One of my first TV shows was about endangered animals around the world,” recalls presenter Ade Adepitan. “When I met with the producer and director, they told me: ‘This show is going to involve scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef, trekking through the jungle in South Africa and Namibia, and hiking up mountains in Romania. We don’t want you to feel under any pressure, but is this something you think you can do?’ I said: ‘When do we start?’ I’m the sort of person who takes things on and then finds the solution as we go along.
This will be my third time presenting the Paralympics. I was a pundit for the BBC in Beijing. In 2012 and 2016, I was a presenter in London and Rio for Channel 4.
To prepare, I have been updating my knowledge of the athletes. I still play wheelchair basketball at club level. Quite a few of the players, such as Gaz Choudhry and Helen Freeman, who are in the national team, I know well. I trained some of them as they worked to get into the team.
The event will be filled with fun sketches, uplifting performances, appeal films and appearances from much-loved famous faces.
This night of frivolity and fundraising will include a section called Children in Need does The One Show, hosted by Alex Jones and Ade Adepitan MBE.
Adepitan will also host a special Children in Need: 40 Fabulous Years, which will pay homage to previous appeal shows in 40 fun-filled parts. The special will include the greatest moments that have made up the last 40 years and those whose lives have been changed by the donations.
Channel 4’s coverage of the 2012 London Paralympics was a big moment in British TV. For the first time, audiences saw disabled athletes as glamorous role models participating in a high-profile showcase. At a stroke, Channel 4 put the Paralympics on the map, after more than half a century of obscurity.
But, in the past four and a half years, have our broadcasters begun to fulfil the promise of the Paralympics in the representation of disabled people on TV – or are those with disabilities still being marginalised and stereotyped?