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New documentary will explore Manchester journalist’s role in exposure of Thalidomide scandal


A new documentary will explore how a Manchester-born journalist exposed the scandal of Thalidomide in the 1960s.

Attacking The Devil: Harold Evans and the Last Nazi War tells the story of Sir Harold’s campaigns for The Sunday Times, including an investigation into the drug which left 10,000 babies with deformities in the 1950s and ’60s.

The documentary has been made by Jacqui and David Morris, a sister-and-brother team who previously made McCullin about renowned photojournalist Don McCullin.

The film connects the dots between Hitler and Thalidomide, presenting evidence that the drug may have been tested on concentration camp inmates, with one Nazi official going on to work at Chemie Gruenenthal, the German company that developed Thalidomide.

Watch the trailer:

Sir Harold Evans grew up in Newton Heath in Manchester and began his career as a reporter for a weekly newspaper in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire.

After university he became an assistant editor of the Manchester Evening News and then editor of The Northern Echo, where one of his campaigns resulted in a national programme for the detection of cervical cancer.

During his 14-year tenure as editor of the Sunday Times, Evans was responsible for its crusading style of investigative reporting. One such report was about the plight of hundreds of British Thalidomide children who had never had any compensation.

Evans himself took on the drug companies responsible for the manufacture of Thalidomide, pursuing them through the English courts and eventually gaining victory in the European Court of Human Rights.

Attacking the Devil: Harold Evans and the Last Nazi War Crime won the jury prize at the Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2014 and is due in cinemas on January 22nd.

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