Acorn TV announced today the premiere date for Help, the critically-acclaimed, award-winning drama telefilm starring Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham.
The winner of the 2021 Rose d’Or Award for Best Drama, Help follows a young care worker whose talent and skills, as well as her mental and physical health, are put to the test under horrific circumstances after the coronavirus pandemic hits in March 2020. It stars Primetime Emmy® Award winner Jodie Comer (Killing Eve, Doctor Foster) and Royal Television Society, UK award winner Stephen Graham (The North Water, Line of Duty).
Help premieres in the US and Canada on Monday, January 31, 2022, exclusively on Acorn TV.
Sarah (Comer) has few qualifications and prospects in life, but she unexpectedly finds confidence working as a care assistant in a nursing home, where she discovers she has a special talent for looking after the residents. One in particular is 47-year-old Tony (Graham), who is suffering from early onset dementia, which causes him moments of confusion and aggression that the other members of staff find hard to handle.
Tony and Sarah begin to build a real bond, but everything she has gained is thrown into doubt with the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic. Sarah and her colleagues have to fight tooth and nail to get what they need, are ill equipped to deal with the level of stress and horror around them, and are badly led by an overwhelmed manager (Ian Hart, The Terror, The Last Kingdom) as they try to protect the residents. Confronted with the grim and imminent reality of losing Tony, Sarah may have to go to extreme measures to save her friend.
Help is written by BAFTA winner Jack Thorne (National Treasure, His Dark Materials), who shared this about how the film came to be:
“Help was written in extreme anger about the state of care – not just in the UK but around the world – and the lack of priority it was given around the world. Too many disabled people died in the pandemic because their needs weren’t prioritized. It was also written as a love song, to the care industry, my mom was a carer and I saw firsthand the beautiful effort she put in to looking after her clients and residents. An underpaid job, that is vital in our times, and those that kept going into those homes, despite of the risk to themselves, and despite the poor pay, are our true heroes.
“Doing research for this was a process unlike any other. I’ve written bleak stories before, but very few when the temperature of the room was still so hot. There is no doubt that many carers and residents are still struggling with shielding and with PTSD and I do think TV – that vital empathy box in the corner of the room – can help to shed light on this, and hopefully lead to an increased focus on the needs of the care home.
“It started as a provocation from Stephen Graham, write something for me and Jodie, write something about Liverpool. As it grew so we all took authorship of it, and we all grew together, inspired by the firsthand stories we were hearing. I am immensely proud of what we all made.”
Directed by Marc Munden (The Third Day, The Secret Garden), the drama costars Lesley Sharp (Scott & Bailey), Sue Johnston (Waking the Dead), David Hayman (Trial & Retribution), Angela Griffin (Brief Encounters), and Cathy Tyson (Whitstable Pearl).
The film is executive produced by Beth Willis (Doctor Who), George Faber (Collateral), and Christopher Moll (Lady Macbeth), as well as Thorne, Munden, Graham, and Comer.
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