2015 Resources

Portrayal of Disability: Then and Now

Examining the way disability and disabled people have been portrayed in literature, pictures, sculpture, photographs, advertising, journalism, media and film in past periods and now.

Equal Lives Youth Poetry

This video is about Equal Lives Youth Poetry

York “Hip Hop Shake Up”

Here is the “York Hip Hop Shake Up”, which we are hoping might challenge people’s perceptions about disability; I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this, and whether in your opinion we have succeeded. If we have, then I would really appreciate some advice about how to spread the video in order to […]

Successful day Conference and Launch of UKDHM on Portrayal of Disability in Moving Image Media.

Very successful day Conference and Launch of UKDHM on Portrayal of Disability in Moving Image Media. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell gave an audience of TV and film makers, actors and disabled people a strong message of support at the British Film Institute yesterday evening the 19th Nov 2015. He said that the ‘New politics’ that […]

UKDHM 2015 Filmography

A page with all clips used in the UKDHM 2015 launch can be seen here: UKDHM 2015 Filmography The sequence shows the spectrum of portrayal over the past century, both good and bad. Each one comes with a short commentary.

Portrayal of Disability: Dumb & Dumber (1994)

Portrayal of Disability: Nike advert

Portrayal on Screen: City Lights (1931)

City Lights (Dir. Charles Chaplin, 1930) American silent romantic comedy film written by, directed by, and starring Charlie Chaplin even as talkies were in the ascendancy. The story follows the misadventures of Chaplin’s Tramp as he falls in love with a blind girl (Virginia Cherrill) and develops a turbulent friendship with an alcoholic millionaire (Harry […]

Portrayal on Screen: I am Sam (2002)

Portrayal on Screen: The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Portrayal on Screen: The Sessions

A gripping film telling a real life story of how forty plus, polio survivor, Mark O’Brien (John Hawles), who spends most of his day in an iron lung, first clears his conscience with his Catholic priest( William Macey) and then embarks on working with a sex surrogate (Cheryl) to experience sex for the first time in his life. After some initial faltering he is successful, though Mark falls in love with his surrogate (Helen Hunt) and she is also taken with him, but the rules do not allow this. Later Hawkes develops the self esteem to embark on a loving relationship. Though played by a non-disabled actor Hawkes’ gives a realistic portrayal.

Portrayal on Screen: Mozart and the Whale

Portrayal on Screen: Portrayal of Disability: Me Too (Yo Tambien)

Portrayal on Screen: Freaks (1932)

Freaks (Dir. Tod Browning, 1932) Banned for many years, when analysed the film is very sympathetic to the disabled people who work at the circus as curiosities, clowns and in the ‘freak show’ and who form a tightly knit and supportive community. At 16, Browning had left his well-to-do family to join a travelling circus: […]

Profile of Hopes: Robert David Hall by Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health

Emmy award winning “Profiles of Hope” features CSI actor and Musician, Robert David Hall, who talks about overcoming physical trauma. Produced by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health’s Public Information Office.

Best Years of Our Lives

This Academy Award(R)-winning masterpiece recounts the problems faced by three returning veterans after WWII as they attempt to pick up the threads of their lives. Fredric March, Harold Russell and Dana Andrews are superb as the servicemen who Year: 1946 Director: William Wyler Starring: Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews. Harold Russell was a double […]

Interview with deaf actress Sophie Stone

Interview about deaf character in Dr Who played by deaf actress Sophie Stone. See it here In this 7 minute preview clip made by the BBC’s See Hear programme (and shown at the weekend as part of the See Hear Sign Language Festival), you can go behind the scenes and watch Deaf actress Sophie Stone […]

Russell Howard interview with Jess Thom

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One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest

One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a 1975 Film starring Jack Nicholson, written by Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman and directed by Miloš Forman. It is based on the novel: “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey.

