Help! – TV Review

A friend of mine told me about this TV drama movie starring the brilliant Jodie Comer of ‘Killing Eve’ fame. All I knew was that it was about a Care Home during the pandemic but with her involved I thought it would probably be very good. She has a trusted record for really getting into character and this topic was close to my heart as I used to work through weekends and holidays in a Care Home.

‘Help!’ is the story of a woman looking for a job and managing to get one working for a Care Home. She was a natural with the residents, who happened to include Tony, a character with dementia played by Stephen Graham (White House Farm).

A gripping drama based on reality, with fictional characters. Help movie review.

Jodie said in an interview that she was looking for a chance to work with Stephen and they were both really pleased to be able to keep their Liverpudlian accents whilst in these roles. Stephen’s character had early onset dementia and so was often confused about whether or not his mother was alive. He spent lots of time trying to escape the Home and get back to the home he used to share with her. Meanwhile, covid was starting to show up on the news and Care Homes started scrabbling around for basic protection. This showed how creative care workers had to be as there was a widespread shortage of PPE. Wearing builders’ masks and bin bags, carers had to do their best to carry on looking after residents without safety measures to prevent them from catching this awful bug.

Jodie’s character had a difficult family and really needed this job but didn’t expect to find herself working alone one evening. Her boss was at home ill and her other colleague didn’t show up for the night shift. Struggling to manage a Covid patient, she roped Tony in to help her.

Some close camera work followed her emotional rollercoaster as she did her best to try and get an ambulance and continuously had NHS 111 on speakerphone in her pocket while she looked after residents, desperate for assistance. Her family had preferred that she didn’t work in care but it was clear that this was where she belonged.

Covering the crisis in care very realistically, this TV drama is 98 minutes long and very powerful. It reminds us how Covid patients in hospitals were offloaded onto Care Homes and left to transmit the disease in a setting where there was little defence. Residents were not allowed to have visitors and some relatives came to speak to them through the windows. The dire situation was worsened as staff became ill and staff shortages increased many times over.

Jodie and Stephen did a great job of portraying characters who provided an insight into this very recent, very troubling period. You may be used to Jodie Comer doing accents, but this time she used her own. Not only did I feel the acting was magnificent but it also made me feel so sad that so many families had to go through such traumatic times.

For more TV suggestions check out this blog post. If you liked my Help movie 2021 review please consider following my blog for more about books, TV and the environment.

TV Shows Worth Watching Now

As it’s summer, I have had plenty of time to get hooked on new TV shows and as a blogger my instinct tells me to share. In this article I want to celebrate another couple of programmes that have gained my viewership and entertained me thoroughly this summer. Usually I enjoy watching comedies and dramas, so here are my reviews of one of each.

Schmigadoon

This little gem came from nowhere. I was ready to watch another episode of ‘Physical’ on AppleTV+ (See my previous review) when I stumbled across a trailer for a new comedy series, styled like a 1950s musical. Before long I was checking it out and totally entertained.

The cast is led by Keegan-Michael Key (The Prom) and Cecily Strong (Ghostbusters 2016). Supported by Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming, the talented singers and dancers bring a charming production which is nostalgic and funny.

This comedy is all singing and all dancing.

With plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour and lots of glitz, this series doesn’t take itself too seriously. It takes off classic movies such as ‘The Sound of Music’ with affection and is a great distraction from the rigour of modern living. The couple are having marital problems and whilst camping, find a bridge that traps them in a town which seems stuck in the 1950s. The town has nods to ‘Oklahoma’ as does the theme tune. They can only return to New York if they can prove they really love someone. Maybe confirm their love for each other even.

Big Sky

Having watched half of the season of ten episodes, I am right in the midst of the drama. The thing that tempted me to view this Star/ Disney Plus show was the fact that it was scripted by the incredible David E Kelley (Big Little Lies/ husband to Michelle Pfeiffer). Interestingly Michelle’s sister appears in this gripping drama, which includes a guest appearance from Ryan Phillippe.

I don’t want to give anything away about this. It is best just to switch it on and see what you think. To start with, episode one introduced some private detectives who were squabbling over an affair. Then we met some teenagers who were driving to Colorado from Montana. Everything seemed great until it was revealed that recently lots of young women had gone missing along the route they were taking.

This series has breath-taking scenes set in beautiful Montana and covers trafficking, which is a harrowing issue and involves shipping women over the border to Canada. The script is clever and many of the characters have funny lines to say which make you smile. The state trooper is particularly quirky, witty and scary (all at once).

These two shows are both proving to be successful and entertaining. Big Sky is already on its second season and I am sure Schmigadoon will soon follow. Six episodes are definitely not enough.

I hope that you consider checking out one of these TV series. If you enjoyed this post please follow my blog and help me grow the platform.