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Up Close and Personal

Covering three decades, this collection of personal journeys gives an insight into how disabled people were often viewed through two powerful lenses. One saw disability as a personal tragedy. The other saw disabled people as triumphing over adversity. But disabled people usually don’t conform to these stereotypes, if given the opportunity to speak for themselves.

There are some fascinating exceptions to this kind of framing, when disabled people’s own voices are heard loud and clear. Some disabled people are seen leading ordinary lives, for example a visually impaired farmer, while other participants talk about their aspirations to full civil rights and a new life, once the disabling social barriers they persistently encounter are dismantled.

Graham Findlay (disability equality consultant)

Please note: titles in this collection may contain language or other content that reflect views prevalent in their time but that may cause offence today. They are included here for historical reasons and are in no way endorsed by the BFI or its partners.

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Ian Dury
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Ian Dury

Biopic198352 mins

Blockheads lead singer talks about how becoming disabled has affected his life and music.

A Day in the Life of Kevin Donnellon
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A Day in the Life of Kevin Donnellon

197228 mins

An episode of World in Action documenting the life of 11 year old Kevin and how he and his family live with the effects of the drug Thalidomide.

Y Gwr O Gwr Yr Aran
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Y Gwr O Gwr Yr Aran

197829 mins Location: Llanuwchllyn

Teacher Frank Letch of Llanuwchllyn, Gwynedd discusses his life and living with his acquired disability in this TV documentary. In Welsh with English subtitles.

Disabled Graduate
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Disabled Graduate

News19816 mins Location: Cambridge

Disabled graduate Peter Thweeney simply wants the opportunity to be economically independent, and has ambitions to become a lawyer.

Disabled Boy Invents Speech Machine
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Disabled Boy Invents Speech Machine

News19735 mins Location: Cambridge

Anglia TV report on the young disabled entrepreneur that has invented the Lightwriter, a communication device that won a British Design Award

Championship Swimmer
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Championship Swimmer

News19671 minsSilent Location: Exeter

Champion swimmer Linda Hockworthy returns to the pool after a recent leg amputation.

Able Yachtsman
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Able Yachtsman

News19833 mins Location: Plymouth

Para sailor Mike enjoys the thrill of the wind in his sails.

Blind Farmer
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Blind Farmer

News19785 mins Location: Shebdon

Farming: hard work in all weathers - and not a job you'd associate with someone with a severe visual impairment.

Smallest Woman in the World
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Smallest Woman in the World

News19728 mins Location: Bromsgrove

Living in a world that makes no concessions for her size: Joyce Carpenter is Britain's smallest woman.

Cambridgeshire couple adopt a disabled child
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Cambridgeshire couple adopt a disabled child

News19766 mins Location: Eynesbury

Anglia TV meet a 'Thalidomide boy' and his remarkable adoptive parents; all the subject of a new book and adapted BBC TV 'Play of the Week'.

Archer's Target
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Archer's Target

News19792 mins Location: Grampound

Determined archer hits the target.

Former ballerina and polio survivor still teaches ballet
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Former ballerina and polio survivor still teaches ballet

News19708 mins

Anglia TV enjoy meeting former ballerina Elizabeth Twistington Higgins, a polio sufferer, who is now a successful painter by mouth.

One of Them Is Brett
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One of Them Is Brett

196530 mins

Unforgettable documentary about a boy, born without arms due to thalidomide, and his family

Thalidomide survivor selected for Olympics
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Thalidomide survivor selected for Olympics

News19833 mins Location: Potton

Thalidomide baby' Ronnie West, accomplished in swimming, running, and shooting, is set to compete in the 1984 Paralympic Games.

Sip-and-Puff Assistive Technology
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Sip-and-Puff Assistive Technology

News19756 mins Location: Braunton

Eileen Brown lives with Multiple Sclerosis and uses assistive technology to write after seven years.

One Per Cent of Us - Children No More
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One Per Cent of Us - Children No More

News197645 mins Location: Plymouth

The TV cameras return to Downham School to see what has changed for disabled children since 1966.

One Per Cent of Us - One in a Hundred
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One Per Cent of Us - One in a Hundred

News198652 mins Location: Plymouth

This documentary charts the progress and challenges of disabled people living in the community.

One Per Cent of Us - So Many Children
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One Per Cent of Us - So Many Children

News196638 mins Location: Plymouth

Parents and teachers of children with learning disabilities offer moving and practical accounts of their experiences.

Michael
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Michael

Drama196112 mins

Sensitive portrait of a boy with Down’s syndrome, and the small village that includes him.

Three for Society
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Three for Society

196929 mins

Feisty and free-spirited, three disabled people talk frankly and directly about the barriers they experience in the 1960s