Disabled Talent in TV and Comedy.

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Simon Killick

  • Saturday 6th October 2018, 9:18am [Edited]
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 7 posts

Would be really interesting to hear peoples thoughts on Disability in TV especially in comedy. (all forms) We have recently made a moc/doc pilot about a disabled guy in a wheelchair who amongst other things in the community manages an 6 a side power league football team in Harlow/Essex. For me I never wrote the show to shine a light on the fact that he's disabled, I wrote it because I thought (you may not agree) the character is interesting and flawed like the rest us, the fact that he's disabled is actually incidental.

When I see a comedy on TV that has disability in it, it always seems to me that they are shining a massive light on the disability as opposed to telling a interesting story about the person/character who happens to have the disability.(ticking boxes if you will) Or even worse they use an able bodied actor to play the disabled role. I'm going to exclude Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights from this as he is amazing as is the show. If you could find a better disabled comedy actor to play that part then fair enough but I doubt you could find ANY actor (disabled or not) to match the skills of Peter Kay.

Anyways would be interested to hear what you comedy folks have to say, I will put the link below to our 1 min trailer if you wish to take a look at 'Life On Wheels' but please don't feel you in anyway need to watch it, I'm just as interested to hear your thoughts on the subject.

https://vimeo.com/289465108

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Rood Eye

  • Saturday 6th October 2018, 1:14pm
  • England
  • 2,285 posts

To my mind (and ears and eyes), the trailer has "surefire winner" written all over it. If it is truly representative of the show as a whole, I wouldn't be surprised if the show were to appear on TV and draw a significant audience.

Disability on TV? Disability in comedy? I'm in favour of both and I don't mind if it takes a bit of positive discrimination in order to put a talented disabled person in front of an audience that will ideally cease to see the disability as they begin to see the talent.

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Simon Killick

  • Saturday 6th October 2018, 1:32pm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 7 posts

Thank you that very kind of you to say, yes we are all very proud of it and especially Andy who plays our lead 'Barry Wright'. I think you have hit the nail on the head there when you say 'They cease to see the disability as they begin to see the talent' I will be stealing that line if you don't mind as its so perfectly put. Theres plenty of disabled talent in our country, we just need to take the time to seek them out and present them with good creative opportunities and not just ticking the disability box without any real thought going into it. I believe the trailer does not even do the show as a whole proper justice. Theres many more surprises, twists and turns and a couple great scenes that include wheelchair aerobics and wheelchair dodgeball all disabled performers and for most their first time in front of a camera. A true pleasure to be a part of and something we would aim to maintain through the 6 part series. Thanks very much for taking the time to have a look but more importantly sharing your views on the subject.

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Firkin

  • Saturday 6th October 2018, 3:22pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 609 posts

Love your trailer, can't wait to see the full thing. "Its either that or modelling" had me spitting my tea back out. I whole hardheartedly agree with the points you make.

I would say comedians with dyslexia (Marcus Brigstocke etc..) and ADHD (Bill Burr etc...) and autism (Jim Jefferies etc...) are over represented in stand up. Their different, sideways view on life helps with comedy.

Lost Voice Guy is astoundingly good for someone so impaired. Not sure if he can act, but ... that said I first saw him many moons ago, and it does surprise me he had to go onto Britain's Got Talent before he get the recognition he deserved. I'm scratching my head for actors with disabilities, I mainly know the ones with learning disabilities, which is not always evident to the audience, which makes a difference. Let me know when this is on, and best of luck.

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Lazzard

  • Saturday 6th October 2018, 3:25pm
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,418 posts

This is excellent - some great performances in there.
Who are you talking to? Any feedback yet?
You need to get this in front of some good people.
As Rood eye says - this is very commissionable.
Good luck and keep us informed.
Of course, you do realise that if it takes off we will all claim to have been there at the beginning - and probably little bit responsible for its success.

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Simon Killick

  • Saturday 6th October 2018, 4:09pm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 7 posts

Thanks Larry (Lazzard) thats very much appreciated! It's currently with a few of the tv stations/developent depts for consideration as well as some big production companies. So far the feedback has been pretty good, but from looking at your profile I know you will understand better than most that this can be a very slow and political process! Haha I will of course remember that and I very much appreciate anybody taking the time to have a look and give feedback (good or bad). Hope all is going well with the screenwriting, my career change/swing has many similarities to yours and I wish you all the best.

