Channel 4 has revealed a new upcoming drama titled Help – and it’s safe to say that the personnel attached already mark it out as something of a must-watch.
Prolific screenwriter Jack Thorne (National Treasure, His Dark Materials) has penned the script, which is about the relationship between a young care home worker and a patient, while Marc Munden – who recently directed several episodes of Sky’s The Third Day – helms the project.
As for the cast, British TV stars don’t get much bigger or better than Stephen Graham and Jodie Comer at the moment, and the Scouse pair take on the two lead roles in this drama.
Read on for everything else you need to know about Help.
When is Help released?
It’s still too early for any details about a broadcast date for the drama, but filming on the one-off two hour programme is planned to get started in 2021.
We’d expect late 2021 at the very earliest, but it could be 2022 before we see Help on our television screens.
What is Help about?
The series is based in a Liverpool care home and follows the relationship between a young worker, Sarah, and a patient, Tony, specifically detailing the effect that the coronavirus pandemic has had on them.
The official synopsis reads, “Sarah is smart, but she’s never fitted in, not in education and not in work. Her family told her she’d never amount to anything but she unexpectedly finds her calling as a carer at Sunshine Homes. Sarah has a special talent for connecting with the residents, including one in particular, 47-year-old Tony. 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. She and her colleagues tirelessly fight tooth and nail, ill-equipped, poorly prepared, and seemingly left helpless by the powers that be.
“A determined Sarah goes to extraordinary lengths to protect those in her care, whose conditions make their suffering and isolation all the more traumatic. But the staff’s unwavering commitment, compassion and heroic efforts can only do so much, and Sarah is pushed into a dark corner and desperately looks for a way out.”
Writer Jack Thorne has explained how he had been hoping to write something for Comer and Graham for a while but had been struggling for inspiration with the project until recently.
“About two years ago Stephen Graham came to me with an idea to write something for him and Jodie Comer,” he said. 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. It’s been both a long process and a short one, trying to find a way to tell this story, the amazing thing has been sharing in working out the story with Stephen, Jodie, the amazing Marc Munden, Beth Willis and everyone at the Forge and Channel 4.
“30,000 people have died unnecessarily in these care homes because of the indifference and incompetence of our government. Hearing the stories of those at the frontline, having people break down in tears on zoom in front of us has been incredibly moving and galling.
“Getting the story right will be incredibly important, we are aware of the pressure upon us, this has to be written and made with anger and precision. We hope we do it justice.”
The two lead roles are played by Killing Eve star Jodie Comer and prolific film and TV actor Stephen Graham, who has previously worked with Thorne on This is England and The Virtues.
On the announcement of the series, Comer said, “I am, of course, thrilled to finally 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.”
And Graham added, “Jack is one of the greatest and most truthful writers of our generation and in Help he has crafted a profoundly important piece of social realism. I’ve wanted to work with Jodie for ages, and together we’re hugely passionate about shining a light on one of the biggest tragedies of our time and the people at the heart of it.”
Further casting news has not been announced at this point, but we’ll keep this page updated as and when we hear any further news.
Given production isn’t set to start until 2021, it will be a while before we can expect a trailer or any first look images – but we’ll post anything here as soon as it becomes available.
Looking for something else to watch? Check out our TV Guide.