Chronic Illness Inclusion Project

Chronic Illness Inclusion Project

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CIIP responds to The Real Deal

The CIIP has written to the BBC to explain why their TV programme caused hurt and distress to disabled people with invisible chronic illness, as well as other hidden impairments.

The Chronic Illness Inclusion Project's letter to the team behind the controversial episode in the ‘Crip Tales’ series, ‘The Real Deal’ (BBC Four) is co-signed by other Disabled People’s Organisations and service user and patient-led organisations.

The letter asks for constructive dialogue with the team, and others at the BBC, to ensure disabled people with non-visible impairments are portrayed in a positive light in future programming.

In summary, our letter celebrates the series as a whole, but points to the problematic character of ‘Nigel’, the neighbour in ‘The Real Deal’, which we feel conflates invisible and fluctuating impairment with benefit fraud. This has added to the sense of anxiety and the distress that people with chronic illness feel around being judged by neighbours and the public generally, if they are seen out of their home looking ‘normal’.

Our letter seeks to explain why we feel this episode perpetuates, rather than challenges, oppressive stereotypes around disability and fraud, and asks for engagement with a broader representation of disabled people in future programming by the BBC.

Read the letter in full (pdf) here.