Belfast Telegraph

Jack Thorne: There is ‘invisible prejudice’ against disabled people in TV

The screenwriter believes more needs to be done to achieve true diversity.

Jack Thorne wants to see more disabled actors on screen (Ian West/PA)
Jack Thorne wants to see more disabled actors on screen (Ian West/PA)

By Craig Simpson, PA

Writer Jack Thorne has said there is an “invisible prejudice” against disabled people in the TV industry.

The screenwriter for Skins and His Dark Materials, and co-creator of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, believes there is a reluctance to include people with disabilities in entertainment.

Thorne said his attempts to promote the casting of disabled people have often proved unsuccessful, with TV bosses reluctant to offer more representation.

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(Left to right) Jane Tranter, Dafne Keen, Philip Pullman, Ruth Wilson and Jack Thorne attending the premiere of His Dark Materials at the BFI Southbank in London (Ian West/PA)

Speaking to Radio Times magazine, the writer said: “I don’t think it’s because people are bigots, I like the people I work with.

“But I do think there’s an invisible prejudice in the industry that needs to be challenged.”

Thorne said that disability has not been part of the conversation on diversity in the same way that race has, and the work to improve representation is lagging behind.

TV can change things, it’s such an important tool

He believes that TV has the power to give a voice to disabled people at a time when austerity has affected their lives.

“TV can change things, it’s such an important tool,” Thorne said.

“At a time when disabled people are being treated brutally through changes to their support and allowances, putting them centre-stage in our dramas and comedies, telling their stories, will make a huge difference.”

The full interview with Jack Thorne is available in Radio Times magazine, out now.

PA

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