Vicky McClure standing with the dementia choir

Our Dementia Choir Sings Again with Vicky McClure on BBC One – how music can help people with dementia

Vicky McClure’s gran was diagnosed with vascular dementia at the age of 75, and lived with the disease until her death in 2015. Inspired by her memory, Line of Duty star Vicky is fronting a moving two-part documentary, Our Dementia Choir Sings Again, starting on Monday 10 October 2022 at 9pm on BBC One .

Back in 2019, Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Vicky McClure started her search for choir members, bringing together specialists from the fields of medicine, music therapy, and performance.

Now the choir is back, this time performing to an even bigger audience. They’ll be showcasing the power of music by recording a single at the iconic Abbey Road Studios and taking their message to 20,000 at a music festival, with the help of pop star Tom Grennan.

Vicky singing with the dementia choir
Watch Our Dementia Choir sings again on iPlayer

The series not only highlights the importance of music therapy, but raises awareness of the challenges facing people affected by dementia today. Right now, too many people aren’t getting the support they need, when they need it, which is having a direct and negative impact on the health and quality of life of people affected by dementia.

The power of music for people with dementia 

Many people have a special connection to music, and this can be particularly powerful for people with dementia. Evidence suggests music can improve someone's mood, behaviour and wellbeing.

Listening to favourite songs can bring back old memories and feelings. Many people with dementia are still able to enjoy music and to sing even when they start to lose their language abilities. 

While the search for a cure continues, we all must work together to support people affected by dementia today so they can live meaningful lives. Music is a wonderful way to do this.

Research shows that musical memory is often retained when other memories are lost; music can help people to recall memories due to the nature of preserved memory for song and music in the brain.

'Being part of this experience and as an Alzheimer’s Society ambassador, I have seen how singing can help people with dementia communicate, improve their mood and leave them feeling good about themselves.'
- Vicky McClure 

Vicky rehearsing with the dementia choir

There are lots of ways for people with dementia to enjoy the power of music. For example, you can buy special radios and music players designed for people who have dementia. Playing music and singing can stimulate conversation and reminiscence for a person affected by dementia.

Singing for the Brain groups

At Alzheimer’s Society we run Singing for the Brain groups up and down the country. They are a great way for people with dementia and their carers to enjoy music and socialise with other people. Singing for the Brain groups celebrate the joy of singing together, like the Dementia Choir in Vicky’s programme.

If you’d like to find a Singing for the Brain group near you, use our dementia directory to see your local groups, as well as other activities and services near you.

Donate today and support people living with dementia

With your support, we can run services such as Singing for the Brain, to help improve the lives of people living with dementia.

Donate now

This article was first published in May 2019 and updated in October 2022.



Hi, after watching this incredible series I felt compelled to do something in support. My own father passed away in 2020 and apart from the horrendous CV19 virus that ultimately took him he suffered from Vascular Dementia. Music had always been part of Dads life, he was an accomplished Sax player and taught both my brother and I to play. My career is now in the Rock n Roll business as a sound engineer and technician working all over the world on gigs, festivals, and a whole host of events. It fair to say that Dads influence has to be why I do what I do now, and I am eternally grateful. As I am in between tours I have a bit of time on my hands this all started after a discussion with a great friend in our local pub. We got on to the subject of how music makes you feel, we delved further to question if a writer “just” knows when he or she has written a great hit, what makes us reach for the volume control in our car when one of our favourite tunes is played. As the night moved on other regulars joined our conversation, we discussed our favourite tracks and why they meant so much to us, some people just loved the tune, the lyrics, the rhythm, whilst others reflected on how personal events had made the track pertinent to them. What was clear was that we all have different tastes and reasons why we love music so much. So, armed with this information I suggested that we could arrange a night in the pub where I would bring in a system and we could all get to play a track or two that meant so much to us. This could be on Vinyl, CD, memory stick or device failing that, we could source via the Internet. For each track played a donation of £1 would be paid with all proceeds going to Alzheimer’s. We have just had the night and it was an overwhelming success, the locals turned up with everything including battered out old 7” singles, plenty of LP’s CD’s etc all with a story as to why they wanted it played. Tracks where played in the order that they arrived, and it was so much fun to hear punk followed by blues, followed by cheese no one cared what order they were in, in fact that was one of the reasons it was a great night. One guy turned up with an 8 track (we failed !), another said I’ll give you a tenner not to play my Mrs’s choice, smiles for all involved. In total we played around 40 odd tunes in a few hours, the generosity of the locals was superb and the £1 a track seemed to go out the window as we raised £227. I am truly humbled that in our little village we have raised a few pounds that will go on to help others, who knows it might be something that other communities could consider ? Just in case you are interested, this is a playlist that I have created after the event to capture what was listened to.…
Hi your show was great congratulations I have been looking for a group in my area to join there doesn’t seem to be any if Vicky could send me some info where I start I have vascular dementia

Hi Jean,

Thank you for getting in touch, and glad you enjoyed the programme - wasn't it good?

