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12 Nov 07, 12:07 PM - Aardman's disabled animals

Posted by Crippled Monkey

Making the news headlines just about everywhere today is a new campaign by Leonard Cheshire Disability, which aims to challenge and change attitudes towards disabiled people. And it's grabbing the headlines because they have teamed up with Aardman Animations, the award-winning team behind Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run and, for those of you who are a bit older, Morph.

The campaign is called Creature Discomforts (geddit?), and is based on the much-loved Creature Comforts series that was so responsible for bringing Aardman to wider public attention. It features the company's signature plasticine animals with various impairments, combined with the real voices of disabled people describing the negative attitudes and barriers they've experienced in society. So there's Brian the bull terrier, who uses a wheelchair, Slim the stick insect, who uses a walking stick, and Tim the tortoise, a one-legged crutches user. Crippled Monkey is disappointed to note that there is no Cuthbert the crippled monkey, but I suppose you can't have everything. Check out some stills of the characters below (each pic is a pop-up, so click it to reveal the full image):

Brian the bull terrier (click to view full-size image)Flash the sausage dog (click to view full-size image)Peg the hedgehog (click to view full-size image)

Slim the stick insect (click to view full-size image)Spud the slug (click to view full-size image)Tim the tortoise (click to view full-size image)

Whether or not you agree with the campaign and think it's a good idea - and some Ouchers on our messageboard are already noting that the featured characters are all very visibly physically disabled - it's certain to attract a lot of attention once the advertisements start appearing at bus stops, in newspapers, in magazines and online from this Thursday. In January 2008, the animations will also be aired on (sshh, whisper it!) ITV. In the meantime, check out the official Creature Discomforts site for a preview.

*Crippled Monkey wanders off, still grumbling about the lack of a monkey character. Me wanna be a plasticine animation, yes please!*

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At 07:11 PM on 12 Nov 2007, Carl wrote:

Brilliant - Gets the point about disability & discrimination over perfect!!

Will educate kids n stuff...Me thinks there will toys available for the x-mas period - Anyone remember Paraplegic Barbie that was launched to coincide with the Sydney Paralympics in 2000?

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At 07:48 PM on 12 Nov 2007, Chris Page wrote:

I don't think it gets the RIGHT message across when it only deals with certain mobility impairments. Disability is about more than impairments anyway.

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At 09:40 AM on 13 Nov 2007, Alan Martin wrote:

I think its brilliant!!There'd need to be thousands of characters to deal with every challenge we face, both physical, sensory and emotional etc. In fact, I think that every single disabled person is unique and different from the next.
The huge lack of awareness of the general non disabled population can be influenced by this campaign, for a start.
Change of attitudes is what we need and thats a MASS thing. I#d love to see a communication aid using character. My friends would like learning disabled animals etc, but this is a great start. I must say I'm surprised at Leonard Cheshire for coming up with this!!

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At 11:10 AM on 13 Nov 2007, Alan wrote:

It's a start, at least it will get people thinking more. It needs to be followed up with messages not using at specific impairment groups, but spread the message that all disabled people whatever their impairment, still get a raw deal when it comes to employment, housing, education and training, transport, you name it.

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At 11:24 AM on 13 Nov 2007, Woofah wrote:

Good idea to have characters but why no Visually impaired ......when I was teaching at a VI school the kids were always on about blind dogs.... and one memorably asked if a Guide dog could have glasses to help it do it's job...........that could have been a fun character perhaps?

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At 03:24 PM on 20 Nov 2007, Glynis Spencer wrote:

The idea is good but when I asked, the Leonard Cheshire Organisation, how many disabled artists worked on the project they couldn't tell me and didn't even know if Aardman employs anyone who is disabled. If an organisation such as LC doesn't bother to check on a companies equal opportunities policy before employing them, what hope is there that others will bother?

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