Posts Tagged ‘television’

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.

 

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“Seventy-five per cent of my life I can keep in a normal context. I have to confess that the 25 per cent is my bogey man… It’s the place where I don’t like to linger for long.”

Those are the words of former Methodist minister Jim McWade, in this film made over the course of 12 months in 2010/11.

Jim’s bogey man is the Alzheimer’s disease he has battled since 2002.

Jim and his wife Maureen spoke with remarkable courage and clarity about the challenges posed by dementia.

We also filmed with Peter Oldacre, who was caring for his wife, Ann. “She was the girl that would go cartwheeling across the dance floor and, you know, be up at the first toot of the horn and still be wanting to go when everybody was ready to go home,” he said. “She was just the life and soul of everything really. She would try anything once, absolutely bonkers but lovely.”

In 2005, aged just 57, Ann started showing signs of confusion and memory loss. In 2007 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The speed of her decline was rapid.

Their stories represent a growing problem in our communities. Wales currently has an estimated 38,000 sufferers, with the Alzheimer’s Society in Wales expecting to see  a 33 per cent increase in dementia by 2020.

‘Living with Dementia’ received a best television programme award from the Guild of Health Writers UK.

“There’s a resilience in  Machynlleth which says Mark Bridger’s evil will not prevail.

That the goodness of a little girl will endure.

And that April Jones will always be remembered.”

Tribute: ‘APRIL: A WALES THIS WEEK SPECIAL’

 

 

A D-Day Commando, filter room girl and RAF evader feature in ‘Welsh Heroes of World War 2’ which is now available to watch on-line.

The three programmes take Ted Owens, Eileen Younghusband and John Evans on emotional trips down memory lane to revisit their WW2 experiences.

The series ends with RAF evader John Evans, who spent four months on the run in Occupied Belgium, paying tribute to the Resistance heroes who helped him.

And, in an historic moment, he meets up with one of the Luftwaffe aces whose job it was to shot RAF bombers down.

Watch the series here.

UPDATE: Received a message from Dr Rolf Ebhardt, the Luftwaffe nightfighter ace, who features in ‘Welsh Heroes of World War 2: Airman on the Run’. Rolf came to the UK to meet the programme’s main character, John Evans.

Have viewed the film, Rolf says: “I was impressed  about the marvellous outcome of the interview. So the two old men are still “going strong” (at least more or less!).
I am glad I could represent the former enemy in a dignified manner to your countrymen,which in turn helps for good relations between our two nations, to come together also in future in friendship.”

I filmed a long interview with Rolf, which has never been shown anywhere: this was his first TV appearance. We are now working on plans for another documentary.

 The Wales This Week special ‘The Bullseye Killer’ has won a British Academy Cymru Award (Bafta Cymru).

The hour-long documentary won a Bafta in the Current Affairs category of the awards at the Wales Millennium Centre.

The programme documented the crimes of John Cooper, one of the most notorious criminals in British history.

Cooper burgled, raped and murdered during a 15-year reign of terror, which included four executions by shotgun. And, far from keeping a low profile between crimes, he even took time to appear on the gameshow Bullseye.

ITV Wales had exclusive access to the police enquiry and the forensic science which finally trapped Cooper.

‘The Bullseye Killer’ was transmitted the night Cooper was jailed in May 2011.

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.

Wales This Week‘s film ‘Living With Dementia’, which was broadcast on ITV Wales last year, has won a Guild of Health Writers’ Award for Best Broadcast Programme.

The award was presented at the Royal Society of Medicine in Wimpole Street, London.

The film followed Jim McWade, who suffers with Alzheimer’s Disease, and his wife Maureen, and Peter Oldacre, who was looking after his wife Ann.

You can read about the making of the programme on the ITV Wales blog and watch it below.