Socialist Worker

Spanish Flu: The Forgotten Fallen

by Katherine Branney
Issue No. 2163

With the threat of swine flu on many people’s minds, it is a particularly apt moment for the Spanish Flu: The Forgotten Fallen drama to appear.

It is based on the story of doctor James Niven, Manchester’s medical health officer, and his attempts to combat the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

Spanish flu spread quickly through a Europe exhausted by the First World War, and an India devastated by the British Empire. It killed between 50 to 100 million people worldwide.

Spanish Flu shows the horrific effects of the pandemic on Manchester’s population, and Niven’s heroic attempts to get the authorities to take the effective action necessary to curb its impact.

This powerful drama draws on a strong performance by Bill Paterson as Niven, who is ably supported by Mark Gatiss and Charlotte Riley.

If you miss the first showing, don’t worry as it’s repeated throughout the week.

Spanish Flu: The Forgotten Fallen, directed by Justin Hardy on Wednesday 5 August, 9pm, BBC Four

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Tue 4 Aug 2009, 19:27 BST
Issue No. 2163
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