New BBC TV series highlights benefits of singing for dementia suffers

In a new two-part series for BBC One, co-produced by the Open University, BAFTA-award winning actor Vicky McClure explores the true extent of music’s power in fighting dementia.

Joining forces with the University of Nottingham and University College London, and specialists from the fields of medicine, music therapy and performance, McClure forms a special choir whose members rehearse together for three months to put on one ‘unforgettable’ performance at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham in front of an audience of 2,000 people.

Among the choir members are people with different types of dementia and at different stages of advancement, including those in the later stages. The youngest is 31-year-old Daniel who was diagnosed with a rare form of genetic Alzheimer’s in 2017. A former drummer, Dan takes part in a cutting edge experiment to see how his brainwaves are affected when he tries to play the drums again.

Research findings from the series form part of a wider three year study by Professor Seb Crutch from the University College London.

Vicky McClure has direct personal experience of dementia, through caring for her Nana Iris, who died in 2015. During that period, and through her role with the Alzheimer’s Society, the actor has seen first-hand how music and singing affect dementia patients and those who love and care for them.

Our Dementia Choir
Episode 1: 20.00 BST, Thursday 2 May 2019, BBC One
Episode 2: 20.00 BST, Thursday 9 May 2019, BBC One

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