The Elephant man – QED – Documentary – The True Story Of Joseph Merrick

The Elephant Man

Born Joseph Carey Merrick 5 August 1862 Leicester, Leicestershire, England Died 11 April 1890 (aged 27) The London Hospital, Whitechapel, London, England Other names “Elephant Man”, John Merrick Joseph Carey Merrick (5 August 1862 – 11 April 1890), sometimes incorrectly referred to as John Merrick, was an English man with severe deformities who was exhibited […]

The First To Go (Nabil Shaban)

The most recent upload is the video recording of the entire two and half hour live performance “The First To Go” as presented at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow in 2008. I have subtitled the whole show, a) for deaf and hard of hearing viewers, but also b) because the audio quality is not consistently good […]

Nabil Shaban

Here is my YouTube channel – 2BenefitPeople which archives the hidden TV and Film Cultural History of Disabled People over the past three and half decades. As I said yesterday, the channel contains only those film and television that I have had a creative input, whether as performer, writer, film-maker, which are not commercially available […]

Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte: End stigma around disability

From bbc.co.uk Actor RJ Mitte rose to fame at the age of 14 when he was cast as Walter White Jr in cult series Breaking Bad. He has cerebral palsy and was bullied when he was younger because of his disability. “I had my hand broken, my foot broken, I was slammed on the ground,” […]

Photographer with Down’s syndrome ‘sees the world differently’

From bbc.co.uk Photographer Oliver Hellowell has Down’s syndrome, which his mother says means he sees the world differently from most people. Oliver’s unique way of capturing the natural world has recently gained him a lot of fans. Just over a year ago, his mother Wendy O’Carroll set up a Facebook page for the 18-year-old’s photography. That […]

Can advertisers be persuaded to use more disabled models?

Published on bbc.co.uk on 4 August 2014 In a new advert for disability charity Scope, model Jack Eyers strips down to his underpants, revealing not only his torso but also his prosthetic leg. According to campaigning group Models of Diversity there are too few disabled models making it into the world of “perfect” bodies. “There […]

Opportunity for disabled actors with RJ Mitte

BBC Newsnight Published on Jan 14, 2015
Evan Davis discusses opportunities for disabled actors with Breaking Bad’s RJ Mitte and Hollywood Reporter writer Leslie Felperin. 

I’m With Stupid

Fridays Ep. 101 “The Comedown”

Switched at Birth (2011–)

Series on ABC Family, featuring deaf character Daphne Vasquez.


The Fifth Gospel (1990)

In 1989, Nabil Shaban with his then girlfriend, Tina Leslie, went to Lourdes to make a television documentary about disability and Christianity, commissioned by the BBC. It was called “The Fifth Gospel”.

It was produced and directed by Nigel Evans, and written by Nigel Evans, Tina Leslie and Nabil Shaban.

The programme was screened in 1990 as part of BBC’s Everyman religious affairs slot.

Love and Disability

From the panel discussion at BFI, 27th November 2015. Love and Disability – Event text

Reflections On the Coney Island Freak Show

– Originally published in The Huffington Post 10/08/2015 “Why are you doing this?” I asked myself as I handed over $10 to enter the infamous Coney Island Side Show. After all, as a person of short stature, I could easily have been exhibited there not so long ago. Yet something about the concept intrigued me, […]


Framed: Interrogating disability in the media. 1997 Edited by Ann Pointon with Chris Davis Framed brought together the thinking and writing on a large number of the key players who were pushing for more and fairer representation of disabled people in the 1990s Whole book as pdf. Download here

R J Mitte talking about being a disabled actor on BBC

BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-31923337  3.56

2015 Broadsheet Moving Image Portrayal of Disability:Then and Now

This years 12 page broadsheet examines current portrayal in TV and Film and Past portrayal of disability. PDF Word document Large print version Text-only version Easy-read version

Portrayal in Film

A series of clips showing portrayals of disability in mainstream film, across the history of cinema. Full playlist here.

