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Reviews Theatre

Beyond Belief: Scenes from the Shipman Inquiry

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 04 November 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1109
  1. Bruno Rushforth, preregistration house officer (
  1. Leeds General Infirmary

    Edited by Dennis Woolf Library Theatre, Manchester, until 20 November 2004

    Rating: Embedded ImageEmbedded Image

    The public inquiry into the criminal activities of Harold Shipman, a general practitioner in Hyde, Greater Manchester, found that the once much respected family doctor had killed more than 200 of his patients by diamorphine injection. Most of us are familiar with these bare facts. But what about the personal stories behind the statistics of Britain's most prolific mass murderer? For me it was only through the chilling experience of coming across his name in patients' notes and chance meetings with those who had known him, during my community training as a medical student in Manchester, that the true horror of his crimes began to take on any real meaning.

    Beyond Belief: Scenes from the Shipman Inquiry uses edited verbatim transcripts from the public inquiry, with actors playing lawyers and witnesses, to piece together how Shipman escaped detection for so long. But in addition to presenting this stark narrative, the production also focuses on the personal tragedies of those affected by his …

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