought the project was distasteful. See more »


The cross on the grave site of Bianka Pomfret had her year of death as 1999 yet following the exhumation the plaque on her coffin revealed her date of death as 10th December 1997 - not 1999 as engraved on the cross. See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating to watch True-life Drama
3 September 2002 | by desert7foxSee all my reviews

I thought that James Bolam played the part of Dr Frederick Shipman very sensitively and he certainly did the best he could with what must have been a tough role.

The setting for the drama was very good and the scenes representing Christmas 1997 were very good. I think it caught the atmosphere of the whole thing very well.

The humour displayed by James Bolam was very authentic to the real Dr Shipman and the sense of theatre he displayed to some patients in his surgery was true to the real character which I guess must have been relatively easy for the actor to do as he is so familiar with playing in comedy.

I particularly liked the confrontations between Dr Shipman and the police as well as the interview scenes.

The high-light of James Bolam's acting in my opinion came when he broke down after being confronted with the computer evidence and we see him crying and clinging to his solicitor's legs. This was an excellent piece of acting.

2 hours was not long enough as there was so much that could have been covered and one got the feeling that it had been rushed a little, and maybe the programme makers had found it difficult to know just where to start.

I found it intriguing and sad as well. It made you think about the case and yes, maybe it did supply some understanding into how the tragedy came about.

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