Enable at the BAFTAs: Director Jordan Hogg’s journey to change perceptions of disability behind the screen

Headhunted by the Channel 4 Cultural Diversity Network scheme, boasting over 150 hours of broadcast TV credits, director Jordan Hogg speaks to Lorne Gillies about being awarded BAFTA Breakthrough 2020.

Jordan Hogg Credit: BAFTA

Casualty, Coronation Street, Death in Paradise, Shameless and now Ackley Bridge: we all know the celebrated and adored television shows, not it’s time to get to know the director behind the hits.

RECOGNITION

“Being a disabled kid from North Yorkshire being recognised by BAFTA is a dream come true,” enthuses Jordan Hogg about the recognition for this year’s BAFTA Breakthrough 2020 for his work on Ackley Bridge. 

“I’ve always considered BAFTA as the best in the industry and to be recognised by them feels like all my hard work is paying off and I’m heading in the right direction.”

Whilst studying at university, the Channel 4 Cultural Diversity Network scheme saw the talent that oozed within Jordan and worked with him to develop his talent. 

Jordan explains: “They plucked me out of thin air in a way; the training they gave me was second to none and I got to work first hand with directors; I got to spend time on set for a full year; all my training was modelled around what I needed and how to progress to where my career is today. 

“I kind of owe them everything, I always say if it wasn’t for the Channel 4 Cultural Diversity Network scheme I wouldn’t be where I am now and getting this level of recognition.”

NO LIMITS

Having always wanted to be a director, Jordan knew that he wouldn’t let his disability hold him back. Living with cerebral palsy, Jordan has been challenging perceptions around what people think disabled people can do to show that just because someone is disabled doesn’t mean they can’t become a fencing instructor or be recognised by BAFTA.

Two accolades Jordan has to his name.

“With my disability, my parents never cut me any slack at all. My dad used to take me boxing! And I can only use one arm, it was crazy,” laughs Jordan. 

“Most of the time, I don’t realise I’m disabled until I’m in certain situations and think maybe I can’t do that. I’ve always hit it head on and tried to do things better than anyone before me just to prove a point. 

“Becoming a fence instructor out of school – I mean, I always knew I wanted to be a director – that was like sticking the middle finger up to everyone in a sense of like I can do this.” 

Jordan continues: “I always say the only obstacle you have is yourself. What people need to do is not be frightened to get themselves out there, seize every opportunity, be ballsy, test people and the only thing people can say is no – you might as well ask people and get your name out there and get seen by people and keep pushing and keep grinding. That’s what it is all about.” 

DIVERSITY

Being recognised for his work on Ackley Bridge (directing seasons three and four), the show has been celebrated for its diversity and honest portrayals of characters. 

Following the lives of people affected by the merger of two schools in largely segregated British and Asian communities, covering sexuality, racism, violence – based on real-life characters Ackley Bridge is pioneering in its own right, and Jordan has been heading up the show. 

“With Ackley Bridge it is brave in the way it doesn’t hold back or shy away from anything, warts and all, we’re making a show of people and their emotions as they come to the surface – it is a really brave show in pushing the boundaries and the storytelling is constantly getting better,” enthuses Jordan about his work on Ackley Bridge.

With a host of beloved shows under his belt, this recognition from BAFTA and Jordan’s palpable passion for directing, there is no stopping him. And Jordan already has a lot to look forward to.

He continues: “I’ve been offered a feature which is exploring diverse aspect in a really, cool new way. I was touched to be asked to do it.

“The feature is about someone with cerebral palsy, and I’ve also written a series where all the characters have a disability – it is black comedy, and it is a true image of disabled people that others maybe haven’t seen before. 

“All accounts on television of disability, up until recently, have shown disability with rose tinted glasses so we’ve created something showing people using their disability for their own gains and, for want of a better word, being absolute bastards to get what they want.”

THE FUTURE GENERATION

BAFTA Breakthrough is shining a much-needed spotlight on creative members working in the arts. It is clear awareness and representation of disability is changing in the media and there is nothing holding future creatives back from sharing their stories and experiences to a wider audience. 

“When I was still at university in Scarborough I used to make mini adverts for the attractions on the sea front, and that was my way of practicing making films,” expresses Jordan. “Now, we all have iPhones and smartphones, that’s basically a film studio in your phone.”

For budding directors, Jordan fervently advises: “There is nothing stopping you filming five-minute shorts, everyone has a story.”

So, what are you waiting for? As we wait with baited breath for Jordan’s feature film and ongoing projects, it’s time you too went out and created your art.

Don’t miss our Enable at the BAFTA’s series this week by following us on social media,  TwitterFacebook or Instagram.

PARTICIPANTS

The full list of BAFTA Breakthrough participants in 2020 is:

UK (23):

  • Abigail Dankwa, Multi Camera Director (Love Song)
  • Aleem Khan, Director / Writer (After Love)
  • Ali Tocher, Game Audio Designer (Surgeon Simulator 2)
  • Amir El-Masry, Performer (Limbo)
  • Ben Sharrock & Irune Gurtubai, Director / Writer & Producer (Limbo)
  • Bethany Swan, Hair and Makeup up Designer (I May Destroy You)
  • Bim Ajadi, Director (Here Not Here)
  • Bukky Bakray, Performer (Rocks)
  • Catherine Unger, Artist/Co-Writer (Tangle Tower)
  • Chella Ramanan, Narrative Designer/Writer (Before I Forget)
  • Claire Bromley, External Game Producer (Sackboy: A Big Adventure)
  • Jordan Hogg, Director (Ackley Bridge)
  • Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, Producer (Blue Story)
  • Lea Schönfelder, Lead Game Designer (Assemble With Care)
  • Linn Waite & Kate Byers, Producers (Bait)
  • Rina Yang, Cinematographer (Sitting in Limbo)
  • Rubika Shah, Director/Writer (White Riot)
  • Ruka Johnson, Costume Designer (Blue Story)
  • Tamara Lawrance, Performer (The Long Song)
  • Tim Renkow, Writer/Performer (Jerk)
  • Youssef Kerkour, Performer (Home)

US (11):

  • Aadip Desai, Writer (The Goldbergs)
  • Arnaldo Licea, Game Designer (The Last of Us Part II)
  • Edson Oda, Director / Writer (Nine Days)
  • Ekwa Msangi, Director / Writer (Farewell Amor)
  • Fernando Reyes Medina, Multiplayer Designer (Halo Infinite)
  • Gene Back, Composer (Cowboys)
  • Jim LeBrecht, Co-Director (Crip Camp)
  • Lauren Ridloff, Performer (Eternals, The Walking Dead)
  • Mary Kenney, Game Writer (Spider-Man: Miles Morales)
  • Nicole Newnham, Co-Director (Crip Camp)
  • Shannon DeVido, Performer (Insatiable, Difficult People)