Is Help on Channel 4 based on a true story? How accurate is it?
16th September 2021

Help: Stephen Graham and Jodie Comer star in new show

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Help is set within Bright Sky Homes, a care home looking after the elderly and vulnerable. Starring Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham, the story is set before and during March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic first hit the UK. Express.co.uk has all the details on the film ahead of the Channel 4 premiere.

What is Help on Channel 4 about?

Directed by The Third Day’s Marc Munden and written by His Dark Material’s Jack Thorne, Help will be taking a look at how the coronavirus pandemic impacted care homes across the UK.

Focusing on one in Liverpool, the story follows Sarah (played by Jodie Comer), a care assistant that has found her calling at work.

She has a special talent for connecting with the residents of Bright Sky Homes, particularly Tony (Stephen Graham) a middle-aged resident with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

It is a difficult but rewarding job for Sarah, but her job and the lives of the residents are shaken when the coronavirus hits in March 2020.

The story will see how Bright Sky Homes, both the staff and residents alike, deal with one of the most overwhelming health crises in modern history.

Is Help on Channel 4 based on a true story?

The story written by BAFTA award-winning writer Thorne is a complete work of fiction, only using the real-world impact of COVID-19 to spearhead the narrative. 

While fictional, it is based on true events, as care homes across the UK were hit exceedingly hard throughout the pandemic.

Speaking to Channel 4, Thorne addressed the importance of the story, saying that he hopes the team “do it justice.”

Thorne explained: “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.”

Lead star Comer also wanted to stress the delicate storytelling in Help, revealing that she spoke to real care workers ahead of production.

Speaking to Radio Times, Comer 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 also revealed that viewers will be provided with the real facts of what happened in these care homes when the credits hit on the film.

The star 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.

“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.”

Help is a one-off TV movie that will air at 9pm on September 16 on Channel 4 and will be available to watch on All4 after the premiere.

Some of screenwriter Jack Throne’s other credits include Enola Holmes, The Eddy, The Accident, Kiri and This is England ‘90.

Director Marc Munden is also known for Utopia, National Treasure and Black Sails.

Help premieres Thursday, September 16 at 9pm on Channel 4.

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