This film is part of Free

The Contact

Spot the film and soap stars of the future as John Hurt plays a disabled teenager befriended by some biker boys.

1963 12 mins



Two decades before he starred as The Elephant Man, a disabled teenager played by John Hurt is befriended by some bikers who welcome him into their youth club. Made in 1963, The Contact is a remarkably forward-looking attempt to show disabled young people as deserving of inclusion and acceptance in mainstream society. Look carefully and you’ll spot a young Pauline Collins and Wendy Richards doing the Twist.

This is an early example of a non-disabled actor playing a disabled person, which some disability arts activists argue is offensive in a similar way to white actors “blacking up” to play a black or BAME person. Disabled actors are currently under-represented in the creative industries and on the screen.