Posts Tagged ‘documentary’

Beti and David

Lovely review in the Daily Telegraph for ‘Beti and David: Lost for Words’. The response to the programme has been overwhelming for all involved.

Beti George let the cameras into her home to show people what it is like caring for a partner with dementia. She always intended her story to represent the thousands of carers across the UK who are looking after a loved-one.

Beti told a BBC event today: “People think I’ve been brave but this is the reality. We have to show what’s going on behind closed doors, as honestly as we can.”

The film was first shown on BBC Wales, and was shown in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland last night. It will be on the BBC I-Player for the next 30 days.

Jasper Rees in the Daily Telegraph:

Eighteen years ago, the filmmaker Paul Watson made a ground-breaking documentary about Alzheimer’s called Malcolm and Barbara: A Love Story. It portrayed a wife caring for a husband as he gradually disappeared into the disease’s personality-erasing maw. Ten years ago, Watson went back to film Malcolm’s last days and, controversially, his death. Alas, as seen in Beti and David: Lost for Words (BBC One), the story has not moved on.

For anyone who knows their Welsh rugby, David Parry-Jones was a familiar camel-coated figure whose voice described Llanelli’s famous win over the All Blacks in 1972. His wife Beti George, who hosts a weekly show on Radio Cymru, is a bastion of Welsh-language broadcasting.

David was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009 and ever since has been losing those faculties which made him a consummate communicator. One of the first signs was his reluctance to check over documents Beti composed in English, her second language. Now he emits percussive hoots while the words get blocked in his mouth. Putting him to bed can take three hours. The demoralising business of cleaning up after him never stops. Beti doesn’t want to put him in a home, but worries about the lack of joined-up support for those with Alzheimer’s.

Beti and David: Lost for Words was shown on BBC One Wales last month, and nominally addresses the lack of available support in Wales. But it has a wider application as a moving portrait of love, loss and kindness.

Beti travelled to Scotland, where developments in care are more advanced, to try out a simulation kit which mimics the inhibiting impact of Alzheimer’s on balance, vision and manual dexterity. She returned home better informed and, although this seems impossible, even more patient and understanding. 

As the nation ages, there will only be more of this. The more people that watch this profound film on the iPlayer the better. Beautifully filmed by director Will Davies, it illustrated the consoling Larkinesque idea embodied in David’s enduring kisses and cheerful smiles: when everything else has evanesced, all that remains of us is love.

 

 

 

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Beti and David. Photo: Barry DaviesThere has been an incredible reaction to ‘Beti and David: Lost for Words’, an hour-long film broadcast this week on BBC One Wales (and still available on the BBC iPlayer).

Filmed over the course of many months, the film is a record of two people facing a terrible illness together. Since David’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s, his long-time partner Beti has become his carer.

The reaction on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere showed that the couple’s story struck an emotional chord with many.

David Parry-Jones was once one of the best-known faces in Wales – a news broadcaster and the voice of Welsh rugby during its glory days in the 1970s.

Beti George is still a broadcaster. Now she juggles her working life with looking after David and with campaigning for a better life for carers.

Through Beti’s experience the film reveals the challenges and frustrations faced by tens of thousands of carers across the UK, and questions the way society supports dementia carers.

Beti’s message is clear. ‘We need a revolution in dementia care’, she says.

 

When Wales This Week began filming with Hywel Jones there was a determination not to turn his story into a “misery film”.

That determination came from Hywel himself. But the aim would not necessarily be easily achieved: Hywel was dying of cancer.

He knew already that his condition was terminal. But he hoped that by portraying what he was going through he might help others.

From the first meeting to discuss the programme he displayed all the same qualities he would reveal on camera: courage, honesty and humour. You could not make a misery film with Hywel.

For six months we filmed with him, following him even to his appointments with his consultant.

In January, on camera, he was told he would probably live for only another six months.

Hywel wanted our programme to present the truth. This was the starkest truth. The prognosis turned out to be correct.

On Wednesday, July 4, at 1.30pm Hywel died.

It is not easy to write a tribute to someone like Hywel. That might seem a strange thing to say about someone who enriched so many lives but I’ll explain what I mean later.

When we started filming ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ Hywel was working on a song with his friend Rod Thomas.

It was a love song to Hywel’s wife, Cathy, and he wanted the song to be recorded by singer-songwriter Donna Lewis. They had once been in a band together.

Hywel contacted Donna in the United States and she agreed to sing it. Then, through incredible determination, he got Grammy Award-winning producer Trevor Horn to produce it.

Hywel aimed high and he hit his target. The song, ‘Always It’s You’, is now on sale to raise funds for Tenovus.

Hywel also wrote a blog and used Twitter to talk about his cancer. His final tweet described how he had been admitted to a hospice in Pontypridd so that doctors could deal with his pain.

He didn’t get to go home again. Donna came from the United States to visit her family and saw him before he died. Wales This Week was there too. In the end, the cameras stood back.

The words of another song come to me when I think of Hywel. “Let your mind rest easy, sleep well my friend/It’s only our bodies that betray us in the end”.

That’s a song about how the spirit of people who do something, create something, lives on.

Hywel was not defeated by cancer. It was always going to kill him but it never changed his determination to do what he wanted to do.

It never took away his zest for life, his honesty or his wicked sense of humour – that was still sharp and vital to the end.

Hywel’s family felt he was at peace in the final hours. A serenity he deserved.

And he died when he was ready to die: after he had said goodbye to his mother and while listening to his song, ‘Always It’s You’.

The way he lived his life and what he did with it is what really matters. Hywel created his own epitaph in the way he will be remembered by others.

That is why it is so difficult to write a tribute to Hywel. He did it so much better himself.

** You can watch ‘Do Not Go Gentle’ on the ITV website.