The Hidden Story Of Disabled Britain

Cerrie Burnell
Cerrie Burnell Image credit:

When Cerrie Burnell landed a role as a CBBC presenter the new job came at a price, parents were concerned the amputee would ‘scare’ their children.

The shocking views from mums and dads were only made just a few years ago which goes to show modern society still hasn’t fully come to terms with people who have a physical disability.

In a new BBC documentary Burnell traces the history of how disabled people have bene overlooked and cast aside over the past centuries.

The writer, actor and presenter unveils documents which attempted to segregate those with a disability and stop them from having children of their own. She also reveals how some were hidden away from public view their whole lives just because they looked or acted different.

Burnell also speaks to those who fought back, people like Alia Hassan who brought London to a standstill campaigning for human rights and John Evans, one of the first disabled people who packed his bags at a residential home and found his independence living in his own house.

It’s quite an eye-opener when you consider the show’s content dates back to the Victorian era and we are still uncomfortable today with a TV presenter with one arm!

Silenced: The Hidden Story Of Disabled Britain is on BBC Two, Tuesday January 19 at 9pm and available afterwards on BBC iPlayer.