Did we like it?
Tony Robinson (Baldrick, Time Team, star of Maid Marion, he used to get his kit off on Who Dares Wins) claimed this was the most important TV he’s ever done – and he certainly succeeded in getting across the message that while we spend billions on war “it’s unforgivable for us to continue to systematically ignore our old people any longer.”
What was good about it?
• Although Tony had an important message to get across, he restrained himself from climbing on to a high horse or occupying the moral high ground, and just tackled the subject with humanity and sensitivity
• With superb timing, Tony’s 91-year-old mother Phyllis died on the final day of filming, to round off the documentary with moments of real poignancy. No longer does she have to suffer the indignity of being lifted in and out of cars or sitting silently in a confused Alzheimer’s hell.
• Tony’s admiration for the woman who spends 24 hours a day caring for her sick mother, trapped in a council flat, yet actually enjoying her role. Tony felt guilty that he was unable to do the same for his mother – but no-one could blame him for handing her care to a residential home.
• Tony’s admission that he went into “play-acting mode” when he visited his mother, gabbling away cheerily, not knowing if anything he said was being understood.
What was bad about it?
Channel 4 didn’t manage to come up with one of their tacky documentary titles. Celebrity’s Mum’s Death would have been suitably insensitive. I’m A Celebrity’s Mum With Alzheimer’s, Get Me Out Of Here maybe. Celebrity Wrestling With His Conscience? Strictly Come Dying?