Sunday 9pm – 10.30pm, BBC1
In a heart wrenching and sadly all too familiar story for many in the UK, the BBC presents a one-off drama about the devastating impact of dementia. The story follows Jenny (Sheridan Smith), a hardworking single mother of two who is able to support her family through the loving care and childcare support provided by her mother, Mary (Alison Steadman). However, their world is turned upside down when Mary suffers a debilitating stroke, developing dementia and finding herself in need of full-time care herself. Jenny is left torn between her responsibilities, she needs to support her family but can’t ignore the needs of her mother.
In the UK alone, over a third of stroke sufferers will develop dementia and this drama by Jimmy McGovern and Gillian Juckes really brings home how it can drive families to desperation and dilemma.
Jimmy McGovern is well known, a BAFTA and International Emmy Award winner with programmes such as Cracker, The Street and Accused. Yet few may know of his excellent documentary work, he wrote Hillsborough in 1996, documenting the disaster for ITV, Sunday, charting the events of Bloody Sunday and dramatizes the lives of Mary, Queen of Scots and James I in Gunpowder, Treason and Plot. His partner in Care may not be so well known but she has kept parents sane and children amused for hours, writing several episodes of The Tweenies! It was Gillian’s own life experiences that drove the idea for this drama and her influence and ability cannot be underestimated.
Sheridan Smith has gone from strength to strength, from her early appearances on The Royle Family and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, she has developed into a variety of roles and received critical acclaim for her roles in Mrs Briggs, Cilla and The C Word. She has also appeared in the West End in several productions. In Care she demonstrates her ability to draw empathy and portray a woman genuinely broken and torn between what to do for people she loves.
Accompanying Sheridan is venerable actress Alison Steadman, a stalwart of the British acting scene who made Channel 4’s Top 50 actors list in 2007 and has an Olivier Award to her name. Alison gives a moving performance as Mary in a difficult role and the chemistry between her and Sheridan Smith is heartwarming.
The programme also features Sinead Keenan, Macy Shackleton and Lola Shaw.
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