Alex Lowery speaks about autism

What the BBC aims to do for disabilities by 2020

Written on 17th Sep 2018 by Alex Lowery

Many people speculate the BBC’s version of Sherlock Holmes is on the autistic spectrum.

According to the BBC website by the year 2020, the BBC aims for 8% of their staff to have disabilities and 8% of their characters to also be disabled. I think it’s great that the BBC hopes to employ more disabled people in the future because I know it can very hard for many of them to find and keep jobs. I also like that they intend to feature more characters with disabilities (which hopefully will include autism) in their programs. I think it’s important for the disabled characters to be played by actors with the same disabilities as the parts they’re playing because it can really add a level of realism to the program which is important. I also have heard that it can be hard for disabled actors to find roles to play, so this is another reason.

I feel like the BBC have already improved in that regard. For example: Cbeebies now have a program called ‘Pablo’ which is raising awareness of autism in young children. All the characters are played by autistic people. I’m also aware of the BBC drama series called ‘Holby City’ that features an autistic character who’s played by Jules Robertson, an actor with the same condition. There’s also an autism program called ‘The A Word’ that features a character of sixteen years old who’s played by an autistic person. In addition to this, The A Word also features a man with Downs Syndrome who is also played well by a man with the same condition. In addition to these dramatic examples, we’re always seeing many different documentary series that the BBC show that raise awareness of autism and other disabilities. For example: there is a documentary series called ‘Employable Me’ that shows how people with conditions like autism and tourettes can be of benefit in the workplace. So in the end, I already feel like there is a big improvement from the BBC in this area and it will be interesting to see the directions it takes by 2020.

It’s not just the BBC either. ITV aired a crime drama called called ‘The Level’ which featured a character with additional needs played by a man with Asperger Syndrome by the name of ‘Cian Binchy’ who I’ve actually met in person quite a few times. There’s also the series on Netflix called ‘Atyipical’ which is about a young man on the autistic spectrum. Unfortunately he was played by a neurotypical but he was still played pretty well. Thank you for reading

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Organisations Alex has worked with

  • Autism Cymru
  • Chester University
  • Glyndwr University
  • National Autistic Society
  • St John's Ambulance
  • Welsh Government

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