BBC Dementia Drama “Care” Divides Opinion

The new BBC One drama “Care” – about a young woman and her mother who is suddenly affected by vascular dementia after a stroke – has made a powerful impression, but has also divided opinion.

The 90-minute drama, written by Jimmy McGovern, aired last Sunday and told the heart-breaking story of Jenny (played by Sheridan Smith), a single mother, who is suddenly forced to care for Mary (Alison Steadman) as well as raising her children and holding down a job.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Society, praised the drama, saying: “Programmes like ‘Care’ show the true day to day struggles of people affected by dementia.

“While our politicians are distracted with Brexit, real-life ‘Jennys’ have been forgotten by our government. They are making huge financial and emotional sacrifices, and struggling to navigate the system to get support. Just last week, we heard someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s tell the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia that many people have given up fighting, because they can’t fight both the disease and the system. We are so pleased that the BBC has chosen to highlight this hidden injustice so powerfully.”

However, the Daily Mail compiled a litany of negative responses to the programme – focusing on the portrayal of “callous” health and social care workers.

“How to terrify older people into being scared of dementia,” was just one of the comments the newspaper highlighted.

Jimmy McGovern is the writer behind many classic gritty TV drama series, such as “Cracker”, “The Lakes” and “Accused”.

He said that the dilemma Jenny faces is shared by thousands of unpaid, so-called “sandwich carers”.

“Caring costs her her job, her personal life and this is a reality for many families affected by dementia,” he stated.