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Any questions for June Sarpong - Creative Director of the BBC?

Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,452 Disability Gamechanger
Hi everyone!

I'm hoping to speak with June Sarpong soon about disability representation on the BBC (and TV in general) and wondered if anyone had any questions they'd like me to put forward.  For more information about June's role, read her BBC biography.   

Feel free to leave any questions or comments below and I'll endeavour to get some answers :)
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Replies

  • MrAllen1976MrAllen1976 Member Posts: 1,217 Pioneering
    edited January 12
    Are there any plans for a new series of The A Word this year? The first 3 series were great and sent a positive image of Autism beyond <moderator removed - offensive language> who think all Autistic people are the R word.


  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,452 Disability Gamechanger
    Good question, I enjoyed The A Word too  :)
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  • MrAllen1976MrAllen1976 Member Posts: 1,217 Pioneering
    edited January 13
    @Cher_Scope why would you edit my post? All I did was criticise people who think Autistic people are (Removed by moderator, offensive language)
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,764 Disability Gamechanger
    It was the other word you used that we edited out @MrAllen1976. We understand that you didn't mean to offend, but we decided to remove that word as it is language that could be hurtful to disabled people when directed towards others, which isn't something that we allow on the community. Here is a page that briefly explains a bit of the history of it, which you might like to take a look at.
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  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Member Posts: 1,518 Pioneering
    There are slot of programmes on TV  now that do represent disability I think that's great I eastenders there is deaf people and downs syndrome  could there be more storylines that include disability to bring awareness of different disabilities  and the struggle to live with a disability that people can't see in eastenders there is also a good storyline with one of the characters suffering mental health problems brought on by sexual abuse when they were a child 

    A few of the soaps and dramas have included disability which is fab  and because people watch these programmes it sticks in there mind and people can relate to it 
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,013 Pioneering
    "Could you pick your favourite example of where disability has been successfully represented within television by a broadcasting organisation other than the BBC?"

    "When will we start to see more disabled people on popular quiz shows?" (just curious as I've rarely, if ever, seen any disabled people on shows like Pointless and such)

    "What can the BBC do to make it's offerings more inclusive and accessible?"
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  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Member Posts: 1,518 Pioneering
    My favourite representation  of disability  has to be emmerdsle  on itv the young man Ryan with cerabrl pausy  outstanding  and helps understanding and gives hope for others with disability 
  • MrAllen1976MrAllen1976 Member Posts: 1,217 Pioneering
    There's also that Down's lad that's on Coronation St some times, Alex they call him. And an old friend of ours once told us that the Roy Cropper character is based on an Autistic person.


  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 621 Pioneering
      As this may be the one and only chance for Disability Equality to cross the mind of a single B.B.C. employee, please could you seize the chance to   ask her to grasp the notion of obeying the law?  ( No doubt she will scream "Not my job mate" and run from the room, horrified. )
    Can she create a way to stop BBC producers' addiction to music?  It is a Disability Discrimination issue. Music, or any other avoidable non essential noise, should not be permitted to make a service 'difficult or impossible to access'   

    Speaking to her calmly and slowly, gently explain that Sir Trevor Phillips, when Chair of Equalities, declared Disablism to be "invisible, universally practiced, institutionalised, and  W O R S E than Racism"   She will be astounded there is any such thing as an Equalities law, apart from Racism.

    Attenborough, Monty, and virtually all gardening and wildlife shows, and much of Radio 4, are now not available for some, or only in the reduced form of having the t.v. sound turned off, because of the intrusive noise of music.

    (It is as inappropriate as permitting producers to block the screen with their favourite holiday snaps.  No jazz band ever played under the ocean, no orchestra up a tree.   It is extraordinarily disrespectful to  nature, to the programme content and to the audience. to play music other than in a designated music programme. The B.B.C. is now even, increasingly, playing music over every single type of  spoken word content except sport, which they retain some reverence for.  They drowned out Prince Charles' launch of his life-work scheme.  Did they smother The Queen's Christmas speech with muzac too?). 

     Vast numbers of people with partial hearing loss plus those with innumerable other Disabilities, stress, neuro, spectrums and developmental , brain injuries and many others,  have difficulty or distress, or are totally excluded, by imposed unnecessary noise. 

     It triggers some, it causes processing problems for others, and it makes speech impossible to disentangle for very many.   This has in fact been specifically identified as a D.D offence, yet in their arrogance, B.B.C. permits the whims of producers to count above their Public Sector Duty, and above simple courtesy and consideration for the public.

