Skip to main content

Our Dementia Choir – BBC1

Line of Duty star Vicky McClure singing in her show Our Dementia Choir
(Image credit: BBC/Curve Media)

Line of Duty star Vicky McClure explains how her late grandmother inspired her to embark on a very special project in BBC1's Our Dementia Choir

Line of Duty star Vicky McClure explains how her late grandmother inspired her to embark on a very special project in BBC1's Our Dementia Choir

Vicky McClure (pictured above) is one of our finest actors, and she proves to be a compassionate presenter in Our Dementia Choir, a touching, personal and at times, surprisingly funny two-parter.

After seeing the benefit that music brought her late grandmother, Iris, when she was diagnosed with dementia, Vicky has started a choir for others with the condition in her native Nottingham.

As they prepare for a show at the city’s Royal Concert Hall, with the help of the inspirational musical director Mark De-Lisser, there’s a clear impact on those taking part and it’s a joy to watch them bonding, while the insight they and their loved ones share about living with the disease is humbling.

It's probably the most life-enhancing show you’ll see this year. 

Our Dementia Choir

Vicky McClure with musical director Mark De-Lisser and the choir

Here, Vicky, 35, tells us about her emotional – and very personal – mission to make a difference…

Your grandmother passed away in 2015. How did music help her?

Music was the one way I could communicate with my nana, as we had lost communication.

But through song, even if it was just a nursery rhyme, we could all hum the same tune and it was blissful.

People are realising the power music has for those who are losing their memories.

Nothing can cure dementia currently and it’s terribly sad, but it’s about trying to live well with the disease.

I wanted the choir to be something people would get joy out of.

Music is as powerful as a drug to me; it’s like euphoria.

Could you see the impact that singing had on the choir?

Yes, they loved singing the old classics and they even picked up the modern songs.

It gave them a purpose and they challenged themselves, because it’s not easy learning a song anyway – never mind if you have dementia.

They’ll tell you how much it has helped their lives, but it’s not just them: their family and friends will tell you how much it has changed their lives, too.

You’re watching a family member change and that’s hard.

But while the choir rehearsed, the families could be together and offload, and they’ve built beautiful friendships.

When you know someone’s going through it with you, it takes away some of that pain.

You don’t feel like you’re on your own.

Our Dementia Choir

Singing in the choir was a truly uplifting experience for all

What was it like being part of the performance at the concert hall?

It meant a lot to me that people came out in their thousands and I love the fact that we did this in my home town.

I didn’t care what I sounded like because if the choir could do it, then I could do it.

They were the stars of this project.

They worked so hard, they found confidence and they found their choir voice, and it sounded beautiful.

They don’t realise what they’ll be doing to inspire other people and give hope.

I’m hugely proud of what we have done.

Please note, Wales will show this on Friday at 8.30pm.

TV Times rating: *****