after almost six years in the making and the brainchild of Ben Lord and his Long- term partner Steve Keeble, the UK finally has the untold stories of what really happened during the early years of the AIDS pandemic.
What makes AFTER 82 unique is that these are the untold personal stories, told by those that were there and those that were, and still are, there to support them.
Michelle Ross Turner
during her days on the
Terrence Higgins helpline
For many of those featured they have never spoken openly to the media about those traumatic early days and AFTER 82 is the first and only time they will do so. The documentary features interviews with the Actor Jonathan Blake, many people may remember Jonathan was portrayed in the film Pride (Dir. Matthew Warchus-2014) by the actor Dominic West (who narrates the documentary) What many won’t know is that Jonathan has lived with the virus for over thirty years. Dr. Rupert Whitaker was just a young man when he fell in love with Terry Higgins. The romance was not to last as Terry sadly died from AIDS complications on the 4th July 1982 making him one of the first people to die from an AIDS related illness in the UK. Rupert also discovered that he too was HIV positive and given eighteen months to live.
Danny West was also a young man when he was diagnosed with the HIV virus. He was also given eighteen months to live back in the early 80’s. He recalls how he was told after he had been diagnosed, by the doctor, to ”go out and enjoy what time he had left”. Danny went on to see his community, two lovers and a fostered child, die from AIDS complications.
Shaun Dellenty was a young man who had to leave sixth form due to homophobic bullying. He recalls that he got a job as a local DJ and was regularly asked “when are you going to die like Rock Hudson? it’s what you deserve”
The documentary also features Dr. Caroline Bradbeer, who was one of the first medical staff to treat people living with the HIV virus.
Lord Norman Fowler was part of Margaret Thatcher’s government and is the only man to have change her mind about the AIDS crisis in the UK. Thanks to his persistence and massive campaign surrounding HIV/AIDS during the eighties HIV infections started to drop. He has now become one of the most respected ministers in the UK and gay community for his tireless work surrounding HIV/AIDS.
No documentary featuring issues around human rights would be complete without the world renowned human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. Peter’s tireless work during the early years of the pandemic ensured that the human rights from people who were living with the virus, were met.
The documentary features many other interviews from people with stories from the time that which for so many, they will and can never forget.
And finally, a huge thanks to The Curzon Soho for making AFTER 82 part of their Doc Days season and supporting the project.