Productions Ltd. makes programmes on science, medicine and general
health issues. The company director is Joan Shenton M.A. and the
company has its office in London.
was first set up as a partnership in 1978 and became a limited company
in 1981 after securing one of the earliest Channel 4 commissions
for factual programming. The series on injury from prescribed drugs,
'Kill or Cure?' was repeated in the UK and has been screened in
many different countries. It is also being used in London University
Medical School in the course for students of pharmacology.
has made network programmes and series for Channel 4, Thames TV,
Central TV, and Television South West and has won three major awards.
It is the first independent company ever to win a Royal Television
Society Journalism Award (Dispatches-Channel 4).
its close and continuing contact with medical advisers in different
fields, Meditel is able to focus on important issues well before
they are picked up by the national press.
October 1989 Meditel became part of the Broadcast Communications,
Britain's largest independent supplier of programming to Channel
or Cure?' (1983 & 1987) Two series of documentaries on injury
from prescribed drugs, monitoring for drug safety and compensation.
Made for Channel 4. The New Scientist wrote about the first
series "...balanced...skilful...competent and helpful... After
far too many sensational and/or half baked television critiques
of modern medicine and the drug industry 'Kill or Cure?' is worthy
of close attention." One of the programmes was covering the
SMON scandal, others the dangers of DTP vaccination, and the sale
by the pharmaceutical industry of dangerous drugs in third world
What it's Worth' (1984-1989) A series of reports and programmes
for Thames Television about issues as DES children, the Dalkon shield
and dangers side-effects of painkilling drugs. The two programmes
in this series on the possible dangers of various vitamins and herbs
got in 1985 a Silver Award at the International Consumer Film Competition
Cares' (1985) Four one hour documentaries for Channel 4 on comparative
health care in six countries. One of the programmes got in 1986
the Special Merit award from the Medical Journalists Association
and Pearl Assurance.
Millions'(1987) A documentary on the plight of the mental ill
across the world. Made for Central Television's Viewpoint 87. The
programme got in 1989 the Red Ribbon Award from the American Film
and Video Association.
Fad or Fact?' (1987 & 1988) two series of six documentaries
made for Television South West challenging some received views on
the links between diet and disease. 'The Cholesterol Campaign' won
in 1989 as educational documentary a bronze award at the Houston
International Film Festival. 'Salt' won the New Jersey Television
and Movie Award for Best Educational Production in 1988.
One in ten men' (1989) A documentary for Channel 4 on the
problem of impotence and the latest treatments. The programme
was awarded with a Certificate of Educational Merit by the British
Medical Association. The Financial Times wrote "It is not
just refreshing but cheering to find someone... who still has
the instinct to question the received wisdom and challenge the
consensus, however fashionable. That instinct lies at the heart
of all best journalism."
in 1987 among the first who paid attention to the AIDS controversies.
They made a series of documentaries and news items about the debate:
Voices' (1987). Produced and directed by Jad Adams, executive
producer Joan Shenton, and reporter Michael Verney-Elliot. The documentary
was aired in November 1987 by Channel 4. The Sunday Telegraph described
the programme as "outstanding...well argued". In the programme
Duesberg and others argued that HIV could not be the cause of AIDS
and that, as a result of present thinking on AIDS, millions of lives
that could be saved will not be saved, and vast research funds are
being wasted. The documentary won in 1988 the prestious journalism
award from the Royal Television Society in the category international
Catch' (1990) Broadcasted in June 1990 by Channel 4. Produced
and directed by Joan Shenton, reporter: Michael Verney-Elliot. The
second AIDS documentary questioning HIV as the cause of AIDS. The
programme is also questioning whether AIDS is infectious or not,
and paid attention to the long-term survivors. Montagnier introduces
cofactors and says in this programme "At first we thought we
had the best candidate to be the cause of AIDS...[but now]...I would
agree that HIV by itself or some strains of HIV are not sufficient
to induce AIDS " Meditel also introduced John Lauritsen, Walter
Gilbert, Harry Rubin, Joseph Sonnabend, Gordon Stewart and Robert-Root-Bernstein.
The Financial Times wrote: "An outstanding piece of 'sez who?'
journalism. It is still encouraging to find that there are still
proper television journalists around, working with the disciple,
and with minds not wraped by sentimentalism!" Afterwards Meditel
was being punished by the Broadcast Complaints Commission for being
"unfair" to AIDS. The complaints were being filled by
Wellcome and several established British pro-HIV organisations.
Cause for Concern' (1992) Produced and directed by Joan
Shenton, reporter: Michael Verney-Elliot. Aired by Channel 4 in
February 1992. A programme about the the main drug prescribed to
help people with AIDS. Meditel uncovers the disturbing evidence
that AZT may in fact be causing more harm than good. With Lauritsen
and Duesberg, but the programme also introduces John Hamilton, Michael
Lange and Robert Hoffman. The programme makers stated that Wellcome's
claims for AZT are "false and misleading".
and Africa' (1993) For Channel 4 Dispatches. Aired 12 March
1993. For years now Western scientists have predicted an AIDS catastrophe
for the continent. Joan Shenton travelled to Africa East and West
to assess what is really happening on the ground. A story of hope
for Africa; a report that suggests that Africa may not, after all,
be in the grip of a devastating epidemic.
an AIDS Dissident' (1993) Produced and directed by Joan Shenton.
A short version of the programme has been aired in Europe by Sky
News. PBS broadcasted the programme in the U.S. This filmed diary
chronicles events in Berlin (world AIDS conference), London (AZT
on Trial conference) and New York (Spin magazine, HEAL) which highlight
the growing opposition to the current complacency surrounding the
establishment view on the cause of AIDS.
produced two shorter news items, 'Amsterdam AIDS Conference', about
the alternative conference 'AIDS; A Different View', and 'European
Dissidents' broadcasted both by Sky News in 1992.
can be contacted:
42 Brunswick Gardens
London W8 4AN
phone: 0171-229 7975 fax: 792 0413