Harold Shipman – Driven to Kill is a docudrama out on Netflix now. The true crime documentary from 2014 focuses on the British serial killer of more than 200 people. The release is timed perfectly on the heels of The Ted Bundy Tapes.

Harold Shipman – Driven to Kill is out on Netflix now and honestly, you have to see it to believe it. The true crime docudrama is from 2014 but actually feels older. Or rather, it feels like a typical TV production.

However, the release on Netflix in the US now is perfectly timed with the current success of true crime documentary. Especially the current success of Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.

Recommended reading: Our review of The Ted Bundy Tapes which focuses on how sick and twisted Bundy was >

More than 200 murders

Compared to the sick crimes of Ted Bundy, Harold Shipman is quite different since he was a doctor, who killed by way of medicine. However, the number of people he killed is much higher.

We’re talking more than 200 people according to Harold Shipman – Driven to Kill.

As a European, I was shocked to hear these numbers though I’m sure I must have heard them before. It almost seems like we haven’t heard as much about him because he was a doctor. Of course, there is good reason not to make people fear going to the doctor. Plenty of people already suffer from this!

An outdated documentary style

As I stated earlier, Harold Shipman – Drive to Kill does feel much older than a documentary made in 2014.

This is mostly due to the reconstructions and the dramatic voice-over. Of course, the voice-over (or narrator) is in a British accent since this is a British documentary. Of course, Harold Shipman himself is British and killed an insane amount of British people before getting caught. 

I knew of the name Harold Shipman as I know of many other serial killers, but I didn’t know the extent of his crimes.

Watch Harold Shipman – Driven to Kill on Netflix

While there is a bit of reconstruction and dramatic elements showing a young version of Harold Shipman, it is mostly a classic documentary. The story is told via interviews with people who knew Harold Shipman and or the victims. This is the kind of documentary I prefer.

Mostly because it always feels like a cheesy TV movie whenever the dramatic reconstructions are used. This documentary certainly suffers from that as well but to a relatively small degree.

The real question of his crimes is probably whether they’re mercy killings of terminally ill patients or just basic murders. For this reason, his nicknames have ranged from “Dr. Death” to “The Angel of Death” and simply “The Good Doctor”.

In any case, Shipman was an addict of any medication he could get his hands on. Instead of getting him out of medicine altogether, Doctor Shipman was fined 600£ and they let him continue. He later moved to the small town of Hyde (near Manchester).

According to Wikipedia, Harold Shipman is estimated to have killed as many as 250 people between 1975 and 1998 when he was apprehended. About 80% of his victims were elderly women.

The story of Harold Shipman’s crimes is told in 2 episodes that each last 45 minutes. In essence, this can be watched as a 90-minute documentary movie. 

Harold Shipman – Driven to Kill is on Netflix in the US from February 1, 2019.


Interviews and dramatic reconstructions illuminate the twisted motivations and brazen crimes of serial killer and respected physician, Harold Shipman.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard