< Back to News

David Reviews: Five Stars for NHS Charities Together

NHS Charities Together 'The Gift' directed by Nicolas Jack Davies from Iris received a Five Star review and Pick Of The Day from David Reviews.

NHS Charities 'The Gift'

Throughout this extraordinary year, the British people have been constantly encouraged to lionise the medics and other staff of the NHS. Sometimes, this has been extremely moving. At other times, it has been tokenistic.

And often it has been both. The weekly applause for "our NHS heroes" was introduced at a time when the failure to provide adequate PPE saw record numbers falling gravely ill with many dying. Although it was undoubtedly gratifying to be on the receiving end of so much acclaim, they would have traded it in a heartbeat for the gowns and masks which would have meant they weren't needlessly risking their lives.

With our incompetent government continually pretending that criticism of its poorly-considered response to Covid was an attack on the NHS, it became ever clearer that the endless eulogising of the service was politically motivated. What we've witnessed is the fetishisation of genuine bravery and sacrifice, and it has been quite sickening.

Boris Johnson's glibness about the pandemic only began to dissipate when the scientists in his orbit finally persuaded him that this country's hospitals would soon be completely overrun. Even then, his infuriating habit of belittling the danger in an increasingly feeble effort to emulate Churchill's insouciance was only stalled when he contracted it himself.

For all of these reasons, it has frequently been difficult to distinguish between laudable communication which is genuinely supportive of the NHS, and government propaganda designed to distract from the latest wave of catastrophic incompetence.

This marvellous film directed by Sweetshop's Nicolas Jack Davies is firmly in the laudable camp. It's built around the clever idea that Santa Claus – the central figure of Christmas in the modern era – is, by dint of his age, weight, and diet of milk and cookies, extremely vulnerable to Covid. The white-bearded patient is a cipher for all of those who have been lovingly cared for in our hospitals, and the film captures the dedication of the staff to whom we owe so much.

Sadly, this film has been withdrawn after it was viciously attacked by the Daily Mail, because of a spurious claim that it would terrify children. Although the right-wing press have spent the last nine months expressing the view that the NHS is a national treasure, this is a considerable repositioning from their usual verdict. And it seems likely that this film's sincerity has reawakened their disgust for this socialist enterprise.

The newspapers' 'distress' might have counted for nothing were it not for Laurence Fox. The out-of-work actor has spent most of 2020 being so enraged by the success of his ex-wife's brilliant series 'I Hate Suzie' that he appears determined to set fire to himself and everything around him at every opportunity. And when this film showed up on his grubby radar, his lofty derision was inevitable.

Fox's opposition is one of the surest indications that you've got something right, and the individuals who commissioned this film should have drawn comfort from his ill-informed take. Sadly though, the fear of an expanding social media backlash cowed them into submission, and they decided to withdraw it despite indications that it was proving extremely adept at its aim of raising funds for NHS charities. How very 2020.

This article was first published by David Reviews on 16 December 2020.