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Caring on TV and film

When an issue is shown on TV and in film it can bring it to a wider audience and increase awareness, which is why we love it when caring is depicted on screen.

Remember when Mark Fowler was diagnosed with HIV in Eastenders? The storyline revealed the prejudices at the time and educated viewers about the discrimination that patients and their families were experiencing. The film 'Rain Man' starring Dustin Hoffman as a man with autism, brought the condition into the public consciousness. Millions of people who had never come across Autism now had some understanding, because of the film’s success.

Most people still don’t understand what caring entails, or about the issues that carers face, and one very effective way of combating this is to get it on the telly and into people’s front rooms!

We’ve found 10 excellent examples of caring shown on screen.

Can you think of any other great examples? Tell us on our Facebook page.


1. Eastenders (Soap) 2011

Dot Cotton becomes mentally and physically worn out caring at home for her husband who has a stroke, then faces the extremely difficult decision for him to go into residential care. The storyline developed because Dot’s on-screen husband Jim Branning had a stroke in real life and continued to act in the soap.



2. The Royle Family: “The Queen of Sheba” episode (Series) 2006

Nana moves in with the Royles and is cared for by her daughter Barbara.



3. The Wedding Gift (Film) 1993

Film based on real life experience of writer Deric Longden about life with his rapidly deteriorating wife Diana, who was suffering from an illness that doctors could not understand. Writer Deric Longden was a great supporter of Carers UK's Barnsley branch.

Starring Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Thora Hird.




4. Lost For Words (Film) 1999

Film based on another book by writer Deric Longden, about his relationship with his eccentric mother, as she gradually loses her memory.

Starring Thora Hird as the mother and Pete Postlethwaite as Deric.



5. Malcolm and Barbara – Love’s Farewell (Documentary) 2007

An update of 1999's powerful award winning documentary Malcolm and Barbara – A Love Story, which follows the couple Malcolm and Barbara Pointon as they deal with Malcolm's onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Malcolm was a talented composer and musician before his illness and the film follows Barbara as she attempts to care for Malcolm in their home whilst struggling with the health service as the disease takes hold.



6. The Savages (Film) 2007

Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman play siblings who begin caring for their father with dementia.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was Golden Globe-nominated for Best Actor for his performance as the neurotic professor who begrudgingly unites with his sister for the sake of their father. Laura Linney was Oscar-nominated for Best Actress.


7. Iris: A Memoir of Iris Murdoch (Film) 2001

This tells the true story of English novelist Iris Murdoch's descent into Alzheimer's disease and the unconditional love of John Bayley, her partner of 40 years.

Starring Jim Broadbent, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet.


8. When I get older (Documentary) 2012

This two-part series featured four different experiences of pensioners in the UK, one of which was 74-year-old Pat, who is a carer for her bedbound partner Malcolm, who suffered a series of strokes.



9. Louis Theroux: Extreme Love (Documentary) 2012

Louis Theroux looks at the extreme pressures placed on relationships by conditions such as autism and dementia, meeting both those diagnosed and the people who love and care for them.




10. BBC Scotland Investigates: Meet the Carers (Documentary) 2012

This documentary goes behind closed doors to find out what it's really like to be a carer - are carers getting the support they need or is Scotland turning its back on them?

Reporter Fiona Walker enters the world of carers and spends time with two families who are struggling to carry on caring for a loved one. They describe a role that is virtually unpaid and undervalued.



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