When Reverend Richard Coles’ husband David died at the end 2019, he became a widower at the age of 57 and found himself alone for the first time in 12 years. As someone who is surrounded by death in his profession, he thought he’d be well equipped to deal with it but when it happened to him, he realised he wasn’t.
Now, in Good Grief? (1 x60’), a new one off documentary for Channel 4, Rev Coles is exploring the subject of grief and how to live with it positively. We will join him on a literal and metaphorical journey across the choppy waters of bereavement as he endeavours to open up the conversation about grief.
Taking himself well outside of his comfort zone, he throws himself into a plethora of activities across the UK, all said to have a positive impact on grief. From unusual laughter yoga, high energy boxing and exhilarating surfing to playing with therapy alpacas and dining with others who are grieving, Rev Coles embraces every opportunity as he discovers a tool-kit of therapies and ideas to help him explore a good grief.
Journeying further afield, Rev Coles also boards the Grief Cruise in Miami where he encounters others who are going through the same grieving process as him. Partaking in both grief cruise activities and seminars as well as enjoying the additional luxuries the cruise ship has to offer – from ziplining across the ship to on board crazy golf – he slowly allows himself to dispense with some of the guilt associated with holidaying post bereavement. He even officiates at his first burial at sea.
As he questions the commonly-held belief in the stages of grief, Rev Coles discovers that it can be beneficial to not always search for safety in the familiar.
Reverend Richard Coles: “It was a fascinating and sometimes surprising journey through the landscape of grief, from a close encounter with a sloth in Honduras to an unbudgeable wetsuit in Bristol. I learnt a lot and hope it will be instructive and entertaining for anyone also on that journey.”
Gill Brown, Commissioning Executive for Features and Daytime at Channel 4: “As someone who has experienced the most painful of losses, Reverend Richard Coles is the perfect person to navigate the waters of this very personal journey for Channel 4. We are delighted to be working with him and Bowled Over Media on what is set to be an emotional, hopeful and joyful watch.”
Heidi Gomes, Executive Producer for Bowled Over Media: “What an enormous privilege it has been to share Reverend Richard’s story, and those of the folk he meets. Tackling a topic which will affect us all, and especially after the last couple of years, we hope that Good Grief? informs, entertains and opens the conversation, helping us all to better acknowledge grief and those who are experiencing it.”
Good Grief? (1×60’) was commissioned for Channel 4 by Jo Street, Head of Features and Daytime and Gill Brown, Commissioning Executive for Features and Daytime at Channel 4. The 1×60’ documentary is a Bowled Over Media production; the Executive Producer is Heidi Gomes, and the Director & Editor is Chris Hailes.
Good Grief? will air on Channel 4 later this year.