Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton have thrown their support behind an NHS choir single – saying it taps into the nation’s “community spirit”.
Downton Abbey star Carter, 71, and his wife Staunton, 64, set to be the new Queen in The Crown, urged people to download the track.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS staff choir created the recording of Mariah Carey’s ballad, Anytime You Need A Friend.
After racking up more than 30,000 views on YouTube and being tweeted by diva Carey herself, it is being released for download today (Friday).
Carter, famous for his role as butler Mr Carson in Downton Abbey, told the PA news agency: “You can feel (a sense of community) on Thursday nights when you go out and clap.
“You can feel neighbourhoods coming together, people who might not know each other, calling across the street, ‘Are you alright? is there anything you need?’
“Hopefully, through this horrible thing, there’s a sense of community and I think this track really enforces that message…. Its wonderful expression of reaching out.”
He said: “It’s the perfect time for this. Anytime You Need A Friend… We all need a friend now. It’s just such a good message.”
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Harry Potter and Vera Drake star Staunton said that she hopes there will be a “reassessment” of what is important in society after the crisis is over.
“Who should be highly paid workers in society? Do rich bankers need massive bonuses at the end of the year? Maybe doctors and nurses could share a bit of that,” she said.
“That’s a bit of a fantasy but to reassess the importance of health workers and carers and teachers – maybe that needs to be looked at.”
Carter said: “The hope is that some of this community spirit that is developing lasts beyond the end of the lockdown.
“I just hope that any debates about supporting the NHS are kicked into the long grass and we realise how essential the NHS is to our wellbeing as a nation.
“The Prime Minister himself is a direct acknowledgement of that.”
He added: “We need to protect the carers and frontline staff. We must do everything we can to protect them.”
The track by Breathe Harmony NHS choir & Friends features NHS staff, from hospital porters to doctors, as well as others around the world.
All proceeds from the single will be divided between Breathe Arts Health Research and MyCool Foundation for the charities to deliver arts and health projects to patients and NHS staff, and support the NHS with arts services all year round.
It was made to “celebrate the inspiring work of the NHS amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Each member joined weekly virtual rehearsals, submitting individual home recordings on their mobile phones.
The charity track is available now for download on iTunes and Amazon.