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Welch returns with exploration of survivors of unimaginable horror
DENISE Welch has been busy throughout the last year.
First, there was her book, The Unwelcome Visitor, being published last March.
In January this year, she joined the cast of Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, and now there’s her new documentary series launching on factual TV channel Crime+Investigation, called Survivors with Denise Welch. In each of the six episodes, we see the host speak to someone who has been forced to confront unimaginable horror – and yet has lived to tell the tale.
Cases featured in the sixpart series include a vicious, unprovoked stabbing by a stranger and a diabolical acid attack, and there are also interviews with friends and family of the survivors, plus a criminal barrister’s expert commentary.
It’s a thought-provoking exploration of what it means to live with the trauma of enduring such horrific crimes, and the incredible effort and courage required to rebuild a life in the aftermath.
Welch says: “It’s a project that probably I wouldn’t have
trusted myself with, if anybody else had trusted it with me years ago.
“But I think that my own mental health advocacy and my own sobriety [she gave up drinking alcohol in 2012] has made me into a person that is perhaps more empathetic and a very good listener.”
Instead of taking notes into the interviews, she allowed it to just flow as a natural conversation.
“And if that meant sometimes that I imparted something about my life, that wasn’t me trying to go, ‘Oh, and this is also about me’,” she says.
“I did experience – many, many years ago – coercive control and emotional abuse, and although that isn’t me trying to say, ‘Mine was as bad as yours’ or anything like that, it meant that I could hopefully show some empathy and just allegiance to, for example, Bethany [Marchant, a survivor of a three-hour domestic abuse ordeal at the hands of her boyfriend], when she was talking about it.”