disability

Twenty per cent: TV's need to improve representation and inclusion of disabled people

Screenwriter Jack Thorne’s deeply affecting MacTaggart lecture in August left the UK TV industry painfully aware of its failings over the employment and representation of disabled people. The RTS Cambridge session “Twenty per cent” – the proportion of the UK population who are disabled – was therefore particularly timely.

Rosie Jones and Deborah Williams question where the disabled people are in TV

If you want some light reading, please do not dip into the Creative Diversity Network’s recent report, “Diamond: The Fourth Cut”. The statistics are grim, particularly when it comes to disability. According to the report, the UK TV industry has “urgent” work to do on disability representation, both on- and off-screen. This is an understatement of monumental proportions.

Jack Thorne and Genevieve Barr to write drama marking 25th anniversary of Disability Discrimination Act

Barbara Lisicki and Alan Holdsworth (Credit: BBC)

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.

Meet the agent for disabled talent

Actor and model Grace Mandeville is represented by VisABLE

Having previously owned the largest modelling agency outside of London, Dyson was approached by a manufacturer of mobility equipment, who was looking for wheelchair users to model its products. Together, they launched a modelling competition, receiving over 600 entries and international press interest. The agency has grown and now represents more than 80 actors, presenters and models.

Why did you decide to set up VisABLE?

Channel 4 commissions new coming of age series Home Free

Home Free (w/t) follows a group of young people with learning disabilities as they leave home and move into supported living apartments.

Living independently for the first the time, the new housemates will take a major leap in their lives with extraordinary access from the families.

The observational documentary promises joy, laughter, new friendships, blossoming relationships and even tears and heartache.

BBC announces new development scheme for disabled actors

Shannon Murray in Class (Credit: BBC)

The programme, run by ThinkBigger, will give disabled actors across the UK the opportunity to showcase their talents to professionals in the industry, gain training and widen their contact portfolio in the industry. 

Actors are invited to submit a self-taped audition under two minutes in length to apply for the scheme in which up 30 actors will be selected.

For more information on how to apply, click here.

TV must do more to back disabled talent

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?