Thanks Firkin, haha yes that moment still makes me chuckle even though I have seen it a million times, Its just great performance and comedy timing from the actor.

Yes I agree... they are actually pretty well represented in standup and I really did like Lost Voice Guy, I also really like 'the last leg' very funny. But thats the problem and why you're scratching your head to think of any disabled actors, because there are so few out there. (for now anyway!) I will of course keep this feed updated. Glad you like the trailer, I'm very proud of the team.

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beaky

  • Saturday 6th October 2018, 5:49pm
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,521 posts

Looks good, Simon. Nice if there was more than just one woman...I must say I found one aspect of disability most distasteful - eating baked beans from the can. Ugh! After initially noticing the hero's in a wheelchair, you soon forget about it, as it should be.
There are a fair few comedians with cerebral palsy - notably for me Francesca Martinez, who's brilliant and really sharp.
I think we'll see your series on TV before too long.

I should have added that even though you're a known actor and writer, and presumably have loads of connections, I'm amazed at the sheer quality of that pilot.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Saturday 6th October 2018, 6:02pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,121 posts

Can I PM you about an opp which is slightly related, Simon?

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Simon Killick

  • Saturday 6th October 2018, 6:13pm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 7 posts

Thanks Beaky I very much appreciate your feedback and I really enjoyed The Rebel. Haha yes a lot of people stomachs turn at the baked bean scene. I actually play that character and I can tell you my stomach was turning on the day. I didn't need any lunch after that's for sure! That's an interesting point you raise about more women being in it, as the fake documentarian character is a woman and not only does she sometimes pop up in front of the camera but she also VO's the whole show as well as feeding the questions to the characters. There's also a surprise twist with the skinhead guy (at the end) as well. So believe it or not I does even itself out through the pilot and the series.

Again thankyou, I'm very pleased you like the quality of the pilot, it was self funded and I managed to make sure everyone got paid something. Haha I would say I'm more of an unknown actor and writer which is why I'm putting my money where my mouth is... and most importantly I got to do it my way creatively, so the buck stops with me. No excuses. Thanks again and I wish you all the best with your future projects. I know a few people at UKTV, they're a lovely bunch.

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Paul Wimsett

  • Saturday 6th October 2018, 6:44pm
  • Folkestone, United Kingdom
  • 3,121 posts

Well that's not a negative, but I was thinking of an autism piece for your profile?

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beaky

  • Saturday 6th October 2018, 8:26pm [Edited]
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,521 posts

Simon, glad you liked the Rebel - one of the few people who actually saw the bloody thing! It's really courageous of you to use your own money like that, instead of frittering it away on drink, drugs and online gambling. Onward and upward!

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Lazzard

  • Sunday 7th October 2018, 11:10am
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,418 posts

Thanks for good wishes, Simon - and yes, I see the similarities in our path to success/failure! Interested to see you're in partnership as a ProdCo. I'm doing the exact same thing as we speak. It seems to be a better way forward than waiting for your agent to hook you up, then going in as a poor defenceless writer to meet other ProdCos. Get a decent slate together and go out and sell, sell, sell! Once again, tons of luck with it.

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Sitcomfan64

  • Sunday 7th October 2018, 11:25am
  • England
  • 527 posts

Very slowly I think there is getting to he more equality. The Last Leg for one. Rosie Jones is a brilliant comic. Did anyone catch the Roast Battle with Alex Brooker vs Rosie Jones? I usually find the show mean spirited but it was refreshing to see two disabled comics ripping the piss out of each other equally.

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beaky

  • Sunday 7th October 2018, 2:41pm
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,521 posts

Then there's Tanyalee Davis, a very funny and saucy comedian, mainly in the news for her set-tos with train companies and various jobsworths across the land.

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Simon Killick

  • Sunday 7th October 2018, 2:49pm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 7 posts

Love The Last Leg and love Alex Brooker, a real comedy talent with very funny bones! Have never heard of Tanyalee Davis until now, just had a quick look at some of her material, cracked me up!!