BBC Factual has ordered Ed Balls: Care in Crisis (w/t), a “revealing and thought-provoking” two-part series from Expectation for BBC Two and iPlayer, in which Ed returns to Yorkshire to spend time in a typical mid-sized care home, St Cecilia’s in Scarborough.

Recently, Ed Balls watched his mother move into a care home, with dementia. She entered a system in crisis, a crisis which has only been deepened by the Covid pandemic.

Now, the economist and former politician, is taking an immersive journey into the elderly care sector, to explore what’s gone wrong and what could help put it right.

Ed Balls said: ““The crisis in social care is deepening, and we need to work together to sort it now. Because my mum has dementia and lives in a care home, I thought I knew what happened in them, but as I started to dig deeper into the realities of the issues that care workers face daily, I realised I’ve only ever scratched the surface.

“Covid exposed and accelerated a long-term decline in this country’s provision for adult social care, but it’s also given us a chance to do something about it. It’s for our parents now and our children’s futures that we must take this chance to understand more about what’s needed and do something before it’s all too late.”

Patrick Holland, Director, Factual, Arts and Classical Music Television, said: “Adult social care is one of the most important issues facing us as a society. How we care for our most vulnerable is a question that transcends  party politics asking us to deeply examine our values, priorities and hopes as a society. Ed’s personal and professional experience puts him in a unique position to explore the factors at work in this most complex and urgent of public service debates.”

Colin Barr, Executive Producer, said: “There couldn’t be a more pressing time to examine the crisis in elderly care, and there couldn’t be a better person to do it with, than Ed. His willingness to immerse fully and explore with empathy, is what makes him unique. I know this subject is particularly close to his heart and he’ll pour everything into understanding the challenges facing staff, residents and families as we emerge from Covid.”

Living and working alongside the staff and residents, Ed will get a taste of the challenges they face, including hearing heart-rending stories of the devastation wreaked by Covid.

He’ll meet families from all walks of life who’ll share their experiences of their sacrifices and struggles in dealing with a relative or parent in care. And he’ll travel beyond Yorkshire to see how individual care homes and councils have responded to the crisis in innovative ways.

Armed with his findings, Ed will sit down with those in power – in local government and Whitehall – to discuss what he’s seen and explore possible reforms to incredibly complex problems.

Ed Balls: Crisis in Care (w/t), a 2×60’ made by Expectation for BBC Two and iPlayer, was commissioned by Catherine Catton, Head of Commissioning, Popular Factual and Factual Entertainment. The Executive Producer is Colin Barr and the Commissioning Editor is Clare Mottershead.

Jon Creamer

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