Contact details

As well as being a freelance writer I am also a qualified counsellor and I work for a low cost counselling service in Exeter and for the NHS Gender Clinic also in Exeter.

Simultaneously, I work as a Disability Member of the First Tier Tribunal, Social Entitlement Chamber sitting on disability benefit tribunals on an ad hoc basis.

As a writer I specialise in writing about disability and health.

My articles have been published in the Guardian, Times, OUCH! [BBC disability website], Disability Now, Broadcast, Lifestyle [Motability magazine], The Practising Midwife, 'Junior, Pregnancy & Baby', Writers' News, Able, Getting There [Transport for London magazine], Junior, Community Care, DPPi [Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood International]. I have also had articles commissioned by Daily Mail.

For more information about me and for examples of my writing please see below.

If you would like me to write an article for your publication, about any aspect of disability, please do get in touch:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dancing on Wheels - BBC Three - The worst thing on TV

After the marvellous disability TV high of How to Look Good Naked - with a difference [Channel 4] where the fabulous Gok Wan worked with 3 disabled women to make them feel better about their bodies/disability we have plummeted to an all time TV low with Dancing on Wheels [BBC Three].

For those of you lucky enough not to have witnessed this awful programme the series follows 6 wheelchair users who have been partnered with 6 non disabled celebrities, the winner will go on to represent UK in Wheelchair Dance Sport European Championships in Irael in the Autumn [come on you must have heard of this competition the press are surely all over it every year....].

It's hard to know where to start with what is wrong with the series.

Firstly the 'wheelchair using contestants' are not people who have been honing their wheelchair dancing techniques for the last however many years, they are just wheelchair users who presumably fancied being on telly.

On the plus side some of celebrities have managed to get a bit of dancing practice on Strictly Come Dancing [BBC1] but none of them were winners, so it's hard to see how they should now be expected to become great dancers especially when given the added obstacle of dancing with someone who is sitting in a wheelchair.

So you have two people, neither of which is a professional dancer, who are given a bit of tuition by Strictly Come Dancing dancer Brian Fortuna, obviously he can't tutor them 24/7 because he has to tutor all 6 couples... Then after a bit of practice each couple perform their dance in some sort of derilict warehouse which they've spend £2.50 on in attempt to make it into a set. A few friends sit around on crappy chairs while the judging panel sit at some sort of makeshift table. It's all so cheap and it's definitely NOT Strictly.

The judging panel discuss who is the best of a bad lot and the 2 couples at the bottom of the pile have to inflict their dance on us all over again before being given the boot in a not very gripping final vote.

The lowest point of the programme I saw was when the celebrity was weeping over her poor disabled partner setting back the image that disabled people can actually 'have quite a good life thank you very much' by decades.

I wonder what insight they were hoping the series would give us into disability? Whatever it is I'm not getting it and I'm hoping everyone is way too busy watching Eastenders to bother trying to work it out.

Helen Rumbelow's review of the series in the Times did make me laugh, spot on: