Struck-off doctors given television treatment

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The Independent Online

Arts Correspondent

For the first time, doctors who have been struck off or disciplined for unprofessional conduct will give their side of the story on television.

Doctors In The Dock, a new series to be shown on BBC2 in October, will show interviews with doctors who have featured in a number of notorious cases.

Among these are the sex therapist Dr Brian Richards, who was accused of trying to hire a hitman to kill his Harley Street partner. In the series, he maintains that he was play- acting and still treats patients at his Kent and Cyprus clinics.

There is also the case of Dr David Corden, struck off for improper conduct after he fell in love with a patient. The film shows that he ended up marrying her.

Jana Bennett, head of science at the BBC, said yesterday: "Doctors have not been asked before to do these reflective interviews on why they overstep the mark.

"We put doctors on a pedestal, but life is more complicated, and these programmes question the rigid rules that doctors have to live by."

Elsewhere, the BBC2 autumn schedules have a number of fairly bleak-looking new dramas. Loved Up is set in the world of raves and drugs; Street Life starring Helen McCrory is about a downtrodden single mother on a Welsh housing estate.

Michael Jackson, controller of BBC2, commented: "One of the historic jobs of single dramas is to give you a sense of contemporary Britain. I am rather proud that there is some ballsy drama on BBC2 on Saturday nights."

Other drama highlights include Kenneth Branagh and Stephen Rea in Sean O'Casey's Shadow Of A Gunman, and David Calder and Jane Horrocks in an adaptation of the two parts of Shakespeare's play Henry IV.

A key documentary series will be The Death of Yugoslavia, a five-part series including interviews with many of the key figures in the conflict, such as presidents and paramilitary leaders.

It is said to be the first time during the course of a war that the leaders of all the rival states concerned have told their versions of the conflict in a television series.

Comedy highlights include a new series fronted by Steve Coogan, and, among the repeats, Not The Nine o' Clock News, the show which launched the careers of Rowan Atkinson, Pamela Stevenson, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones.