There have been numerous media milestones for disabled people in 2018, and Lost Voice Guy comedian Lee Ridley has named his top watershed moments of the year.
Ridley shot to fame for his triumph on Britain’s Got Talent, which he won for his act incorporating communication aids in a unique comedy routine.
The comic has been unable to speak following a brain infection in infancy, but has used his disability as the basis for his stand-up comedy.
Ridley, an ambassador for charity Scope, has watched important shifts in public perception of disability as popular programmes have included major milestones for the disabled community.
He said: “This year has been a breakout year for disability across the board. The talents, ambitions and potential of disabled people are starting to be recognised like never before.
“One in five of us is disabled, and it’s great we haven’t been flying under the radar.
“This year I became an Ambassador for disability equality charity Scope and together we believe that any individual or company that challenges assumptions and attitudes towards disabled people is a disability gamechanger.”
One of the major gamechanging moments of 2018, according to Ridley, was the final of Britain’s Got Talent.
He said: “I was so proud to be the first disabled person and the first comedian to win this competition.
“On stage at the finals in Britain’s Got Talent with Robert White… to have two disabled comedians in this final was an incredible moment not just for me but for all disabled people.”
One of the stand-out moments for disability on screen, according to Ridley, was the revelation that The Chase star Anne Hegerty was autistic.
Her discussions of the disorder on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! were praised for their honesty.
Ridley said: “Anne’s conversations in camp about autism, really touched a chord with the British public, helping to positively change attitudes towards autism and Asperger’s syndrome.”
The stand-up comedian cited Paralympian athlete Lauren Steadman’s appearance on Strictly Come Dancing as a major event for disability in media.
He said: “Watching Lauren learn her Cha Cha Chas surely must be everyone’s highlight?”
Ridley was impressed by the depiction of learning difficulties on BBC 4 show There She Goes, starring David Tennant.
He said: “This brutally honest drama showed how hard it can be for parents of disabled children, highlighting the lack of help parents are offered.”
Scope is calling for more people to become Disability Gamechangers, and challenge the perception of disability in the UK.