After 82 – The Untold Stories of the AIDS Pandemic in the UK: Review by Stephen Vowles

Following the death of Terrence Higgins at the age of 37 in July 1982 it was very clear that the gay community in the UK would be deeply affected by the disease of AIDS and After 82, directed and produced by Steve Keeble and Ben Lord, shows that effect with a clear and very poignant and precise sense of purpose. 

This powerful film features a series of interviews of people affected in the early years of the epidemic including Dr Rupert Whitaker (pictured above) who was the partner of the late Terry Higgins, one of the first people to die from an AIDS related illness in the UK, and who with a friend of Terry, Martyn Butler, set up the charity the Terrence Higgins Trust. The producers also spoke to the key person who directed the government response, Conservative health minister Lord Fowler, and Dr Caroline Bradbeer who was starting her training as a junior doctor when the first cases of AIDS appeared. 

After 82 also features Tony Whitehead, a leading figure in the THT in its early years as its second chairman and Jonathan Blake who was diagnosed with HIV in the early 1980s and was portrayed by Dominic West in the film Pride. BAFTA award-winning actor West, narrates After 82 with a gripping commentary. Highlighting the total lack of sex education in schools and explaining why there is still stigma surrounding HIV, the film makes compelling viewing and was clearly a labour of love for Keeble and Lord who have been able to put on historic record this important story of the devastating impact of AIDS in the UK.

Sensitive documentary film-making at its finest where stories that needed to be told are given a platform. It can only serve to inform a younger LGBT generation and the public alike, about the strides that have been made in the fight against HIV which is no longer a death sentence, and yet with prejudice still existing the fight needs to continue. Memorable and beautifully shot. A film with a message at its heart of hope, and the power and strength that can come out of people campaigning together for a better response from their community, society and government.


AFTER 82 Official Trailer (2018) The Untold Stories of the AIDS Pandemic in the UK

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