It’s hard to think of three people who are busier right now. Rising British star Jodie Comer is everywhere – shooting the final series of Killing Eve, appearing opposite Ryan Reynolds in Free Guy, even giving a small but pivotal performance in Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker. Then there’s Stephen Graham, fresh off the back of acclaimed drama Time, a recurring role in Save Me, soon to be seen in the Venom sequel, and currently shooting the movie musical adaptation of Matilda. And then you’ve got Jack Thorne, who writes like he’s running out of time – having penned the final series of His Dark Materials, the recent film adaptation of The Secret Garden, as well as Millie Bobby Brown’s Enola Holmes, of which he’s currently writing the sequel. Phew. Somehow, though, the three have squeezed in Channel 4’s upcoming one-off 2-hour drama Help, with Comer and Graham starring, and Thorne on writing duties. How’s that for a trio of talent? Here’s an exclusive first look image.
Set in Comer and Graham’s native Liverpool, Help stars Comer as care home worker Sarah, whose lack of confidence begins to turn around when she discovers that her talents lie in making connections with the residents at Sunshine Homes – including Stephen Graham’s Tony, a 47-year-old man facing Young Onset Alzheimer’s. Together, Sarah and Tony make a great team – but then the Coronavirus pandemic comes out of nowhere, with a storm of consequences that will affect them both deeply. To add a fourth supremely talented collaborator into the mix, Help is directed by Marc Munden – who shot Thorne’s Secret Garden screenplay, Channel 4’s Utopia, and the Jude Law episodes of The Third Day.
“About two years ago Stephen Graham came to me with an idea to write something for him and Jodie Comer,” says Thorne of the drama. “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.”
Help is coming soon to Channel 4 and All 4 – keep an eye out for more news in the coming weeks and months.