BBC Two’s blind road trip

Jamie MacDonald and Jamie O’Leary dressed as pigs
Jamie MacDonald and Jamie O’Leary dressed as pigs Image credit:

Comedian Jamie MacDonald and TV director Jamie O’Leary are the two brains behind a new BBC documentary opening our eyes about vision loss.

Jamie is the first to admit he has pretty bad eyesight, the average person with myopia has a perception of -2.5, Jamie has -3.2!

Faced with the prospect if he’s forthcoming surgery is unsuccessful MacDonald realises he could lose his sight altogether.

Facing an uncertain future O’Leary wants to ‘see’ how people with vision loss are using their creativity on an informative and exciting road trip.

Setting off with MacDonald, who started losing his vision as a teenager due to a progressive degenerative retinal disease, the two explorers meet individuals with interesting creative stories to tell despite their sight loss.

They speak to professional photographer Ian Treherne, who only has 5 per cent vision.

The three lads take a wander down Southend seafront where Ian take a few publicity shots of the two Jamies to promote the show (see above).

Think it’s unlikely a person with completely no eyesight can take a profession chopping up wood? Think again! MacDonald and O’Leary’s trek takes them to Derby where they meet Chis Fisher, the only blind professional woodturner in the UK.

Fisher contracted toxoplasmosis in 2008, within weeks he could not see a thing.

The Jamies round off their expedition in London talking to opera singer Lizzie Carpener who has been bellowing out harmonious numbers for the past 20 years.

Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, Lizzie has overcome the odds to become an acclaimed performer, but will the guys take her up on her offer to teach them how to sing?

Blind Ambition is on BBC Two, Sunday August 1 at 10pm and available afterwards on BBC iPlayer.