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The new ITV documentary, Kate Garraway: Derek’s Story, airing for the first time on 26 March on ITV1, aims to shed light on the hidden costs of care through the experiences of carers supported by Carers First. 

‘Derek’s Story’ explores Kate Garraway's journey in caring for her late husband, Derek Draper, particularly focusing on their challenges during the last year of his life and his increasing need for daily care. The documentary, which is Kate Garraway’s third installment, comes after two earlier award winning documentaries ‘Finding Derek’, which covered the family’s experience of the pandemic and Derek’s treatment for COVID-19, and ‘Caring for Derek’, which focused on Kate’s role as Derek’s carer and the difficulties in accessing much needed support.  

Through real life carers’ stories, Derek’s Story intends to highlight the complexities of caring, worsened by the ongoing cost of living crisis, high care costs, and lack of support for carers in the UK. Before Derek’s death, he told Kate he wanted the public to “hear” his story. Derek's desire to "be heard" before his passing reflects the isolation experienced by many carers and their families, underscoring the importance of raising awareness about their challenges and the need for increased support for carers nationally. 

The production team for the documentary reached out to Carers First to seek our help in finding carers to be involved in the documentary, to ensure their views and experiences could be heard as well. Vanessa Wright, was one of the carers involved. She said:

“When you care for someone it is like having a second job, anything from one to twenty four hours a day, but no one is going to pay you for it. I hope my points get across and help more people understand what it’s like to be a carer and the difficulties we face every day.”  

Recognising and supporting carers early on is crucial, given that a significant portion of the population (3 in 5) will become a carer at some point in their lives. However, the invaluable contribution carers make is often underestimated or overlooked. The lack of support for carers not only affects their personal, professional, and social lives but also has broader implications for society and the economy. With 11% of the UK workforce having caring responsibilities, supporting carers is vital for both individual wellbeing and economic stability.  

A staggering 82% of carers surveyed by Carers UK said the impact of caring on their physical and mental health would be a challenge over the coming year, with nearly 60% adding that being valued as a carer would improve their wellbeing. 

Kate Garraway's commitment in producing the documentary shows her dedication for advocating for carers despite the challenges she has faced since her husband's COVID-19 diagnosis in 2020 and his recent death in January 2024. By sharing their story, Kate and Derek have become voices for countless other carers and families, inspiring resilience and raising awareness about the need for more support. 

Watch Kate Garraway: Derek's Story

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