The BBC aims to reflect the diversity of the UK in its productions, from entertainment, to factual, to drama, to comedy – on television, radio and online. We aim to accurately and authentically portray disabled people, often incidentally, as well as cover disability related issues in our programmes.
Creating a welcoming and accessible environment for disabled contributors, contestants and audience members is also a key part of ensuring creativity, representation and enabling participation. For our disabled audiences, accessibility can be central to receiving a quality service and therefore it is essential that all our services take this into account. We must consider ways to make sure that disabled people can use our services at a standard as close as reasonable to that usually offered to non-disabled people.
Production Access Guide
This best practice guide is for producers and production teams working on programmes within and for the BBC. This includes outside broadcasts and studio productions made for the BBC in house and by independent production teams.
It is a practical set of guidelines and suggestions to help make your programme accessible and inclusive for disabled audiences and contributors.
Positive examples of portrayal of disabled people in our content
Here are some recent examples of the portrayal of disabled people in our productions:
- Andrea Begely – winner of The Voice UK who is visually impaired;
- Liz Carr’s portrayal of Clarissa Mullery in Silent Witness (Presentable scheme participant);
- It’s a Mad World - A season of BBC Three films looking at a range of mental health issues affecting young people in Britain today;
- Sophie Morgan, presenter of Licence to Kill documentary on teenage drivers (Presentable scheme participant);
- Radio 4 The Listening Project edition on mothers of severely disabled children discussing their burgeoning sexuality;
- You and Yours broadcasting an interview with Lisa Coleman of ATOS, the company behind the government’s work capability assessments; it also covered the replacement of the Disability Living Allowance by the new Personal Independence Payments;
- Disability: A New History - Drawing on new research, Peter White presents a history of disability in the 18th and 19th centuries;
- Something Special - a CBeebies programme specifically aimed at children with learning disabilities and uses Makaton to introduce children to sign language;
- Regular correspondents and presenters who are disabled – including Gary O’Donoghue (R4 Chief Political Correspondent), Frank Gardner (BBC Security Correspondent) and Cerrie Burnell (CBeebies presenter).