Channel 4’s 2012 launch: Nationwide search for disabled talent


Channel 4 has pledged that at least half of the presenters it uses for its blanket coverage of the London 2012 Paralympics will be disabled people.

It made the promise as it announced initial details of a £500, 000 programme to find disabled sports reporters and presenters and develop their skills in readiness for its blanket coverage of the London games in 2012.

Ade Adepitan, the Channel 4 presenter and former Paralympian, said: “I think it’s important to have Paralympians commentating and imparting their knowledge of the Paralympic games.”

Although some of those recruited are likely to be former Paralympians, Channel 4 also wants to identify other disabled “talent”, who could eventually work across “all of Channel 4’s broadcast output”.

Alison Walsh, Channel 4’s disability executive, said the broadcaster had made “a lot of progress” in featuring disabled actors in its drama, as well as disabled people on reality shows such as Location, Location, Location and Big Brother.

But she said: “Presenting talent is the last big hurdle. It is a big launching pad for us to find new and good presenting talent that can have a life beyond the Paralympics.

“We are not talking about parachuting disabled people in just because there’s a quota. It’s a barrier that needs to be broken through.”

And she said it was “key” that Channel 4 kept up its “proper mainstream inclusion of disabled people across other parts of the schedule”.

She added: “I think it’s really important that I keep my foot on the throttle for that.”

The 2012 talent search will be launched later this month.

9 August 2010