BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

23 September 2014
Accessibility help

BBC Homepage

Contact Us

The Voices Recordings

About this interview
Actors An interview with three actors with cerebral palsy from the theatre workshop in Edinburgh. They discuss a whole range of labels for disability used by others both now and in the past, some of them offensive - as well as the language they use themselves.

Robyn Hunt, James McSharry, Malawi Logan,

Click on names to find out more about the participants.

Relationship of interviewees: Colleagues and friends

Where: Edinburgh, Lothian

Language of interview: English
About this interview
Voice clip 1
Being described as 'brave' or 'special' infuriates all three in the group - 'Special's one I get a lot... ' James speaks about labels used of the disabled now and in the past, and analyses the meaning and effect of some of them. 'Does it empower or doesn't it empower?'

This clip contains language which some may find offensive.

Voice clip 2
James's annoyance over the word invalid - or, as he describes it to others, 'in-valid'. 'I'm not a person with a disability... I'm a disabled person and proud of it.'

Voice clip 3
The group talk about whether it's possible to reclaim derogatory labels about disability - and draw a parallel with other communities who have tried to do the same. But is it possible, even using those words affectionately among themselves? 'It will always somewhere in the back of our mind be used as a derogatory term.'

This clip contains language which some may find offensive.

Voice clip 4
James tells a powerful story about the moment he first realised he was disabled: when he was four or five, being called names in the street. 'Somewhere along the line, that language creates a stereotype that it's ok to throw a stone at me.'

This clip contains language which some may find offensive.

Voice clip 5
A discussion about people who were once able bodied but are now disabled due to illness or an accident - and how their views change. As in the other clips, frank discussion includes a range of terms used for disability.

This clip contains language which some may find offensive.

More clips from this interview

Robyn Hunt
Robyn talks about the false notion of 'doing disability', and the responsibility she feels as an actor for the portrayal of disability in the arts.

James McSharry
James gets angry over a film he has recently watched which depicts people with cerebral palsy - and in particular, the interpretation by one actor of what someone with a speech impairment sounds like.

Malawi Logan
Malawi reveals French influences at home, and how her mother would chop and change from French to English and back again.
Interview's notes

Long description of interview: A mixture of individuals: Robyn is English, in her 20s from a well-off background. Malawi is a little older, from Inverness. Her adoptive parents spoke French as well as Gaelic to her at home. Jim is from a Glaswegian background and was schooled in the 60s. They were all articulate and very candid. We met in their studio and they became particularly responsive talking about Inside I'm Dancing, a recent film about a boy with a disability. The three of them have worked together for three years. They socialise together outside of work: Malawi and Robyn are close, as are Robyn and Jim.

Recorded by: Vivienne Perry, Radio Scotland

Date of interview: 2005/07/11



Map © Crown copyright. All rights reserved BBC AL100019855 2002

In Your Area
What do you think about your local accent?
Talk about Voices in your area

Did You Know?
'Booze' is an anglicised version of the word 'busen', borrowed from the Dutch term meaning to 'drink to excess'.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy