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Spotlight on alcoholism

30th November 2006

12122006_alcoholismQ.jpgA new TV documentary has been made which explores the devastation caused by alcoholism and the resulting liver disease.

Director Paul Watson, who filmed the original fly-on-the-wall documentary ‘The Family’ in the 1970s, returned to our screens in November with BBC Two’s ‘Rain in my Heart’, which charts the grim realities of alcoholism in its final stages.

After a battle with the NHS to get permission to film, the director finally gets the go ahead to document four patients who have been admitted to Kent’s Medway Hospital. Their consultant, Dr Gray Smith-Laing grabs his chance to warn viewers of the dangers of alcohol abuse adding that by the time he sees patients it is “too late? for him to provide any effective treatment.

Of the four patients featured in the documentary, 3 are still actively dependent. The fourth patient, Nigel, has been sober for 10 years but is dying from advanced cirrhosis caused by his earlier alcohol misuse. The heartbreak of this devastating illness is played out as Nigel dies on camera in his partner’s arms. Another of the featured patients, a 26-year-old woman, also dies during filming and the remaining two seem unlikely to leave the ward alive.

As well as highlighting the devastation and decline caused by alcoholism, the documentary also seeks to establish the reasons why people become addicted in the first place. The harsh truth of malignant alcoholism is dramatically presented by Watson whose work on this film has been described as vivid and compassionate.

 

 

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