Praise for the BBC, deleted by the BBC

After a turbulent few months for the BBC, with frequent criticism of its content, a few compliments about the public service values of recent programmes would surely have been welcomed by the BBC...

Despite this, the following remarks were removed on Monday from the BBC website:

"It’s not often you watch something on television you’ll never forget."
- Clare Pelham, CEO, of Leonard Cheshire Disability.
The programmes took the inspiring everyday hero quality of many disabled people’s lives and connected it to the TV viewers own needs to escape from humdrum routines."
- Philip Connolly, Policy Manager, Disability Rights UK

What provoked such praise?

They were referring to the BBC's Defying The Label series of programmes, broadcast on BBC Three - a channel that the BBC has spent the last year dismantling and preparing to move away from TV.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, within a short time of these comments being published on the Corporation's About The BBC blog, they were removed. After all, it would only give ammunition to those who object to the changes to BBC Three, providing proof of the value of the channel.

In further comments on the removed blog post, Clare Pelham said: 
“Sometime soon, discrimination against disabled people will become unthinkable. And when it does, the ‘Defying the Label’ season will be one of those watershed moments when we fundamentally shifted our understanding.”

Mark Atkinson, Interim Chief Executive Scope, said: 
“It’s fantastic that BBC Three has dedicated a series of television slots to programming about disabled people. We hope ‘Defying the Label’ will get viewers thinking differently about disability.
We hope other broadcasters will follow BBC Three’s lead, and continue to show the positive disabled role models and talent that exists in Britain today.”

Supporters of BBC Three fear that with the move online, due next year, programmes praised above will be:
  • lost online, beyond the high budget, high profile content being created by the likes of Amazon and Netflix;
  • reduced to bitesize, sensationalised online clickbait content that BuzzFeed and social media thrive on;
  • or screened in a late night slot on BBC One or BBC Two;
  • or shown earlier in the evening on BBC One or BBC Two, but redone to appeal to older people (e.g. Don't Tell The Bride - BBC One version)
  • or just not shown anymore.


Here's a transcript of the full blog post before it was removed. It would be nice to see it reinstated, even if it doesn't fit the BBC Executive's agenda:

  • BBC Three’s 'Defying the Label' season explores the lives of young people with disabilities, and tackles perceptions of disability with real stories from a 'disabling world'.
  • It started on Monday 20 July and as it enters its final week, we gather a short round-up of reaction:
Clare Pelham, CEO, Leonard Cheshire Disability said: “It’s not often you watch something on television you’ll never forget. The BBC Three ‘Defying the Label’ season is unforgettable and for me is about the growth of a movement. A movement, we at Leonard Cheshire Disability hope, will be the last chapter in the fight for civil rights. Sometime soon, discrimination against disabled people will become unthinkable. And when it does, the ‘Defying the Label’ season will be one of those watershed moments when we fundamentally shifted our understanding.”

Mark Atkinson, Interim Chief Executive Scope, said: “It’s fantastic that BBC Three has dedicated a series of television slots to programming about disabled people. We hope ‘Defying the Label’ will get viewers thinking differently about disability. However, seeing a realistic portrayal of disabled people on our screens shouldn’t just be a seasonal thing. There are 11 million disabled people in Britain yet they tell us, they rarely see their lives reflected on our screens. Scope research shows that 9 in 10 disabled people believe that more disabled people in the media would improve attitudes on disability. We need to see more disabled people included in a wide range of programming. This should focus on getting disabled actors, characters and individuals in all types of programming – from soaps, children’s programming and reality TV. We hope other broadcasters will follow BBC Three’s lead, and continue to show the positive disabled role models and talent that exists in Britain today.”

Philip Connolly, Policy Manager, Disability Rights UK said: “BBC Three are to be congratulated for their television series on disabled people. The programmes took the inspiring everyday hero quality of many disabled people’s lives and connected it to the TV viewers own needs to escape from humdrum routines.”

This week's programmes include: The Unbreakables: Life & Love on Disbility Campus (parts 2 and 3), Epilepsy & Me, Find a Home for My Brother and Me & My New Brain.
This page was removed shortly after it was published.














Update - Thursday 13th August: It took a few days, but the BBC has now re-published the comments, first deleted on Monday as part of a brand new blog post. The quotes deleted in the original blog post have been extensively shared across social media.


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