New interest in contaminated blood drama
Written by Jessica Bomford, January 11, 2024
The writer of a television drama about contaminated blood has received fresh interest from production companies following the success of ITV’s mini-series about the Post Office scandal.
Seb Carrington, pictured, who has haemophilia and whose brother was infected with hepatitis C, began researching the script four years ago and has spoken to many members of our community about their experiences. Seb and his team have approached all the major broadcasters, but despite promising feedback the drama has not yet been commissioned.
However, following the success of ITV’s docu-drama about the Post Office Scandal, Mr Bates vs the Post Office, which has attracted nine million viewers and triggered a rapid political response, Seb has received new interest in his project.
He said: ‘The success of the Post Office drama gives me so much hope – and reassurance that I have been right to push for a TV drama over the past four years. When we approached commissioners a couple of months ago, we received very positive responses on our show. But one commissioner felt it would be better suited as a documentary while another already had a few factual dramas on their roster. We can go back to them and double down on our convictions that a drama is the best format to tell this story and that it is clear the British public have an appetite for these types of dramas.’
This week Seb, who is also an actor, has been approached by three production companies and he has been interviewed by the BBC, Times Radio and various newspapers about his project. He is also exploring options with international streaming services.
The drama follows five boys with haemophilia from different backgrounds who are infected with HIV and hepatitis as a result of contaminated treatment. Some of the story will be placed within a boarding school, with parallels to Treloar’s College. The drama also explores the impact the scandal has on their partners and families over four decades.
Seb’s brother James was infected with hepatitis C as a child through treatment for his mild haemophilia B, although his parents did not discover this until James was 16. Two years later, James died in a car accident and Seb, who was only eight, was shielded from much of the detail of the contaminated blood scandal. Seb and James are pictured, left. When the Infected Blood Inquiry got underway, Seb began to understand more about what happened and felt inspired to do something to bring the scandal to the attention of a wider audience.
Seb and his creative team have interviewed many people infected and affected by treatment with contaminated blood products to produce the script.
Seb said: ‘We want the truth to be heard by as many people as possible. Many victims have been ignored for over four decades, and feel frustrated that their voices haven’t been heard. Our show focuses on the human story – we are so grateful to all the victims who have been so generous with their personal stories. There is also a huge amount of stigma that victims have suffered, and I hope that a TV show would help to normalise a conversation around HIV and hepatitis C and help people who feel isolated by their conditions to feel recognised.’