‘It’s really scared of disability’: Disabled comedians’ perspectives of the British television comedy industry | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2046-9861
  • E-ISSN: 2046-987X



For over twenty years British television broadcasters, regulators and critics have been, and continue to be, united in their desire to increase the number of disabled staff working across the television industry and to improve the representation of disabled people in television programmes. However, little research focuses on the lived experiences of disabled television writers and performers working within the television industry. Via thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews with disabled comedy writers and performers, this article specifically focuses on the everyday working experiences of disabled comedy professionals in the contemporary television comedy industry. Two main interconnected themes are highlighted and explored: (1) institutional dynamics of the television comedy industry; and (2) limits of current portrayals of disability in television comedy. These themes reveal the disabling institutional norms experienced by disabled comedy professionals and their critical perceptions of the representations of disability in recent television comedy programmes, including I’m Spazticus (2012–2013) and The Last Leg (2012–).


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