Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Surely it's time to have more disabled presenters on TV?

So, the Paralympics has drawn to a close and, apart from the occasional annoying advert break, Channel 4 have done a pretty good job. The Channel 4 broadcasting team have been particularly good, I thought, with a good mix of familiar faces and less familiar disabled presenters.

For me, Alex Brooker and Danny Crates were particularly good - the former for general entertainment on The Last Leg and the latter for his boundless enthusiasm during the track and field events. (I really liked the American dude in the wheelchair too but I can't find his name on the Channel 4 site and my memory for names is shocking! [Update: I have committed the cardinal sin. His name is Jeff Adams and he is Canadian. Sorry Jeff!])

I thought Jimmy Carr made a very honest and inciteful comment during his appearance on The Last Leg. He said something to the effect that it had taken him two or three days of watching the games before he really saw past the disabilities and just the sport. I felt something a bit similar with the presenters too. I don't see that many disabled people in day to day life and so at first I found my attention drawn to Danny's missing arm, or Alex Brooker's "hand issues" but, after a couple of days, all I saw was really great presenters making entertaining TV.

There's been a lot of talk about how to carry forward the momentum from these Paralympics and part of the solution seems quite simple to me: put more disabled people on TV. Not because they're disabled - because they're great TV presenters. If Claire Balding, Jonathan Edwards and Iwan Thomas can co-present sport for disabled athletes, then there's no reason why Danny Crates and Ade Adepitan cannot co-present sport for able-bodied athletes. And The Last Leg team of Adam Hill, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe are welcome on my screen any time!

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