More People With Disabilities Are Needed In Front Of, And Behind,
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 12, 2003
LONDON, ENGLAND--A recent survey of television viewers found that 61 percent interviewed said there should be more portrayals of people with disabilities in a wide variety of roles.
Still, television -- and other types of media -- continue to be reluctant to place actors or presenters with disabilities in high-visibility roles or jobs within their industries.
"It is understandable that broadcasters are sensitive about involving disabled people in programs, both on and off screen, but this should not be an excuse to shy away from properly representing society," Independent Television Commission chief executive Patricia Hodgson told fellow members of the Broadcasting and Creative Industries Disability Network (BCIDN) at a recent seminar.
In attendance were representatives from 10 leading TV and film companies, including the BBC, ITV, Five, Channel Four and Carlton TV. The companies are all BCIDN members.
The executives were there to report back on the progress made in addressing disability issues in the media, one year after the group launched its manifesto for change.
One example of progress is the BBC comedy "The Office", which stars actress Julie Fernandez, 29. Fernandez, who has brittle bone disease and uses a wheelchair, portrays Brenda, a character on the show who also uses a wheelchair.
Fernandez wrote an item for BBC News calling on the entertainment industry to stop being so afraid of people with disabilities.
TV 'ignoring disabled people' (BBC News)
"Office star's call for disabled roles" by Julie Fernandez (BBC