Glenda Jackson: Covid pandemic has made social care a priority

Glenda Jackson has said she hopes the coronavirus crisis will bring the issue of social care “up the political ladder”.

The veteran actress and former MP returned to screens to play a woman living with dementia in Elizabeth Is Missing, and was rewarded with a best actress TV Bafta.

Based on the best-selling novel, Jackson stars as Maud, a woman determined to solve the mystery of her missing friend Elizabeth while slowly losing herself to the disease.

Speaking after her win, she said: “It’s a subject that is of particular interest to me because it’s waiting for us all, we are as a society living much longer.

“These diseases now, which were unheard of when I was a child, they come with old age and we as a society have a duty to accept that responsibility and really examine how we are going to care for the elderly when they get to the situation where they have to be cared for.

“Perhaps one of the benefits to this Covid pandemic is that social care has gone up the political ladder.

“I’m not making a political statement here but what I’m saying is we as a society have to acknowledge that these terrible illnesses are here and they are here to stay, and as a society we have to look at how we can combine to ensure that when they strike the individual sufferer is not thrown in the bin.”

She added: “The thing I found interesting when the film was first screened was the number of people who would come up to me in the street, in the supermarket, and share their direct personal experiences of what it’s like to have someone in your family suffering from this illness and that was, and still is, intensely moving.”

Asked how she will celebrate her Bafta win, she said: “It’s getting close to my bedtime and I’m not a big celebratory person in that sense so I will be quite happy just to have a glass of white wine and my last cigarette of the day and go to bed.”