Meeting the Superhumans: Channel Four's Coverage of Disability at the London 2012 Paralympic Games

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Channel Four’s media coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games is said to have delivered a seismic shift in attitudes towards those with disabilities. But why and how was a marginalised group brought into the mainstream by the media? What were the influencing factors and who made the decisions? By interviewing key people involved in the television production process, and accessing some of their internal documentation, my doctoral research sheds light on how meanings about disability were constructed and delivered from the top down and across the creative process. Channel Four’s unique funding model and risk-­‐taking remit are again under review and this project explores the relationship between these industrial contexts and the portrayals of disability that made it to our screens as award winning content. My paper examines why, how and what representations of disability the decision-­‐makers promoted and communicated as their preferred meanings.
    These portrayals are discussed in the context of existing disability theory, derived mainly from other paradigms. I also examine how sporting tropes and programme formats were used to reduce the stigma of ‘otherness’ and bring a marginalised group into the mainstream.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2017
    EventMeCCSA Annual Conference 2017: Culture, Media, Equality and Freedom - University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
    Duration: 11 Jan 201713 Jan 2017

    Academic conference

    Academic conferenceMeCCSA Annual Conference 2017
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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