Channel 4 has commissioned a new 1×120’ drama from award-winning writer Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials, National Treasure) and and BAFTA award-winning director Marc Munden (The Third Day, Utopia).
Help, set in a fictional Liverpool care home, is the moving story of the relationship between a young care home worker (Comer) and a patient (Graham), whose lives are changed forever by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
“About two years ago Stephen Graham came to me with an idea to write something for him and Jodie Comer. I tried to think of something and got nothing. Then this crisis happened, and we saw care homes getting squashed and battered by the government…. This has to be written and made with anger and precision. We hope we do it justice.” – Jack Thorne
Sarah (Comer – Killing Eve, Doctor Foster) was always told that she’d never amount to anything before unexpectedly finding her calling as a carer at Sunshine Homes. She has a special talent for connecting with the residents, including one in particular, 47-year-old Tony (Graham – Save Me, This is England).
Tony’s Young Onset Alzheimer’s has left him living out his days in care as his mind slowly deteriorates. His illness causes periods of confusion and violent outbursts, which the other members of staff can’t handle, but with Sarah he begins to build a real bond. Sarah’s success at managing Tony and the other patients helps build her confidence and restore her self-belief.
Then March 2020 hits and everything Sarah has achieved is thrown into doubt with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. A determined Sarah goes to extraordinary lengths to protect those in her care, whose conditions make their suffering and isolation all the more traumatic.
She and her colleagues fight tooth and nail, ill-equipped, poorly prepared and without adequate support from above. However, with their unwavering commitment, compassion and heroic efforts only going so far, Sarah is pushed into a dark corner and desperately looks for a way out.
“I am, of course, thrilled to be working alongside Stephen and the supremely talented Jack, Marc, and those at Channel 4. For us to be able to explore such a relevant and emotive story through the eyes of such beautifully real characters, and in our home city of Liverpool, is a real honour. We’re determined to do justice to so many of the untold stories and heroes that have been affected as a result of this crisis and to handle them with care.” – Jodie Comer
Speaking of the feature-length drama, Graham notes that it will be “a profoundly important piece of social realism” and hailed writer Jack Thorne as “one of the greatest and most truthful writers of our generation”.
The provisionally-titled Help will be produced by The Forge with funding and support from the Liverpool Film Office. Filming is slated to begin in 2021.