How do we love thee, Jodie Comer? Let us count the ways.
The Killing Eve and Doctor Foster star is 100% the sort of actor who commands our attention when she’s onscreen, always. But, other than Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads, our TV screens have been sadly devoid of Comer’s talent for what feels like forever.
Forgive us, then, for falling over ourselves in excitement when we learned that she’s due to star in a new Channel 4 drama. Especially as it’s going to give her the chance to showcase her native Liverpool accent, too.
Set in a fictional Liverpool care home, Help sees Comer take on the role of Sarah, a young carer who forges a real bond with Tony (Stephen Graham), a 47-year-old with Young Onset Alzheimer’s.
For a while, it seems as if her life is well and truly back on track, with her new career and friendships going some way towards rebuilding the self-esteem that her bullying family shattered.
“A determined Sarah goes to extraordinary lengths to protect those in her care, whose conditions make their suffering and isolation all the more traumatic,” reads the official synopsis.
“But the staff’s unwavering commitment, compassion and heroic efforts can only do so much, and Sarah is pushed into a dark corner and desperately looks for a way out.”
Penned by BAFTA award-winning writer Jack Thorne, and directed by The Third Day’s Marc Munden, Help promises to be an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish.
“About two years ago Stephen Graham came to me with an idea to write something for him and Jodie Comer. 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,” explains Thorne.
Thorn continues: “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.”
Graham, meanwhile, says: “Jack is one of the greatest and most truthful writers of our generation and in Help he has crafted a profoundly important piece of social realism. I’ve wanted to work with Jodie for ages, and together we’re hugely passionate about shining a light on one of the biggest tragedies of our time and the people at the heart of it.”
And Comer adds: “I am, of course, thrilled to finally be working alongside Stephen and the supremely talented Jack, Marc and those at Channel 4. For us to be able to explore such a relevant and emotive story through the eyes of such beautifully real characters, and in our home city of Liverpool, is a real honour.
“We’re determined to do justice to so many of the untold stories and heroes that have been affected as a result of this crisis and to handle them with care.”
Filming on Help will commence in 2021, and the drama is expected to air later that same year on Channel 4.
We will bring you more details as and when they become available.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.