To mark 25 years since the Disability Discrimination Act was passed, Jack Thorne and Genevieve Barr have penned a new drama for BBC Two, Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Were Won.
Produced by Dragon Film and TV and One Shoe Films, the drama tells the exceptional true story of the bold campaign of direct action that led to the victory of disabled civil rights in Britain.
The story is told through the eyes of Barbara Lisicki and Alan Holdsworth, two cabaret performers with disabilities who met at a concert in 1989 and soon fell in love and had a baby.
They became big advocates and the driving force behind the Direct Action Network (DAN), a national group campaigning for change through non-violent direct action.
Their ground-breaking ‘Piss on Pity’ protest slogan opened up the debate around disability rights and led to the end of disenfranchising charity events.
Their spontaneous pickets caused the shut down of cinemas, restaurants, stations and the London underground. They successfully brought Westminster to a standstill when they handcuffed their wheelchairs to buses until they had their rights enshrined into law.
Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, called Lisicki and Holdsworth’s story a “vital piece of modern history” and was thrilled to have Thorne and Barr on board to write.
He added: “This film builds on the recent successes in the genre like Doing Money, Responsible Child and The Windermere Children, making BBC Two a home to these most essential factual stories explored through drama.”
Thorne and Barr described their excitement at working together and brining the story to life. Thorne commented: “DAN changed the world through their actions, and they have never been properly celebrated for it, in this film we want to do that in a way that lauds their true punk spirit."
Barr said: “DAN created opportunities and rights for so many of us disabled and to be able to say thank you in this creative way is really special."