Medical duo’s show looks at two of the most notorious 20th century doctors
- Credit: supplied by Elliott Burton
The stories behind two of the most notorious doctors of the 20th century are being dissected in a production taking to a Norwich stage.
Dial Medicine For Murder, which is at Norwich Playhouse on Tuesday, looks at the infamous physicians Harold Shipman and John Bodkin Adams. Shipman was found guilty of 15 murders and a later inquiry found he was one of the most prolific serial killers in recorded history, meanwhile Bodkin Adams was never convicted of murder but is suspected of killing hundreds of patients.
The production Dial Medicine For Murder is the creation of Norfolk-born doctor Harry Brünjes and forensic psychiatrist Andrew Johns.
'It is gripping, it is scary, and both these doctors were real and existed. We cover why did they do it and we also address the big question, could it happen again?' said Dr Brünjes, who was born in Norwich and grew up in Corton, between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.
He said the idea for Dial Medicine For Murder started after he moved to Folkington Manor on the South Downs in 2010. Bodkin Adams had been a frequent visitor there in the 1950s, and this led to Dr Brünjes researching more about him. Meanwhile Dr Johns had given evidence in the Shipman inquiry, and one night Dr Brünjes and Dr Johns began comparing the psychopathology of the two men and the idea of an academic lecture developed.
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'It moved from being a lecture into being a stage piece and we ended up in 2015 going to the Edinburgh Fringe,' said Dr Brünjes, 62, who is chairman of a medical company.
'We compare the background, arrest, trial and legacies of both doctors interspersed with footage and news items. We examine the victims' stories, the odd circumstances of multiple deaths, and ask the big question: why was one convicted and the other wasn't?'
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While Dr Brünjes has had a long career in medicine he is no stranger to the stage. He is chairman of English National Opera and previously worked as a holiday camp entertainer. His father and uncles were the The Singing Scott Brothers who performed in the 1952 Royal Variety Show, meanwhile Dr Brunje's wife, Jacquie Storey, is a singer and dancer and their four children work in the entertainment industry.
Dial Medicine For Murder is at Norwich Playhouse at 8pm on Tuesday. Visit www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk or call 01603 598598.