Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham open up on “chilling” truth behind story of Help

The new drama takes place in a care home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Radio Times Podcast - Hosted by Jane Garvey

Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham have discussed their hard-hitting pandemic drama Help, while featuring as guests on the first episode of the new Radio Times Podcast.

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From the mind of superstar screenwriter Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials, The Virtues), the series takes place in a care home at the time of the initial COVID-19 outbreak.

Comer leads the Help cast as care worker Sarah, a staff member at the fictional Sunshine Homes, who strikes up a special bond with 47-year-old Tony, who is suffering from Early-Onset Alzheimer’s.

Speaking to Radio Times Podcast host Jane Garvey, Comer opened up about a realisation she had about care workers like her character in preparation for the role.

She said: “What is incredible about these men and women who do this role, and even having spoken to them on Zoom, was that there is no black and white in the care system. They all act on impulse of ‘how would I want to be treated? How would I want my mother to be treated?’

Comer continued: “It isn’t residents and carers, it’s like a family. It’s an extended family. And these people become just as important to them as their own blood relatives. The most heart-warming thing that I learned was that they’re so involved in these people’s lives. It takes a lot.”

When Garvey pointed out that this crucial and highly committed work is carried out for as little as £8.50 per hour, Graham replied: “Exactly.”

Killing Eve star Comer added that it’s a “chilling” reality that Help raises awareness of.

“And that’s what’s really chilling about when you get to the end of the film and the facts roll, and you see the reality of what these people are living through, and the extent to which they work in, and what that work entails. It’s just huge.”

Speaking about his role as Tony, Graham explained: “When we got to rehearsals, I met this wonderful woman called Nikki, who works in the dementia field.

“Because I had to isolate for 10 days in my hotel while my lot had COVID, I really intensely got into the role in a strange way, do you know what I mean? It was a real benefit for me, and I got to meet some beautiful people.

“They had like a coffee and a tea morning once a week, and I got to join them in that, and I really got a sense of what I wanted to try to do with my part in this, which was not to play the disease, not play the illness, but play the person.”

Listen to the Radio Times Podcast for the complete interview with Stephen Graham and Jodie Comer. Produced by Somethin’ Else, The Radio Times Podcast hosted by Jane Garvey is available every Wednesday on radiotimes.com/podcasts, and via all major podcast providers.

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Help premieres on Channel 4 on Thursday 16th September at 9pm. Looking for something else to watch? Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.