Raspberry Ripple Awards

An awards ceremony ceremony co-ordinated by supporters of the 1 in 8 group which monitors disabled representation in the media. Prizes are awarded for the best and worst portrayals of disabled people in the media in a range of categories including Feature Film, Documentaries, Drama and Light Entertainment. ‘Raspberry Ripple’ is Cockney slang for ‘cripple’. […]

Disabling Imagery

The Disabling Imagery website was finished for BFI in 2004 and contains an historical analysis of portrayal of disabled people mainly in film. It has a range of activities for primary and secondary pupils linked to specific film clips. The pack published by DEE is also downloadable in PDF format. Disabling Imagery (website) Disabling Imagery […]


The 1 in 8 Group brought together TV Producers/Directors, Actors, Disability Rights Advocates and Parents. Its aim was to change the portrayal of disability in the mainstream media. To challenge stereotypes and make disability ordinary. It carried out lunches for casting directors,film producers, TV Soap Producers, a whole day conference for writers, producers and directors […]

Off Limits – Images of Disability

(suitable for ages 8 to 18) Channel 4 programme from 1993 presented Mick Scarlet. Still very relevant. Video here Length 24.22

Cast Offs

Channel 4 in 2009 commissioned a 6 part drama series about a reality TV show where 6 disabled characters played by disabled actors are marooned on an island for 90 days. Cast offs


CinemAbility – a film by Jenni Gold

This dynamic documentary takes a detailed look at the evolution of “disability” in entertainment by going behind the scenes to interview Filmmakers, Studio Executives, Film Historians, and Celebrities, and by utilizing vivid clips from Hollywood’s most beloved motion pictures and television programs to focus attention on the powerful impact that entertainment and the media can […]

TCM Disability in Film

Actors Robert David Hall, Danny Woodburn, Kurt Yaeger and Marlee Matlin are featured in this discussion on stereotyping of disabled people in the movies, part of TCM’s October programming The Projected Image: Disability In Film

Crip Fest 2015

Crip Fest was a day looking at cultural changes in the portrayal of disability in the 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act 25th July 2015.

Word of Mouth on Disability

BBC Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth, hosted by Michael Rosen – on the language used by and about disabled people, and the recent trend in humour of using disability to produce laughs. With Victoria Wright and Francesca Martinez. Listen to it here


Invisible Children

Invisible Children, a report of the Joint Conference of Children, Images and Disability, covering aspects of representation in children’s media. The Invisible Children Conference was held in March 1995 and was a collaboration between Save the Children and the Alliance for Inclusive Education. It brought together 70 children’s authors, TV producers,Commissioning Editors, actors, parents and […]

European Disability Forum Declaration 2003

This declaration was prepared and adopted at the European Congress on “Media and Disability” held in Athens on 13-14 June, 2003 by over 300 participants from different parts of the media, media networks, advertising and communication companies, organizations of disabled people and representatives of EU Member States. It is adopted within the framework of the […]

Colin Barnes – Disabling Imagery And The Media

Disabling Imagery And The Media An Exploration of the Principles for Media Representations of Disabled People the First in a Series of Reports by Colin Barnes


Media Guidelines for the Portrayal of Disabled People ILO

Media Guidelines for the Portrayal of Disabled People Ireland, made by the ILO.

TV Tropes

TV Tropes has many examples of disability portrayal mainly in USA


Ouch BBC Podcasts

Ouch BBC Podcasts cover a wide range of issues including portrayal.


On Wikipedia

The article of Disability in the Media.

The Canadian Association of Broadcasters report

A summary by Media Smarts of Common Portrayals of Persons with Disabilities in Canada.


Representations of Disability Slideshow

A slideshow covering a range of stereotyped images propagated by the media. See it here.

A tale of two general election years

Article by Jenny Morris depicting the stark change in public and political attitudes to disability between 1992 and today.


Media Representation of Disabled People

A concise overview by Lucy Wood. http://www.disabilityplanet.co.uk/critical-analysis.html

21 Years of Link

Why social model is important to disabled people

See this useful explanation including language on Inclusion London website https://www.inclusionlondon.org.uk/disability-in-london/social-model/the-social-model-of-disability-and-the-cultural-model-of-deafness/

Scope End the Awkward Campaign

Three short TV adverts on how to respect disabled people. Form a good talking point for discussion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wG_p7nc3wk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE2HgtoOE7g https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX84nJoP4zc