45 minute original drama for BBC Radio 4, Friday 19th December 2014 at 2.15pm
In ‘Dogfood Diary’, the writing duo Bridgeman and Lambert reveal the secret world of child carers with a poignant and unsettling 21st century Christmas story.
The 2011 census showed that there were 166,363 child carers in England, and Wales. The Children’s Society estimate that this is just the tip of the iceberg with research showing closer to 700,000 carers aged 18 and under. Young carers are more likely to experience bullying, financial hardship, lower grades and poorer emotional wellbeing than children who do not care for a loved one.
Christmas 2014. West Calder, Scotland. Every day Dean helps his mum, Gail, with cleaning and cooking at home. But this week seems different. Shouts have been heard and Rihanna, the dog, is sleeping upstairs. Mum’s friend comes to visit, but she is puzzled that Mum’s never around. In fact, no-one has seen or heard from her for several weeks.
The electricity goes out. Dean runs out of money. He’s hungry and barricading himself in. Finally, Mum’s boss confronts him: “That’s the trouble Deanie. Your mum’s always out. And you’re always home alone. And you’re twelve years old.”
As teachers ask questions and the police become involved, the truth is finally revealed and Dean’s world is turned upside down.
From the writers of Caterpillars Laura Bridgeman and Charles Lambert (Radio Times Pick of the Week), with producer Gaynor Macfarlane and starring Scottish Bafta winning actor Daniel Kerr (The Wee Man) and Millie Innes (Millie Inbetween).