Television star becomes charity patron

DOCTOR Who star David Tennant has agreed to become patron of an Essex charity after working closely with it to research his role in a forthcoming television drama.

By Sharon Asplin

DOCTOR Who star David Tennant has agreed to become patron of an Essex charity after working closely with it to research his role in a forthcoming television drama.

Tennant is to play the role of a brain injury survivor in the 90-minute BBC1 drama Recovery, due to be screened in March 2007.

He visited the Colchester day care centre of Headway Essex earlier this year as a major part of his research for the programme, in which he plays a building site manager who suffers a debilitating brain injury in a car crash. Sarah Parish, star of Cutting It, is to play the role of his wife who then becomes his carer.


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The actor admitted before he was cast in Tony Marchant's television play, his knowledge and understanding of brain injuries and the devastating effect they can have on people's lives was “shamefully slight”.

He said: “Getting to know some of the clients of Headway Essex was instructive, eye-opening and very moving. These are people coming to terms with lives that have changed beyond all recognition, having to deal with something society often misunderstands, misinterprets and mistrusts.

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“I understood how vital the work that Headway is doing can be. They give understanding, experience and community to people struggling to rebuild their lives.

“Against all odds, the spirit and humour of the clients at Headway Essex was remarkable. Spending that time with them and experiencing at first-hand the wonderful work the staff and charity are doing, I felt I wanted to be involved. I am delighted to accept the position of patron of Headway Essex and look forward to helping out when and where I can.”

Joanna Wright, director of fundraising at Headway Essex, said the actor spent a considerable time at the day centre and took part in group sessions that looked at interpersonal skills and communication issues.

She said: “I think that David was very touched by the honesty of our clients and he developed a great understanding of the change in dynamics which occur with individuals and their families after brain injury, along with an empathy for the challenges they face.”

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