Sorry to hear you can't seem to find any groups in your area. We're not sure if you have looked already, but the best place to search for Singing for the Brain groups is in our dementia directory:  

But if you cannot find a local service, please do call our support line on 0333 150 3456. One of our dementia advisers will be able to provide more information and advice, as well as support if you need it. You can find more details about the support line (including opening hours and other methods of contact) here: 

We hope this helps for now, Jean. 

Alzheimer's Society blog team

Me myself loves music, it gives me such a feeling of excitement love and full of energy and making friends all through country music.
Since Alan Lawson built this family group called the T.U.T group ,better known as THUMBS UP THURS on Thurs from 6pm til 7pm and making me a admin is a lovely feeling and to watch the Main man Paul Jackson and his passion for all his different kind of music from rock blues country. It has been a honour to see Paul Jackson Live and to me is such a wonderful and well liked man ,just songs he sings blew me away. incredible voice just makes me happy to listen to him on Thurs makes my nights .
And the talent he has wow. X

Hi Vicky thank you for your time and care for these lovely people. Much appreciated.

I thought this programme was strong and was delivered so wonderfully by Vicky. I know this was about dementia but my dad passed away earlier this year of cancer, it was over a very short period and aggressive. Music was such a passion of his and his impact on my life was huge. The Beatles song "in my life" was so poignant and appropriate, it really allowed me to express and release that emotion of loss which I'd held for a while. Music breaks so many barriers. Hope the wonderful research continues.

What an amazing programme. Anything that can help people understand the effects of this cruel disease, is so worthwhile. To see the joy music can bring to people with dementia is heartwarming. My mum is in a nursing home and was diagnosed 12 years ago. She is now in the later stages but there is still a twinkle in her eyes when they have music entertainment. Thank you for what you have done Vicky Mclure, your nana would be very proud of you

I loved watching the dementia they still see each other.
What a brilliant programme so emotional.
I hope there is more to come, and bwell done Vicky.
My aunty passed away with vascular dementia.

I have Alzheimer’s and live in County Antrim. I would love to see something similar here. I just love singing and have been a member of many choirs. Is there a group anywhere in the vicinity of Bt38.

A fantastic programme. Inspiring and building on something I have long thought would be helpful to dementia sufferers.
As a music teacher how I can I get involved?

Hi Caroline,

Thanks for getting in touch and glad you enjoyed the programme - wasn't it brilliant?

The best place to start might be to see if there's a Singing for the Brain group near you. You can find your nearest group from this page and then contact them to see if there are any opportunities to get involved:…

Best wishes,
Alzheimer's Society blog team

Lovely programme. Please as stated above make a record of this and give the proceeds to cure this wicked, wicked disease

An amazing,thought provoking programme. Having nursed and supported both my parents with Dementia, and recently seen my father in law die of Vascular Dementia in the challenging behaviours unit of a care home, I found this choir inspirational. Well done to Vicky and her team, also well done Nottingham for hosting and supporting the project.

Brilliant show so very uplifting and makes you think. Keep the research going and I imagine in the future it will be cured not in my life time but soon. My husband has dementia but he loves to sing , music for the soul. He’s there somewhere when he sings and i see my husband back.

I thought the programme really wonderful. I cared for both of my parents who had Alzheimer’s. I discovered really early on that music broke through many barriers. We amassed a whole collection of cds in many genre. As both had poor memory towards the end music acted as an anchor to the past.
The television show illustrated how important music is, how it gives hope and purpose as well as pleasure. I hope the research will continue. It would have been very helpful advice when my parents were first diagnosed along with the doom and gloom and conversations about end of life plans.

Such a great insightful programme. My mother in law passed away from vascular dementia in January this year. My mum has Alzheimer’s, diagnosed just after her 60th birthday and last month my Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s too. Can I please ask that one of these songs from the programme is released by a record label and sold, with the funds raised going to research into finding a cure for this awful disease?

An excellent and inspiring programme and congratulations to Vicky for making the project so successful. Singing has great power both to release memories and allow those who live with dementia to live 'in the moment'. There are actually many singing groups across Britain which are devoted to those who live with dementia, including the Alzheimer's Society's own 'Singing for the Brain' groups. It would have been helpful if the BBC could have pointed this out so that people inspired by Vicky's choir could look out for one in their neighbourhood.