n the UK, women make up 70 per cent of dementia carers - and 20 per cent of those go from full-time to part-time work in order to do it. It’s these statistics that writer Gillian Juckes wanted to focus on in new 90-minute drama Care, which will air on BBC One, and stars Sheridan Smith, Alison Steadman and Sinead Keenan.
Although a fictional account, the topic is something she’s had experience with - and it makes for a heartwrenching watch.
“We’re not treating dementia with the dignity it deserves,” declares Juckes, who co-wrote the one-off programme with Jimmy McGovern (he’s penned hit dramas such as The Street and Broken).
“It’s an illness, like cancer is an illness, and people are suffering; they’re not getting the right care.”
Smith, 37, plays Jenny, a motherof-two raising her girls alone after the departure of her husband Dave.
She relies heavily on her widowed mum Mary (played by Alison Steadman) for help with childcare, so that she can work full-time at a supermarket.
But when Mary suffers a devastating stroke and develops dementia, Jenny finds her life completely changed; suddenly, she is responsible for looking after her mum, and her daughters, and cannot carry on working.
Plus, she soon realises she has a fight on her hands when it comes to getting the best care for Mary along with some tough choices to make.
Smith, and her co-star, Irish actress Keenan, are asked if they tried to laugh in between takes on set for Care, to detract from how dark the material was.
“I think every actor takes it differently and does their own thing,”