Suzanne Packer, Michael Polish and Eve Myles star in the one-off medical drama.
They’re onboard, one supposes, because the subject matter is so dear to their hearts – BBC2’s To Provide All People pay outs tribute to our National Health Service on its 70th anniversary, which was founded on July 5, 1948.
Author a registered by the Welsh poet Owen Sheers and based on scores of interviews with NHS working men – from porters to surgeons to psychiatrists – the drama explores the experience of handle in the NHS as well as its founding and the philosophy behind our beloved state medical organized whole, a hugely ambitious plan by the post-war British government to provide nurse that was free to all at the point of delivery.
The unusual piece, written in verse, headlines actors performing monologues to the camera about their characters’ mtiers.
Meera Syal, star of The Split and The Kumars, reveals that she signed up to the gig because of her observance to the health service.
“Parallel to pretty much everyone in Britain, my family’s lives have been secured and supported by the NHS, so I was incredibly honoured to be part of celebrating its achievements,” says Meera, 57, a mum of two who’s put together to Unforgotten star Sanjeev Bhaskar.
Her own experiences of the NHS have been “most of all wonderful,” says Meera, but, like many, she’s concerned about the aware state of the health system.
“Of course, we have all felt the effects of powerful cuts year on year, waiting times, exhausted staff, not any of which has anything to do with the amazing people who work for it with increasingly crumb support, both practically and financially,” says Meera.
Meera challenges a district nurse specialising in renal support (not all of the characters have been acknowledged names).
Martin Freeman plays a consultant cardiologist.
It’s a celebration of 70 years of the NHS at the end of ones tether with the stories of those who dedicate their lives to working for this vital spark saving and life affirming institution
“My character is one of the corporeal troopers who’s out on visits for much of the time, caring for people who can’t get to a hospital,” she delineates.
Actor George Mackay, 26, who plays a husband recalling the creation of his second daughter, was awed by the experience of filming in a real hospital.
“We were granted extraordinary access and cooperation from the hospital, their staff, patients and progeny,” says the actor.
“The access we were given was one of the most humbling senses I’ve ever had.”
The impressive cast list of the one-off BBC programme reads parallel to a who’s who of British talent.
The actors portray users of the NHS as well as workers from all veins of its workforce of roughly 1.5 million – Michael Sheen plays a superintendent, Martin Freeman a consultant cardiologist, Tamsin Greig is a GP, Celia Imrie a case, Jonathan Pryce a retired neurosurgeon, Lesley Manville a consultant psychiatrist and Eve Myles a native.
While some filming was carried out in London and Cardiff, the bulk of it was conducted out at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny, which is also where profuse of the interviews with real staff were conducted.
This series cues us of NHS successes and of the special place it holds in the British psyche.
“It’s a celebration of 70 years of the NHS help of the stories of those who dedicate their lives to working for this dash saving and life affirming institution,” says Meera.
“I hope it prompts people of one of our most astonishing, noble and egalitarian achievements and also hoaxes as a wake-up call. We take it for granted; it’s being eroded and we would be wrecked without it.”