Disability, Politics

Why is TV and films still ignoring people with disabilities?

Watching Top Gear last night and laughing my head off for an hour I got into bed and realised that every presenter on Top Gear has been fully abled, a show that first aired in 1977.

There are millions of disabled drivers in the UK and yet Top Gear has never done a show on car adaptations for people who need driving adaptations in their cars. This got me thinking why has there never been a disabled presenter on Top Gear, when all the cars can be adapted.

You then start looking through the Radio Times (yes I still buy the radio times) and you see that almost every show there is not one disabled presenter or if there is they are not the main presenter. But then they show a film about disability with no disabled actors, where the actor is portraying a person with a disability who is in fact fully abled.

It’s also raised the question on Madonna. Madonna appeared on Graham Norton a few weeks ago she was wearing eyepatch for her portrayal of Madame X. Where an eye patch can actually do some damage unless you have no sight. So the question is why would someone like Madonna portrait a disabled person when she’s not actually disabled?

Being a member of the journalism community I am fully aware that there are talented and enthusiastic television presenters, journalists and actors who want to star in films and present TV shows however it seems that people like the BBC, ITV and another film and television production companies don’t seem as interested in providing awareness on disability. They seem to be ignoring the that there is 14million people in the UK with a disability it seems they just want to hide it away or have limited exposure to tick the right boxes rather than show disability on prime-time, yet The Last Leg has been a massive success for Channel 4.

One show that has just been cancelled is Speechless this was a show about a young family where one of the sons uses a wheelchair having cerebral palsy and he communicated using aboard. The show ran for three seasons in the UK and America and was a huge success in the disabled community. However it was not renewed for a fourth season which was a shame, as I do believe it has started breaking down the barriers for people who can not talk and communicate in different ways and getting them on mainstream TV.

British television would benefit massively if more disabled people appeared on mainstream TV. This is one of the best way of normalising visual disability in today’s society rather than having people stare at you in the street which happens all too often if you are mobility scooter, in a wheelchair or if you have an obvious physical disability.

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