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C4 orders Jack Thorne Covid drama

UK broadcaster Channel 4 has ordered a Covid-themed drama from writer Jack Thorne and a documentary about disgraced celebrity publicist Max Clifford.

Jack Thorne

C4’s director of programmes Ian Katz announced the commissions during a virtual event held by the channel yesterday.

Written by Thorne, Help (working title) is a 1×120’ drama starring Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) and Stephen Graham (White House Farm, This is England). It will be directed by Marc Munden and produced by prodco The Forge in association with One Shoe Films.

Set in a Liverpool care home, the drama tells the story of the relationship between a young carer (Comer) and a patient with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (Graham), whose lives are changed forever by the coronavirus pandemic.

Thorne, Munden, Comer and Graham are exec producing the drama with The Forge’s MD George Faber and exec producer Beth Willis. Jenny Frayn is producing.

Thorne said: “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. It’s been both a long process and a short one, trying to find a way to tell this story.

“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.”

The as-yet-unnamed Max Clifford doc, meanwhile, goes behind the headlines to reveal the story of the notorious publicist who was jailed in 2014 for indecent assaults on underage girls and young women.

Produced by Story Films, the 1×90’ film features previously unheard audio recordings of Clifford and devastating testimony from his victims.

“Story Films has used fine journalistic skills to uncover new material that sheds fresh light on the man who was hailed as the king of the celebrity-focused press and, as such, seemed untouchable,” said Sacha Mirzoeff, factual commissioner and head of Channel 4 Bristol.

“With skilful storytelling and strong testimony from a variety of friends, colleagues and victims it starts to reveal and unravel the mind of the convicted sex offender who was one of the most powerful and complex public figures of his generation – full of contradiction, self-importance and myth-making.”



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