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Are You Having a laugh? - disability on TV

Emma Emma | 16:01 UK time, Wednesday, 23 June 2010

This morning, BBC Breakfast played host to disabled producer Kate Monaghan and Ouch's very own Mat Fraser. They were there to promote Are You Having a Laugh? - disability on TV, which will air on BBC Two at 9 PM on Friday the 25th of June.

The unique documentary, voiced by David Walliams and featuring a selection of well-known commentators from the worlds of comedy and disability, including Francesca Martinez and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, takes a rye look at how various impairments have been represented on television down through the years.

Are You Having a Laugh remembers some of the most popular and infamous disabled characters to ever grace our British TV screens, Blue Peter's Joey Deacon and Brenda from the office to name but two. While celebrating how far television has come and where we find ourselves in 2010, the show also manages to convey, in a rather humorous and heart-warming way, the slightly ridiculous, vaguely embarrassing and darned right hilarious manner in which disability has historically been depicted in soap, comedy, kids TV and even American detective drama.

This is a funny, accessible, mainstream piece of telly, chock full of contributors who all make for seriously good disabled role models. In fact, with appearances by the aforementioned Mat Fraser, Laurence Clark, Kiruna Stamell and Julie Fernandez, the credits read a bit like an Ouch! honours list.

If you aren't near a TV on Friday Night, Are You Having a Laugh -disability on TV will be repeated at ten to midnight on the 30th of June and of course, UK residents can catch it on iPlayer for seven days afterwards.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Julie's a mate and colleague, so I'll be watching with interest.

  • Comment number 2.

    I'll be watching as I got up early to see Mat and Kate on BBC breakfast , fantastic! And great show too!

  • Comment number 3.

    Narrated by a non-disabled comedian who mocks disabled people and obese women on Little Britain, and with Stephen Merchant contributing, who made fun of disabled people on his XFM radio show. Hmmmmm.....

  • Comment number 4.

    I have just watched the program, you can see how the way Society has change within the years. They should show more people with disabilities on tv.

  • Comment number 5.

    Now I don't want this to sound like sour grapes, but it did seem like I was written out of the history of disability and TV in this show. I really loved the show but was surprised I didn't even get a mention. I was the first wheelchair user on mainstream TV, first as a kids TV presenter (on a show that won an Emmy and got a BAFTA nomination), first on a soap (Brookside) and one of the first as a mainstream news reporter. Am I upset by my exclusion? Too right I am. Oh how soon they forget.
    Right, I'm off to plan my triumphant come back....

  • Comment number 6.

    Although I really enjoyed the program and found it both funny and informative I was disappointed that only physical disabilities were covered. There are many other non-physical disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders, learning difficulties and mental illness. Given that the BBC has actually confronted some of these in its programs such as the Stacey Slater bipolar storyline in Eastenders it seems strange invisible disabilities were completely absent. I often feel that non-physical disabilities are not considered "real" disabilities by the general public and the omission of them from this program seems to add to that.

  • Comment number 7.

    LOL Mik! Aww yeah I was wondering where your mention was sweetie! Well you know if I had made that show you would have a mention!

    Come on people,they should have him in shows! In my eyes Mik , you and Mat are top of my list of "disabled people who I like on telly"!

  • Comment number 8.

    There you go Mik! There's a mention for you! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNO2uoACBTA

  • Comment number 9.

    Yes, I thought Mik was conspicuous by his absence.

    Thanks for the Link Katie, very funny!

  • Comment number 10.

    Here's a link for you Katie, one of Mik's most recent appearances;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqIf8OSZerk

  • Comment number 11.

    It's a club, if you are in, plenty of dosh and airtime. For myself, I would have been more attentive if the talking heads did not give such a scripted performance.

    How about next time, trawling through these boards (Ouch) and landing yourself some, in my eyes, star performers, the non celebs?

    Wotch Mik,
    Nice to see you at your 'Housewarming' do!

  • Comment number 12.

    wheres the deaf access to this program! there is no subtitles on the iplayer program......

  • Comment number 13.

    LOL Thanks Bodge! Made me smile at his presenting again! Meeting the Mikster Thursday for saomething he is helping us with at work!

  • Comment number 14.

    Great advert for wheelchairs..... I saw nothing to interest me as a deaf person sorry !

  • Comment number 15.

    Excellent Katie, I hope it goes well :)

  • Comment number 16.

    It shouldn't be about which impairment group was left out, it was about Disabled people as a whole. If we're ever going to get treated seriously in fighting for Disability Equality, we need to drop this crazy factionalism.

  • Comment number 17.

    It's not about "which impairment was left out" - of course not, we are all disabled whether we are wheelchair users or deaf or other. But deaf and partially deaf people were literally left out because there were no subtitles provided with the programme!
    Honestly, the Beeb really ARE having a laugh. I find this particularly annoying and discriminatory and I'm shocked that no-one has bothered to alert the producers.

  • Comment number 18.

    The deaf weren't funny, simple as that. All we do is moan all the time, disabled get on with it. Let's face it the deaf UK humour scene is advertised as "John Smith the only BSL deaf comedian the deaf have..." He has one joke he recycles ad infinitum. Deaf are boring in media. Disabled are about individual personalities with little emphasis on their 'issue' and deaf are ALL About how bad people are to them, they need to move on, they are about 15 years behind disabled, in sport, in humour, in just about everything really. Who wants access to one joke wonders ? Deaf deserve better they aren't getting it, but mainly it's their own fault.

  • Comment number 19.

    DEAR SIR,

    DO YOU NOT THINK THAT LOOKING AT A DILECT ON DOCTOR WHO MORE SCARY THAN WATCHING A DISABLE PRESENTER. DO YOU NOT THINK CHILDREN SEEING A DISABLE PRESENTER ON TV IS A LESSON FOR THE CHILDREN TO WATCH THEM SELF WHEN CROSSING A ROAD OR PLAYING ABOUT? UNLESS THEY WANT TO TURN OUT LIKE THAT DISABED PERSON.

    YOURS,

    ANGUS

 

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