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Final year of Derek Draper’s life to be told by Kate Garraway in new documentary

The final year of psychologist and author Derek Draper’s life will be told by his widow Kate Garraway in a new ITV documentary.

In Kate Garraway: Derek’s Story, the Good Morning Britain (GMB) presenter will explore her husband’s struggles as he suffered long-lasting symptoms from coronavirus and required daily care.

The film will also highlight the cost of caring for a loved one in the UK.

Garraway previously chronicled the impact of caring for her husband, who died aged 56 in January after suffering a cardiac arrest, in two other ITV documentaries.

I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
Kate Garraway with husband Derek Draper and children Darcey and Billy (Steve Parsons/PA)

Before his death, the former lobbyist said he wanted the public to “hear” his story, and when asked why, he added: “I want to be heard.”

Garraway said: “Obviously, when we started making this documentary early last year, we had no idea the events that would unfold that ultimately took Derek from us.

“And in January 2024, I wondered if it was right that it should ever come to air.

“But I didn’t want to let those who have given us so much support over the last four years down, and the carers paid and unpaid who, in their thousands of letters to me, feel Derek’s story has given them a voice.

“Also, I remembered so vividly that the idea of making this third documentary at all came from Derek himself.”

The first instalment, Finding Derek – which was about her family’s experience during the pandemic and detailed her husband’s treatment and his return to their family home – won Garraway the documentary prize at the 2021 National Television Awards (NTA).

It was followed with Caring For Derek, which showed the “myriad challenges of the social care system and its complexities”, and earned her the same NTA gong.

A third documentary had been planned, which was confirmed to be going ahead on Wednesday.

In the 2022 New Year Honours, Smooth Radio presenter Garraway became an MBE for her services to broadcasting, journalism and charity after highlighting the impact of long Covid.

The new documentary charts Draper’s relationship with his wife – who he married in 2005 and the pair had two children, Darcey and Billy – and how the illness changed their lives, along with his experiences before Covid, including his political career.

Garraway said: “I am delighted that the film is a tribute to Derek, his incredible spirit and a tribute to all of those who fight on to make every second of life count, whatever is thrown at them.”

In the 1990s, Draper was a prominent figure in New Labour, working for Peter Mandelson and setting up the centre-left pressure group Progress with Liam Byrne, who went on to become a Labour MP.

He later founded and edited the LabourList news site before stepping down in 2009.

Derek Draper funeral
Kate Garraway at Derek Draper’s funeral (Jonathan Brady/PA)

There are also contributions in the documentary from Jake, the care worker who supported Draper, and Kathryn Smith, chief executive of charity the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Jo Clinton-Davis, controller of factual at ITV, said: “We can see in Derek Draper’s story the individual tragedy of a life devastated by illness, but also the wider perspective of how a family is impacted.

“Derek’s desire for his story to be filmed, along with Kate in their home, provides an insight into both their personal struggles as well highlighting the exhausting challenges of caring for a family member in the home within our care system.”

In February, a funeral for Draper was attended by former prime minister Sir Tony Blair, musician Sir Elton John, ex-cabinet minister Lord Mandelson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Garraway took a brief absence from Smooth Radio and GMB after Draper’s death before returning and thanking her audiences for their support.

Colleen Flynn, executive producer at Flicker Productions, said: “We thank Kate and Derek for sharing their story at the most intimate of times and hope that this film goes some way to highlighting the need for the positive change they both hoped for within the care system.”

Kate Garraway: Derek’s Story will air on ITV1 and ITVX later this month.