Investigations, news, features and documentaries
Contents summary

Brian Deer: journalism

This is the sitemap and contents page, linking to selected investigations, documentaries and news reports by Brian Deer. Alternatively, you can check out the Brian Deer website homepage

Dispatches: The drug trial that went wrong

TGN1412: Brian Deer's acclaimed 2006 television film (clip, left) for the UK's Channel 4 Dispatches current affairs series investigated what happened when an experimental monoclonal antibody was injected into a group of young men at a London hospital

Bactrim-Septra: For decades, a common antibiotic has caused a hidden epidemic of preventable casualties. Deer's 1990s investigation led to a virtual ban in the UK, but suffering continues worldwide

The MMR fraud: Winning Deer a 2011 British Press Award as the UK's top specialist reporter, this landmark Sunday Times investigation nailed the most far-reaching scientific scam in memory

Justin Fashanu was Britain's first million pound soccer player, and the first to come out as gay. But, following injury, his career faltered and he drifted to the United States where he sexually abused a teenage boy in a Maryland apartment, Within weeks he was dead. Brian Deer follows the trail back to Fashanu's troubled childhood. The Mail on Sunday, July 1998

Thy will be done: the Henry Wellcome legacy

Hard sell: When American-born pharmaceuticals entrepreneur Sir Henry Wellcome drafted his will in 1932, he dreamt it would extend his reach over medicine even from beyond the grave. And that's how it would be for more than half a century, until in February and March 1994 a pair of two-page Sunday Times news review fronts (part 1, right) by Brian Deer torpedoed his ambition


Sexual interest disorder: With post-Viagra drug firms promoting previously unheard-of medical conditions, a Paris conference saw a new sexual dysfunction unveiled, alleged to afflict one in three women. The Sunday Times Magazine, September 2003


Skeptics in the pub: As political parties hardly raise two members and a dog, an extraordinary new phenomenon takes off, focused on science and rational thought. The Sunday Times, March 2011

Wellcome top
Wellcome bottom

Matthew and the burger bug: The mutation of what was once a mostly harmless bug into virulent e coli strains such as O157:H7 is a deadly by-product of the rise of agrobusiness. But as Rachael Bell of Lancashire learnt when her three-year-old son got sick, public agencies will blame the victims rather than nail the culprits. The Sunday Times Magazine, May 1998

Voluntary Service Overseas, or VSO, is tasked to be a development body, helping some of the world's poorest communities. But, since the London-based organisation was first proposed in a letter from a bishop in 1958, it has run something more akin to adventure holidays in the footprints of the British empire. The Sunday Times Magazine, April 1998
Brian Deer in Tanzania

Fear, fire and the death of the killer ape

Homo Erectus:Traditional narratives about human origins tell of weapons and violence as the spurs to evolution. But Brian Deer, left, reporting from East Africa, tells a different story. The Sunday Times Magazine, March 1997


The VaxGen experiment: Barely had the cause of Aids been established - two years after the first reported cases in 1981 - than the race for an HIV vaccine began. This report by Deer, on the first attempt, AidsVax, led to a federal prosecution. The Sunday Times Magazine, October 1999

Japan feels the squeeze: Finding alternatives to America's one-size-fits-all model of economic development strains cultures everywhere - and nowhere more so than Japan, where the clash of values runs deep. Here is a "Culture Essay" by Brian Deer which looks at the position of women and a distinctive Japanese attitude towards work. The Sunday Times, August 1994

Glasgow Labour: As British prime minister Tony Blair followed Margaret Thatcher's path, pockets of "old Labour" traditional socialists continued to rankle. No more so than around the Labour Party's birthplace in the wild west of Scotland, where the city of Glasgow was a stronghold of values despised by the national leader. The Sunday Times Magazine, January 1998

Brian Deer wins a second British Press Award

Press award 2011: Video from London's Savoy hotel in April 2011, where Deer is named specialist journalist of the year by the Society of Editors. The presentations of Britain's most prestigious journalism awards were made by Sky News anchor Anna Botting


Notting Hell: As a lesson in betrayed ideals, Deer's investigation of a controversial property developer, headed by a judge, offers a universal message. The Sunday Times Magazine, June 2001


Kate Hoey: In the 1980s, Labour leader Neil Kinnock installed a PE teacher at a key constituency. She quickly seized on trouble at Lambeth council. The Sunday Times Magazine, August 1993

The life of leisure: With the rise of information technologies, the future was predicted by some to be like "Athens without the slaves". Well, maybe not. This essay by Deer, centred on the giant ruined Battersea Power Station in London, considers the paradox of disappearing free time. Published as a "Culture Essay" in The Sunday Times, December 1994
Iron Maiden Voyage: For reasons never fully explained by his editors, Deer was dispatched to Israel to cover an expedition by heavy metal's legendary Iron Maiden band. In this profile, he finds it warming up with a new (and, as it turned out, temporary) front-man, Blaze Bailey, standing in for vocalist Bruce Dickinson. The Sunday Times Magazine, November 1995
Sunday Times front page on MMR

Wakefield: the story the cheat tried to stop

MMR - What they didn't tell you: TV expose of Andrew Wakefield, who launched "gagging writ" litigation to try to stop the investigation. Broadcast in November 2004, after the report, left


Raj Persaud: After an investigation by Deer, in June 2008 UK the celebrity psychiatrist Persaud was suspended for plagiarism. Hear Persaud victim Prof Richard Bentall in a Radio 4 interview


Vioxx - the UK connection: Thousands of deaths were linked to this painkiller from Merck of New Jersey. Deer's 2005 investigation

"There is no such thing as society," said British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. This was the decade watched by Brian Deer as The Sunday Times social affairs correspondent - the first journalist to hold such a title in what was to become a boom specialty in UK media. This site archives a selection of his news, features and comment stories

Porter Stansberry: investments in controversy

Porter Stansberry is a controversial Baltimore-based investment advisor. Deer's ongoing interest arose from a Sunday Times investigation into VaxGen Inc (see above), of Brisbane, California, and a Securities and Exchange Commission case, sometimes dubbed the Stansberry scam, which saw Stansberry (right) prosecuted


Take the Porter Poll here, view the first results of visitors' opinions on Stansberry's strategies, or view an index of reports and features on Stansberry & Associates Investment Research

  Porter Stansberry Investment Research
DTP and the vanishing victims: Before debates about the risks or safety of the MMR triple vaccine, for measles, mumps and rubella, a similar controversy raged about routine DTP or DPT triple shots for diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. In this inquiry, Brian Deer dug up facts that clashed with his earlier opinions on vaccine risks. The Sunday Times Magazine, November 1998

The Best of Health: Brian Deer's Sunday Times project for the National Health Service

The Best of Health 1 The Best of Health 2 As Britain's first journalist to specialise in what was then the new field of social affairs, in 1988 Brian Deer ran a unique Sunday Times initiative for the UK National Health Service. Named "The Best of Health" and run as a competition, it was backed by the National Association of Health Authorities, the Institute of Health Service Management, the NHS Management Board, and was run by Deer with the PA Consulting Group

A photo exhibition toured the UK, and a book (far left) , edited by Deer, profiled the winners. In this unprecedented exercise, managers, clinicians and staff running a quarter of the entire NHS took part. The following year, the project was repeated with the focus on hospitals (left)