Little Britain: what about disablism?
In writing this post, I should first confess that I'm not a fan of Matt Lucas' and David Walliams' comedy series Little Britain. Not at all. Humour is a very personal thing, and I just don't find it funny. The few times I watched it, I ended up wondering what all the fuss and critical acclaim was about.
However, I was interested when I read an article on the UK comedy site Chortle, entitled Little Britain 'panders to prejudice'. It reports on a new study by an academic at the London School of Economics, which criticises the show's grotesque characters such as teenage mum Vicky Pollard and Daffyd, 'the only gay in the village', for the way in which their stereotypes "promote a sense of disgust at people of a different class, sexuality, race and gender ... Little Britain does far more to promote racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism and classism than it does to satirise them".
There a lot of terrible 'isms' in there, but it struck me that there's one notable omission. What about disablism? After all, aren't wheelchair user Andy Pipkin and his carer Lou two of the most instantly recognisable faces from the series? And in the years that Little Britain has been part of the nation's TV viewing, there have been frequent debates about them on Ouch, and whether or not the portrayals are disablist or, indeed, whether they themselves highlight the subject of disablism.
But what do you think? Taking the findings of the research mentioned in the article, and extending it to disability, did Lou and Andy did far more to promote disablism than to satirise it? Tell us in the comments.