Set in a fictional Liverpool care home in spring 2020, a woman named Sarah (Jodie Comer) finds her calling as a carer at Sunshine Homes. She shares a particular bond with patient Tony (Stephen Graham) who has Young Onset Alzheimer’s.
But in March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic hits. Now Sarah and her colleagues have to “tirelessly fight tooth and nail, ill-equipped, poorly prepared, and seemingly left helpless by the powers that be”, according to the plot synopsis.
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Viewers seem to unanimously agree that the 98-minute drama accurately portrays the realities of what carers were up against during the height of the pandemic last year and many have praised the performances of Comer and Graham on Twitter.
Jodie Comer & Stephen Graham are literally national treasures. Their level of acting is second to none #Help 🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/dyjBZAyHcW
— Shredz (@Shredz90) September 16, 2021
Stephen Graham and Jodie Comer are impeccable, two of the greatest actors this country will ever produce. #Help
— Thomas Coley (@tomcoley28) September 16, 2021
This is an extraordinary performance from Jodie Comer.
There are no words that can do it justice.
It is truly off the scale.
— Karl Cunliffe (@KDCunliffe) September 16, 2021
Yeah so Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham need to win every award going for these performances. 👏🏻 #help pic.twitter.com/dmVUbrYkoa
— Ewan Hamilton (@oldmanhammy) September 16, 2021
Jodie Comer and Stephen Graham are an outrageous combination 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 #help
— Mr J O’Keeffe (@Mr_J_OKeeffe) September 16, 2021
jodie comer and stephen graham,, please pay our therapy bills you broke our hearts 🥲
— mirte (@camillasoksana) September 17, 2021
People were particularly touched by Comer’s monologue at the end, delivered in the back of a police car, where she talks about society’s unwillingness to care. She tearfully asks: “When did our lives stop being worth the same, eh?”
Jodie Comer is an extraordinary talent – there aren’t many around like her
Liverpool is rightly very proud of her
— Liam Thorp (@LiamThorpECHO) September 17, 2021
— 🕴 (@ohscomer) September 16, 2021
I’m broken. Jodie Comer has just delivered the performance of her career in that 20-minute (or so) scene. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single scene as powerful as that on television ever. Awards can’t reward this drama highly enough. Real change has to happen. #Help
— Elliot Gonzalez (@elliot_gonzalez) September 16, 2021
AND THIS IS HOW JODIE COMER BECOMES A TWO-TIME BAFTA AWARD WINNERpic.twitter.com/QocisrieFX
— best of killing eve (@killingevex) September 16, 2021
Jodie Comer everybody. That is all. #Help pic.twitter.com/cj7nYXghhK
— Tierna McNally (@tiernamcnally) September 17, 2021
The drama also reflected viewers’ own personal experiences and similar struggles during the pandemic.
I don’t know about anyone else. But the #Help on @Channel4 last night really got to me. We lost my father in law in those early days. It brought back all the heart break and fear. I slept awfully. An absolutely amazing show. Amazing performance by #jodiecomer
— Jess Branch ⧖⃝ (@jesst42) September 17, 2021
I lost my Dad to Covid whilst he was ‘safe’ in his care home!!! This has broken me 18 months on! Lambs to the slaughter. I am so sorry Dad 😥😥😥💛💛💛@remember_me_yel
— Annette Allen (@Annette93921745) September 16, 2021
I’m a critical care nurse nothing has ever moved me like this has jodie comer and Stephen Graham unbelievable and outstanding sorry I have no words other than thanks for letting the world see how undervalued and underpaid our social care workers are
— Rachel Alvers (@RachelAlvers) September 16, 2021
As someone who managed a care home through Covid, thank you for the reality. I watched through tears 😢 I left my job 4 weeks ago. 25 years in Social care, the last 18 months took me beyond exhaustion, Social care is forgotten by those in power.
— Susan Powell (@SMW807) September 16, 2021
Having watched this and my mother who is a resident in a severely covid affected care home.. My heart aches then and now for the staff and all us families left helpless through this nightmare… Thank you to everyone involved in making this 💔💕
— Janine Fisher (@janinep09) September 17, 2021
The drama also has BAFTA award-winning writer Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials, National Treasure) and BAFTA award-winning director Marc Munden (The Third Day, Utopia) on board.
“There were carers who felt responsible [for the crisis], and that was the bit that felt unforgiveable for me,” Thorne told the BBC. “Carers are massively undervalued, and they were massively undervalued during the pandemic.
Munden told the same publication: “We were talking to people who hadn’t had time to grieve, and they felt responsible, but they also felt they’d been betrayed, and that was really upsetting. Because it hadn’t stopped by the time we’d started the research. I do feel the government completely betrayed the care sector compared with the NHS.”
The Help is now available to watch on All 4.
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