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Blood writer keen to portray motor neurone disease accurately: “Life doesn’t just stop”

Blood writer Sophie Petzal spoke to RadioTimes.com about the challenge of portraying a life with motor neurone disease sensitively.

Blood Grainne Keenan

Sophie Petzal – writer and creator of hit TV drama Blood – has spoken about the challenge of portraying motor neurone disease accurately during season two of the show.

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The Channel 5 drama was praised for its first season while the second run of the show came to an explosive end last week and is available to buy on DVD and digital from 11th May.

Main character Fiona Hogan – played by Grainne Keenan – suffers from MND, a condition she inherited from her mother whom the plot revolves around in the first season.

Petzal spoke of her desire to show a full and broad picture of life with the disease within the boundaries of Blood.

She said: “We talk about things that families pass down to their children, their trauma, their traits and it felt like a strand or theme that carried through the series.

“We thought, ‘How can we develop that? How can we make that real and interesting and not just a ‘thing’ that affects thousands of real people all over the world?’ – it’s something that is impactful and meaningful and true.

“This is a show about family, family dysfunction and family traumas – we’re not dealing with people who are at their happiest – but at the same time while you want to show the cruelty, the brutality, the quickness of a condition like motor neurone disease, you also don’t want to just say ‘That’s it, you can’t be happy now’.

Blood - Sesaon 2 - Episode 1

“We worked closely with the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) who connected and worked closely with our actors in series one and two.”

The 29-year-old writer – who is behind the wheel of an upcoming ITV project Hollington Drive – was keen to show that “life doesn’t just stop” for people living with the condition.

“We make key points across the series that there are characters reaching out to Fiona saying this isn’t how you have to go, there is joy for you, there are things in Fiona’s life that go beyond her condition.

“I think you also want to show normal people are stricken with this and look at what is it to be stricken with something like this when you’re a parent of two young children, your marriage is strained, life doesn’t just stop because of this illness.

“There is so much stress and things to manage, we wanted to do as much as possible to replicate the truth of that. It’s tricky and it’s sensitive and we wanted to be as sensitive as possible.”

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Blood season 2 and the 1-2 box set are out on DVD & digital from Monday 11th May