Friday, 3 March 2017

BBC Three - Things Not To Say To People Who Use Wheelchairs

If you don't follow me on any of my social media platforms you might not have seen me raving on about how I was in a BBC Three short film. If you've not watched it, I urge you to go and do that now, I'll link it here but I've also embedded it down below.

Back in January (it seems so long ago now) I was contacted by the lovely people that create the Things Not To Say To short films for BBC Three, and was asked if I'd be interested in taking part with the above film. Obviously I said yes or I wouldn't be writing about this. I was super excited as soon as I read the initial email and couldn't wait to respond. The assistant producer called me that day, we had a chat about the common misconceptions people have regarding wheelchair users and I was told my personality sounded just what they wanted for the film. Yay, go me! I was then asked if I knew anyone else that might want to get involved and immediately thought of Kelly, as we've filmed together a few times before and are good friends.

Over the next week or two (I'm rubbish with dates) I stayed in touch with the producer and we finalised all the statements/questions that we'd discuss during the film. I'd heard them all before so didn't need any preparing, and to be honest, Kelly and I were too preoccupied with what colour lipstick we'd wear than what we intended on saying,

We were scheduled to film in the afternoon of Wednesday 18th January, our transport was arranged and excitement levels were high. Of course, my passenger assistance at St Pancras train station fucked up. I'm beginning to think I'm not supposed to use public transport. I ended up waiting on the train for twenty minutes before someone came with a ramp to help me off, and Kelly had similar problems with a different company at a different station. Despite that, I was met by a wheelchair accessible taxi driver holding my name on a sign like a bloody celebrity and driven to a studio in East London.

We (Ian and I) arrived at the studio as there was another short film finishing up. Kelly was already there wrapped up in a blanket, with her husband. The studio was freezing but I was too concerned about what colour lipstick to wear - I'd taken a few shades with me so Kel could help me decide.

Kelly and I were soon mic'd up, positioned in front of a green screen with a table that had a bowl on. We did a few dummy questions, mostly 'would you rather?' to get us warmed up and break the ice. My favourite was, 'would you rather go into the future or the past?' I answered quite viciously with, 'the past, specifically the late nineteenth century to go on a killing spree with Jack the Ripper.' What a way to make an impression!

It was finally time to start filming, and we took turns on reading out the questions/statements from the bowl that related to things you shouldn't say to a wheelchair user. We rambled, we laughed, we patted each other and awkward stroked (it's this odd stroke we seem to always do to each other) we shared anecdotes, and experiences. We were filming for well over an hour and it was easy. I forgot the camera was there and it was like I was talking to a bunch of friends. We received loads of encouragement and told how awesome we were doing, and I honestly could have spent another hour revealing stories of things random strangers have asked me about or because of my wheelchair.

I must admit my feet were freezing by the time we finished and I was glad my driver (yes, I had a driver) cranked the heat up in the cab on the way back to the station. I very briefly met Nik and Stephen who filmed their segment after ours but we had to dash as our taxis had been waiting a while.

The film was published on Tuesday and I bloody love it. It's so funny and insightful. Everyone else that was involved was amazing, and I'm so proud to be a part of it. I've had so many comments and compliments about how fab it is, how sassy and funny I am - but you know, I kinda pride myself on that anyway (I'm joking. A bit). Please go check it out, share it, give it some love.

What did you think of the film? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. I lovelovelove the film, been sharing it like mad, as have my wheelchair-using friends. Although not a wheelchair user myself, I've had some of the things said to me as a disabled person, especially "can I walk?" (well yes, I am currently walking) and "is your partner disabled?"


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