Wednesday, 29 January 2014

They put me off my dinner…

I just read another article that I thought I’d share with you all because it’s about two words that don’t really go together, ‘disability’ and ‘TV’. I’ve spoke about this subject many times before but the post ( by actor Mik Scarlet is particularly poignant as he is inside the industry and therefore knows a lot more than me (his appearance in Brookside was long before I was born).

The way I see it is that the people in charge of commissioning at the main TV channels such as the BBC have it in their mind that audiences don’t want to see disabililty on their screens. Now, most of my readers will probably disagree with that sentiment but there are parts of society who would be in uproar and complain that having disability thrown in their faces makes for uncomfortable viewing. The potential backlash from having, for example, a wheelchair bound presenter on a mainstream show is probably the main reason why there aren’t any.

A lot of you are probably thinking didn’t he write an article about ‘The Last Leg’ (new series starts on Friday by the way), praising the programme for building on the success of the 2012 Paralympics and keeping disability in the public eye? Yes I did but I don’t class that as being mainstream. Can I just point out that the only shows focusing on disability are after the watershed. It’s almost as if this taboo subject can be spoken about but only after the kids go to bed. We don’t want children to learn about those freaks and start to believe they are normal. They must remain blissfully ignorant.

Without sounding like Martin Luther King, I hope that in the future humans look back with shock and disbelief at the lack of disabled coverage on TV. Just like I do when I watch old programmes and see that people of any other race than white are few and far between.

Bye for now!


  1. It’s really frustrating that given the modernity of our age today, there’s still that backward thinking that discriminates disabled people. It’s saddening to know that in the era of modern television, there are audiences who complain about seeing disabled persons on their screen, just because they feel uncomfortable looking them. I hope the thoughts you shared here opened up their mind about this matter. Thank you for sharing! All the best to you!

    Jason Hayes @ DECORM

    1. Unfortunately, although the amount of disabled faces has increased slightly in recent years, I do not think the commissioners are brave enough to make programmes specifically explaining disability. The audience are ready for it IMO but no one is willing to take a calculated risk.