It’s A Sin, Small Axe, Stephen and now, airing tonight, Channel 4’s Help. Vital political drama has made a big comeback in 2021, and not a moment too soon.
Help, written by Jack Thorne and starring Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham, is the best kind of political drama. It is political drama fueled by fury but with a real clarity of purpose and storytelling.
The feature-length C4 drama is set in a fictional Liverpool care home during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic as Sarah (Comer) takes a job and finds her vocation, which is helping Tony (Graham), a man living with young-onset dementia.
Although the characters are fictional, it is based on the real life stories of those at the frontline of the pandemic – and these stories demand to be heard.
Ex-Media Minister John Whittingdale’s last major speech before he was reshuffled out of the cabinet involved him telling the Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge: “In our upcoming white paper, we intend to include proposals that will expand the remit of public service broadcasters, so that it includes a requirement for them to produce ‘distinctively British’ content.”
Examples given included Only Fools and Horses, Doctor Who, Blackadder, Fleabag and the Carry On films.