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Derek’s Story viewers ‘emotionally wrung out’ by Kate Garraway documentary

Viewers have been reacting to Kate Garraway’s heartbreaking documentary Derek’s Story, which focused on the final year of her husband Derek Draper’s life.

The 60-minute documentary aired on ITV on Tuesday night (26 March), and included rare footage of Draper directly addressing the camera.

The former political lobbyist and husband of broadcaster Good Morning Britain anchor Garraway died in January aged 56, nearly four years after becoming seriously ill with Covid in 2020. Draper spent more than a year in the hospital after his infection and lived with the effects of long Covid for the rest of his life.

The documentary included heartbreaking footage of Garraway discussing what she said to her husband following the heart attack that led to his death.

“I sat down with him, holding his hand,” said Garraway. “I just said to him: ‘Look, you know me, I’m gonna fight this all the way, but if you can’t fight anymore, and actually what you need now is peace then don’t think about us. We’re going to be fine, because I do feel like an awful lot of what he’s done has been about wanting to be there, to be a dad and be a husband. It’s a different kind of love than we had before, but it was love.

“Even though it was chaotic, and crazy, and you know, a slog, an absolute slog. In the midst of all that was this family. I’ve just got to try and hold on to that. I’ve just said well, we’ll stick with it to the end.”

Kate Garraway at Derek Draper’s bedside in ‘Derek’s Story’ (ITV)
Kate Garraway at Derek Draper’s bedside in ‘Derek’s Story’ (ITV)

Across social media viewers reacted to Garraway’s grief and the strength she showed in caring for her late husband.

On X/Twitter, one wrote: “Feeling emotionally wrung out after watching [Derek’s Story]. What a brilliant programme with so much raw anger and pain. Social care needs to change. So much respect for Kate Garraway and family. RIP Derek.”

Another added: “How anyone’s heart could not go out to Kate Garraway watching this documentary is beyond me. So what if she’s well paid. I bet she’d rather live in a council house in Stockport and still have her husband.”

A third said: “Seeing how the reality of care takes its toll on families is heartbreaking Kate Garraway and seeing how much Derek wanted a fairer world is such a bitter irony. I hope this country can be more caring at all levels for all of us”

Early in the film, Garraway admitted that although she has a well-paid job, she is in debt from the costs of her late husband’s care.

The TV presenter said that Draper’s care cost more than her salary, “and that’s before you pay for any bill”.

“I’m not going to pretend that I’m poorly paid. I have an incredible job that I love, which is well paid. But it’s not enough. Derek’s basic care is nearly £4,000 per week. And how can I afford that? How can anyone afford £16,000 per month?”

“I am in debt and I can’t earn enough to cover my debt because I am managing Derek’s care,” she said in footage recorded before Draper’s death.

Garraway went on to praise the “extraordinary” carers who had worked with Draper and her family, but said they are working to meet an “impossible need”.

“We are entirely reliant on extraordinary carers but the system in which they work in unbelievably complicated; unbelievably underfunded. And trying to meet an impossible need.

“The system we have at the moment in terms of supporting people, and there are millions of people in situations like Derek is – for many other reasons than Covid – it doesn’t allow you to feel content because you don’t know whether things are going to be stripped away.”

Garraway criticised the “classic postcode lottery” system in place, which decides which families receive financial support.