    Those people who enjoy music enjoy their own choice at the volume they choose when they choose.  
  • endowarrierqueen96endowarrierqueen96 Member Posts: 24 Connected
    Tell me about a typical day at work
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,452 Disability Gamechanger
    Great questions, suggestions and ideas.  Feel free to keep them coming, I'm taking notes.
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  • lisathomas50lisathomas50 Member Posts: 1,518 Pioneering
    This is off the cuff but couldn't they do a drama series that tha cast  have different disabilities  that can include the struggles and relationships  how they cope 

    If not the whole cast but a drama that includes relationships  between disabled people  and the ups and downs 

    The only drama I have seen in one episode was call the midwife when the characte had cerebral pausy  who got a character with down syndrome  pregnant  it was heart braking but thst was all done in one episode 

    If it was a drama say in six parts the story of the cerable pausy  character and the down syndrome  character could of started with how they met and how society sees relationships and how the parents dealt with the situation  and then gone on to how they built their relationship  and how it got  to a sexual relationship and how they dealt with things emotionally  and then how they dealt with the pregnancy  and how they dealt with things so that it explains things clearly and deals with emotions and feelings  there isn't enough of it on TV 

    Most programmes contain beautiful  skiny women or hunky looking men 


  • MrAllen1976MrAllen1976 Member Posts: 1,217 Pioneering
    Could the BBC do their own version of The Undateables which was on Channel 4 for about 4-5 years up to about the middle of last year? It was a dating show designed for disabled people, except most of the couples that ended up on dates were from down south, most Northern date I ever saw was over in Lincolnshire.

    Also, they could do a BBC quiz show designed for people with learning disabilities, I don't mean dumb down the questions, just make them a bit easier than quizzes for non disabled people.


  • newbornnewborn Member Posts: 621 Pioneering
    Urge the entire B.B.C. to become aware of the concept of 'hidden curriculum'.  That is a concept which began in education, but is applicable in any portrayal of how the world is, and who is in it.
    This is both directly and indirectly connected with Disability Discrimination.
    I have glanced at the excellent BBC t.v. education schemes.    But, take another glance, and notice who is missing?
    For a start, in classic 'hidden curriculum' style, you notice that everything active and exiting and concerned with science or tech. is confined to a near-total cast of men.   Message is clear: Girlies don't do/ shouldn't do/ can't do  science or math or  tech..   It actually makes it far far worse, that a couple of tokenistic girlies have been introduced at the last moment.  In one, to be strapped into a chair and gaze admiringly at the men who chatter to all the other men about how they are going to do something to her via electrodes they have put on her head.   In another, a girlie is there to gaze admiringly at men who talk to other men about some interesting thing, which she can help demonstrate by blowing soap bubbles for a second.  A third shows the tokenistic admiring  girlie using a leaf blower to support a plastic ball, for a second.  In all three cases, the girlies are at a lower level than the important, all-knowing men,( they are actually sitting  silently on the floor in two instances!)
    There is a speaking part for one woman, someone eminent, brought in to read extracts from her book.  Men stand, and speak directly to camera, and have a great time joking with one another.  Token woman is shown sitting,  looking down throughout.  No teleprompter equality for girlies, of course, and no using a trained actor or experienced presenter to read that script, direct to camera.

    U.K. has an internationally extraordinary, shocking record on excluding women from engineering, design, science and tech.  Wonder why?

    Having noticed that, maybe wonder where the entire  national supply of disabled children or disabled adults are hiding?  (Having said that, thanks Beeb, (I suppose?), for skipping past the usual cliche of showing a wheelchair as the customary tokenistic one and O  N L Y  indication of disability.  But simply leaving it out, and instead,   not having  any sign at all of the existence of  mobility impairment is going a bit far?)   In two brief shots, to dispose of the entire  young and old disabled population, disability is done and dusted by having what appears to be a high functioning Downs Syndrome girl explaining she shouldn't be bullied.  (Even the Equalities video has music drowning out the N O N subtitled speech, presumably because there is no such thing as deafness or partial hearing, and even if there is, intrusive noise is no problem, and the disabled people have only themselves to blame if they cannot follow sign language, which I S mentioned as an option) 

    Ban the music and the alpha men, and front with active expert women, ideally gladly selecting those who will be using crutches as they rush around doing interesting stuff.   Have  people with non-standard faces, and bodies.  Show groups where one person is spoken to directly to their face, to allow lip reading, but never as the sole point of them being dragged into the story.   Have other people, not the mobility impaired ones, being the first to notice access problems.   There are some (not enough) regular T.V. performers and presenters with unusual faces, or dwarfism, or birth defects or injury leading to missing limbs, or blindness.  There are huge numbers of the population who are old, or very old.  They and younger people may have hidden or visible disabilities.  Don't airbrush them out, into a fantasy world where everyone is, or is capable of,  prancing around a soap commercial world of buttercup meadows.

    My wish, too, is that since widespread publication of the stuff about priests and alter-boys, etc, , and the Me Too movement, we have an end to all, absolutely all, of the fantasy perfection way to depict real life.

     It doesn't do any good for either children or adults to believe they, alone in the world, are living the lives of unmentionable outsiders of any kind. 
    Fifty years ago, and in some cultures even today, there were theoretically no gay men, so being gay must never be mentioned, which was unfortunate for the men who had to try to conform to what they could never be. 
    Abused wives were in the same boat.   
    Abused children still are. 
    Disabled people still, as often mentioned  on these boards, hesitate to 'come out' about hidden disability.  

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