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Best Of Men

April 16, 2012

The history of the Paralympic Games is to be told in a BBC Two drama starring Rob Brydon and Eddie Marsan.

Best of Men will tell the story of a neurological doctor whose work with wounded soldiers led to the first official Paralympics in Rome in 1960.

Writer Lucy Gannon said Dr Ludwig Guttmann “revolutionised life for paralysed people”.

The first unofficial games for disabled people was at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

‘Unsung hero’

German-born Dr Guttmann, who had been using sport as a therapy to rebuild strength on his patients, opened the games on the same day as the 1948 Olympics.

In the drama Brydon will play a paralysed soldier, who is admitted to Stoke Mandeville under the care of Dr Guttmann, who will be played by Marsan.

Now referred to as the 1948 International Wheelchair Games, it became an international event in 1952, when a team from Holland went to England to participate.

By 1960, the games were held in parallel with the Olympics in Rome.

Gannon said she found Dr Guttmann’s story “amazing”, calling him “an unsung hero”.

Ben Stephenson, controller BBC Drama Commissioning, said: “Lucy Gannon has written a moving human story that reveals the largely unknown history behind the birth of the Paralympic Games.”

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