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Wednesday, 10 July, 2002, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Shipman draws 7.3m viewers
James Hazeldine as DI Stan Egerton and James Bolam as Harold Shipman
The real DI Egerton praised the programme's accuracy
A controversial TV drama about serial killer Harold Shipman was the top-rated show in its time slot, netting a 40% audience share.

The programme aired at 2100 BST on Tuesday, despite protests from both the victims' families and the High Court judge who oversaw an inquiry into Shipman's case.

The families had criticised the timing of the programme - which was broadcast before the publication of a report on how many patients the former doctor is thought to have killed.

Viewing figures
Shipman - 7.3 million
Paradise Heights - 5 million
The Secret Life of the Office - 2 million
Death - 1.3 million
But the show was popular with the viewing public, attracting 7.3 million viewers at its peak. The figure dropped slighter after a news break, to 6.2 million.

Paradise Heights, on BBC One, came in second with 5 million viewers, while BBC Two's The Secret Life of the Office attracted 2 million.

The Channel 5 film Nowhere to Run drew 2.4 million, while the Channel 4 documentary Death earned 1.3.

Accuracy praised

The Yorkshire TV drama starred James Bolam as Shipman and James Hazeldine as Detective Inspector Stan Egerton, one of four detectives who led the inquiry into Shipman's activities.

Mr Egerton saw a rough cut of the film before his death in autumn 2001, and praised it for its accuracy.

Harold Shipman
Shipman was convicted of murder in January 2000
Shipman, from Hyde, Greater Manchester, is currently serving a life sentence at Frankland Prison, Co Durham, after being convicted of murdering 15 of his mainly elderly female patients.

The families of some 500 other patients are still awaiting the findings of the inquiry to find out whether the one-time family GP murdered their loved ones.

The report is expected within the next three weeks.

See also:

09 Jul 02 | Entertainment
09 Jul 02 | Entertainment
30 Jun 02 | England
27 Jun 02 | England
10 May 02 | England
08 May 02 | England
21 Mar 02 | England
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