Actress Julie Graham has not rested on her laurels during lockdown life. While many screen productions have shut down due to the pandemic, Julie has decided to write her own You Tube drama.
Appearing on video series Up Close And Socially Distant, Julie spoke about her new drama, Dun Breedin’, which follows a group of friends navigating life and the menopause, something that Julie is keen to show in a brand, new light.
She told host and close friend Kate Thornton that she’s had enough with the menopause being shown in a comedic light in TV shows.
“They [the shows] kind of ridicule us in a way,” she said. “And that's just got to stop, because, you know, the menopause, for me is not the end of something. It's the beginning of something. It's a new chapter - and it's very empowering as well.
“There's all these horrible symptoms we have to go through, but, as women, we just have to do that anyway. I just feel that it can be a very, very scary time… But there's help out there.”
She said she hopes her drama will help women going through the menopause to be able to speak up about what it’s really like.
“It's about opening up the conversation about it,” she told Kate. “It can be the best time of your life as well, the most empowering time, the time when you can make changes, where you don't care what people think about you. There is life after menopause - and I want to shout that up from the rooftops.”
The drama, which is directed by by award-winning director Robin Sheppard, features a star-studded cast including Tamzin Outhwaite, Denise Welch, Angela Griffin, Alison Newman and Tracy Ann Oberman.
Julie revealed that filming Dun Breedin’ during the lockdown has been unlike working on any other show.
“All our families are getting involved,” she said. “Our children are playing our children, or god daughters, or nieces, or nephews - or whatever it is. All our families are crew members - even the dog's involved. And we've all got camera packs. We're shooting on iPhones.”
As well as highlighting the menopause, Julie is hoping the drama will also help raise money for the Trussell Trust foodbank network. The idea is that viewers will donate to the charity after watching each episode.
“What I love about the Trussell Trust is that they have a wider goal, and that is to eradicate poverty and hunger,” she said.
She continued: “Especially at this time in lockdown, food banks, I think, have become a frontline service, unfortunately. I mean, there's 14 million in this country living in poverty - and 4.5 million of those are children - and it's unacceptable. It's not just unemployed people. It's working people as well, I should add.”
Up Close And Socially Distant is hosted by Kate Thornton and features weekly video catch-ups with people who are all doing whatever they can to help those around them get through lockdown.
This week Kate speaks to Julie Graham about writing and starring in the first YouTube drama to be filmed entirely in lockdown, Dun Breedin’, to raise money for the Trussell Trust foodbank network, to the founder of the Rooms4NHS website, Dr Joseph Alsousou, and to Dublin-based mural artist, Emma Blake.