Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act, the BBC is set to raise awareness of disability throughout November with a series of dramas, documentaries, news packages and discussions.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was passed in 1995, protecting people with disabilities from discrimination. As of 2010, the DDA now only applies in Northern Ireland, as the DDA was replaced by the Equality Act 2010 in England, Scotland and Wales.
But to mark the 25th anniversary of the bill passing through parliament, the BBC is showcasing the talents, voices and experiences of the disabled community.
BBC Four’s CripTales presents a series of six 15-minute unexpected dramatic monologues, written, directed and performed by disabled people.
Curated by actor and writer Mat Fraser, CripTales – although each story is fictional – will focus on the disabled experience over the last 50 years, exploring disabled women’s, people of colour and LGBT+ voices, not to mention faces.
Writing for the BBC, Fraser commented: “Crip is a reclaimed word of self-empowerment and disability pride. It’s free of pity, charity or tragedy, and was taken up by the disability rights movement in the 1980s.
“It was the title that I and the other participants wanted.”
Participants in CripTales include Liz Carr, Carly Houston, Ruth Madeley, Robert Softley Gale, Jackie Hagan (in her television acting debut), and Fraser will also feature.
You can watch CripTales on BBC Four on Wednesday 4 November and Thursday 5 November. Catch up with Monday’s episode on iPlayer here.
Tomorrow (4 November) BBC Four will feature The Disordered Eye, a film by disabled artists and film maker Richard Butchins focusing on the impact of impaired vision on artists Monet and Degas.
Further productions will include a Radio 4 reworking of Ben Johnson’s satire Bartholomew Fair called Batholomew Abominations (7 November). Connections (10 November) will feature a series of three short dramas, involving disabled-led Graeae Theatre.
Disabled film-maker Chris Lynch’s show, The Disabled Paradox, will also be aired. The show explores the research showing that many disabled people “report a good or excellent quality of life, despite the perception of non-disabled people that their lives must be difficult and bleak”. A date is yet to be confirmed for this production.
Additional discussions will also air on Thursday 19 November focusing on the representation and portrayal of disability on and off-screen. Cherylee Houston and Melissa Johns, founders of the Disabled Artists Networking Community; Adam Pearson, Sophie Morgan and more will join the discission.
Reflecting on the anniversary of the DDA across the BBC, Nikki Fox will present a package alongside articles on the BBC’s website, a BBC 5 Live phone-in, and the disability awareness features.
Fox said: “The 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act is an important moment to take stock and I’ll be providing analysis and feedback across the BBC’s news bulletins, exploring the significance of the act and its impact on the lives of disabled people now.
“Alongside my reports, I’m looking forward to disabled people sharing their stories and experiences across BBC networks this month in a range of documentaries, drama performances and digital content – it’s so important to hear such a rich variety of disabled voices.”
The day after the official anniversary, BBC News is set to release figures and statistics from a YouGov survey examining how disabled people feel they fit into society.
This marks the largest disability awareness campaign to date from the BBC, highlighting the experiences of disabled people.