Television and Film will always be a main passion of mine, I love to create anything that entertains, I’ve got hundreds of half written scripts, there’s nothing I like more than being on a filming set. Learning about the process of making telly and film was something I enjoyed immensely, creating things that can not only inform and educate but also entertain can allow anyone no matter what your ability to discover the world around you.
But TV has never really loved me in the same way I loved it, and when I say Me, what I actually mean is Disabled People. Television, and in fact the media as a whole, facilitate in my eyes the catalyst for pity and creates a widening gap of difference in society that I, and many others are doing our damnedest to close.
I sometimes play disability bingo in our house, when you watch the TV I will try and spot a disabled person on the box, and whilst these days, Children’s output is overflowing with a diverse range of Asian, and Disabled Children featuring as contributors, when I was a kid, I didn’t know ant disabled people until I went to School. Mainstream channels struggle to find an appropriate balance. It’s either Inspiring slow mo shots featuring Snow Patrol montage or we are portrayed a villainous humans, with a spiteful tongue and a chip on their shoulder so big you could eat a jumbo fish with it.
For instance, Eastenders recently introduced a permanent Disabled character, a new member of the Market traders, I was pleased that maybe the Beeb like Corrie were prepared to help change perceptions in 2014… Instead it took all of 5 minutes for me to realise they’d taken the opportunity to change the minds of millions and instead stick to the formulaic, grumpy bitter persona that most writers for entertainment believe we are.
I do understand that these types of disabled people exist, but in all honest by and large most of us aren’t bitter, grumpy and unapproachable. If anything we are the opposite.
I don’t know how many times I can say this, but I am not an inspirational figure, I don’t want you to feel pity if you happen to read, hear or learn about my struggles, I don’t need a smalshy soundtrack to make you feel like you should be in awe of me, we all have stories that are in someway inspiring so stop it. If you take strength from my stories, then fair enough. Just don’t make it out to be a conscious effort made by me to change the human condition to become understanding and full of empathy. I am no stronger nor no weaker than the next man, I am not a saint.
Coronation Street, have got their quota spot on in my opinion, Izzy arrived on the street, found a job, a man and a well rounded social life, with no real fuss about the D word, when it’s referenced Corrie writers seem to insure its in a casual way the way I do in my own life. Not placed in a script like a herd of Elephants in a room that no one mentions, with the actor behaving like a savage dog, baying for blood if the issue is ever raised in an Ali G ‘ Is it ‘cos I is black…’ situation.
If the creative form I loved so much took a more rounded and sensible view of disability, ditched the extreme depictions of what it thinks we are like, then maybe, just maybe, it’d change the views of the public..
Maybe our stories aren’t sexy enough for TV