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New film about Thalidomide victim

Published 09/06/2015

Award-winning documentary maker Roger Graef
Award-winning documentary maker Roger Graef

Award-winning documentary maker Roger Graef has signed up to make a new film about a Thalidomide victim half a century after he first told his story.

Brett Nielsen featured in Graef's first film, One Of Them Is Brett, and the pair are working together on the new documentary for BBC One called Brett: A Life With No Arms.

Thalidomide was given to pregnant women for three years b etween 1958 and 1961 to control symptoms of morning sickness, but resulted in thousands of babies around the world being born with missing or deformed limbs and extreme shortening of arms and legs, as well as malformations of the eyes and ears, genitals, heart, kidneys and digestive tract.

The first film showed Mr Nielsen as a four-year-boy, who despite not having arms managed to ride a bicycle, feed himself and fight with his brothers.

The new film catches up with him after 50 years, with a career as a musician and record producer, three ex-wives and two children.

The other documentaries, announced today by BBC One controller Charlotte Moore, include a programme about Burnley cab drivers, a three-part series about cancer patients and a look behind the scenes of Lord Bath's stately home at Longleat.

Ms Moore said: " From singles to series, these documentaries have gained extraordinarily intimate access to four distinctive worlds that will move, provoke and challenge the BBC One audience.

"From Brett's inspiring story of triumph over adversity to capturing what it means to live with cancer today, from exploring racial tensions in Burnley through the eyes of two cab companies to a window in to the world of Britain's new aristocracy in Longleat."

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