Stevenage writer tackles early-onset Parkinson's with film based on true love story

PUBLISHED: 08:30 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:15 20 March 2019

Writer, actor and producer Sen Monro is keen to raise awareness of early-onset Parkinson's disease. Picture: Robin Plummer.

Writer, actor and producer Sen Monro is keen to raise awareness of early-onset Parkinson's disease. Picture: Robin Plummer.

Archant

Filming for a drama based on a true story and aimed at raising awareness of early-onset Parkinson's disease is set to start on Saturday.

Sen Monro, who lives in Stevenage and is the CEO of Gripping Yarns Films Ltd, has co-written the drama alongside TV actor Gary Webster (Minder) and will co-produce the film.

Sen will also have a supporting role on screen as a doctor, with Noeleen Comiskey (EastEnders) and Gary taking the lead roles.

Sen said: “It’s a true story about a man, Russ, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 40. His wife leaves him and his world falls apart.

“Down south, a woman called Charlotte finds out her husband’s having an affair with a woman at work. He says he’ll end it, but he doesn’t and eventually hangs himself.”

Charlotte is diagnosed with Parkinson’s in her 40’s and meets Russ at a support event.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive neurological disorder affecting movement, speech, body language, handwriting and swallowing.

Sen, who is producing the drama with Donna Taylor of DT Film Productions, said: “Out of the early onset of this horrific, debilitating illness, these two find love.

“Had it not been for the disease, they wouldn’t have met.”

Sen is especially keen to correct the common misconception that Parkinson’s only affects people who are elderly.

He said: “There’s very little information and awareness about Parkinson’s and people think it is an older person’s disease.

“It can actually strike any time for anybody. There’s someone in Canada who is three and has the disease, as well as two brothers who are nine and 12.”

The Parkinson’s Disease Society says about 120,000 people in the UK have Parkinson’s.

One in seven people will be under 50 years old when they are diagnosed and one in 20 will be under 40.

The drama will be filmed mainly in Essex, but also in some areas of Stevenage. Sen said: “We want to highlight the positive aspects of Stevenage.”

He added: “The film, which will be called Stages, is costing about £20,000 to make and I believe in the story so much that I am funding it myself. I did write to at least 30 big businesses in Stevenage to ask for support, but not one of them came back to me.

“All I want to do is raise awareness of the disease.”

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