The golden dust settles after yesterday’s Golden Globe Awards, a day on which The Guardian quietly published a news item about a past recipient, Hugh Grant.
This week the star of ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ will join forces with actors from The Baked Bean Theatre Company to perform a play that Grant has co-written. ‘The Drama Group’ is based loosely on the experiences of Grant’s friend Nigel Hollins.
The co-founder of The Baked Bean Theatre Company Jade Hardrade-Grosz hopes that the play will highlight the immense value of drama for those who have learning disabilities.
Grant’s involvement in such an initiative deserves more publicity – The Guardian appears to be the only major UK news outlet to have covered the event. Too often, as Grant himself knows so well, the media are quick to give negative publicity to the actions of actors. On this occasion, publicising Grant’s participation brings to the attention of the public the achievements and skills of those who have learning difficulties.
Forget the Golden Globes: let us focus on the work of the Baked Bean actors.
The friendship between Grant and Hollins came about after the actor contacted the Hollins family when he was making a TV documentary about press intrusion in 2012. Hollins’s sister is Abigail Witchalls, who was the victim of a terrible knife attack that left her paralysed in 2005. Her family suffered from unwanted press attention in the years following. The mother of Abigail and Nigel – she also has two other children – is Baroness Sheila Hollins, emeritus professor of psychiatry of disability at St George’s Hospital in London. She and Grant struck up a friendship, Grant met her family, and discovered a natural affinity with Hollins, who has been a member of the Baked Bean company for 12 years. “Right from the start they just seemed comfortable with one another,” says Lady Hollins.