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Speechless

Moving documentary by award-winning film-maker Richard Alwyn, following two stroke survivors who can no longer take language for granted.

Imagine a world in which you can think but cannot speak. For many stroke survivors like former football star Junior and landlord Barry, this is a reality.

Inspired by the experience of his brother-in-law, film-maker Richard Alwyn has made an intensely moving, personal film about language and its loss. Alwyn's brother-in-law, journalist Dennis Barker, had a stroke in 2011, which made him lose his ability to produce intelligible speech.

The programme tells the powerful stories of two men who can no longer take language for granted. Much of the film is made on the Neuro Rehab Unit of the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London's Queen Square. There, Alwyn meets 55-year-old Barry, who has been in hospital for four months since a stroke left him barely able to speak. Thanks to being courageous and determined, Barry constantly triumphs where his language fails. And two years after his stroke when just 35 years old, former Premier League and international footballer Junior Agogo is still visiting the unit as he battles to find his way in the world with depleted language. 'I had thoughts but I'm saying, where was my voice? I was baffled, man.'

The programme raises questions that straddle philosophy and science. Can we understand the world if we don't have language to name and describe it? Can we think without language? How much is our identity wrapped up in language? These questions are at the heart of conversations that Alwyn has with clinicians and therapists working to get Barry and Junior back into the world.

Speechless is fascinating and moving, upsetting and uplifting in its depiction of the isolating and estranging condition, aphasia.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 30 Oct 2017 01:40

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Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
Director Richard Alwyn
Assistant Producer Laura Sunnucks
Executive Producer Archie Baron
Production Company Wingspan Productions

Broadcasts