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.
A Day in the Life of Kevin Donnellon
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
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.
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
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
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
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'.
Former ballerina and polio survivor still teaches ballet
Anglia TV enjoy meeting former ballerina Elizabeth Twistington Higgins, a polio sufferer, who is now a successful painter by mouth.
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
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
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
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
News196638 mins Location: Plymouth
Parents and teachers of children with learning disabilities offer moving and practical accounts of their experiences.