Line Of Duty and Strictly stars curate playlists for dementia radio station

Line Of Duty star Vicky McClure, BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker and former Strictly Come Dancing judges Len Goodman and Dame Arlene Phillips have made personal playlists for a dementia-friendly radio station.

The 24-hour station, called m4d Radio, plays songs from the 1930s to the 1970s and is free of advertisements to maximise the holistic benefit of the music.

Each playlist features music significant to the celebrity and their relative who lives or lived with dementia, and will air for a week from Monday June 28.

The Cher Show
Dame Arlene Phillips (Ian West/PA)

Actresses Jennie McAlpine, Angela Lonsdale, Shobna Gulati, Phyllis Logan and Julie Hesmondhalgh have also signed up to curate playlists.

m4d Radio was launched in June 2020 as traditional musical care services were disrupted by the pandemic.

The era-specific streams provide free and uninterrupted music that can evoke memories for people living with dementia in both a professional care setting or at home.

Dancer and former Strictly judge Goodman included Spanish Harlem by Ben E King and Anyone Who Had A Heart by Cilla Black among his choices.

He said: “I’ve put together an hour of music that you might like to dance to. I hope you enjoy the music I have chosen for you. And wherever you are listening, I hope it’s a 10 from Len!”

Strictly Come Dancing 2016
Len Goodman (BBC/PA)

McClure’s grandmother, Iris, was diagnosed with dementia before she died in 2015.

The actress, who hosted a BBC One documentary – called Our Dementia Choir – in 2019, has filled her playlist with music she enjoys singing along to, including Lean On Me by Bill Withers, You Make Me Feel So Young by Frank Sinatra and You Can’t Hurry Love by The Supremes.

She said: “We’re making great progress on increasing awareness about the transformative impact music can have on people living with dementia.

“Music and singing provides a great way for people to connect and lift their spirits. I’ve seen this first-hand with my nana and Our Dementia Choir.

“Both were front of mind when I pulled my playlist together and I have many happy memories connected to the songs I have chosen.

“I hope listeners enjoy my personal playlist as much as I enjoyed compiling it.”

Dame Arlene, whose father, Abraham, died in 2000 after more than a decade with Alzheimer’s, picked tracks including I’m Still Standing by Sir Elton John and Life On Mars? by David Bowie.

Lonsdale, whose mother died with Alzheimer’s, made a playlist featuring songs that were meaningful to her mother and evoke family memories, including Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion, which was played at her mother’s funeral.

Grace Meadows, campaign director for Music For Dementia, said: “It is noticeable how dementia has impacted the lives of many of these celebrities, which reflects the situation in society as a whole.

“We’re grateful that they’re willing to share their experiences with our audience of carers and people living with dementia. Music has the power to enliven, stimulate and enable people to express themselves.

“It’s easy to see from looking at these playlists how some of these individual songs can uplift the spirits, calm someone if they are agitated, and use past memories to connect in the here and now.”

– The playlists will run for a week from Monday June 28 on m4d radio’s mix stream.