Others expressed concern, including the person who wrote on Twitter: “When is Channel 4 going to realise how offensive their shows are getting? The channel has just announced that it is cutting a scene from a forthcoming show called I’m Spazticus, in which people with disabilities pull pranks on the public.
The members of an art class have objected to a stunt in which a blind man groped their nude model.
Meanwhile, Ricky Gervais divided opinion on Thursday night with a Channel 4 comedy drama about a man called Derek, who has learning difficulties.
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As Sam talks about fame, the postman arrives at the old schoolhouse he shares with his father, Malcolm, a musician.
Channel 4 have sent a framed copy of the portrait on the poster.
Sam rips off the packaging and says, “Hey, look Dad, that’s great.” He’s not getting paid for his episode, or for the trailer that shows him at a flip chart, drawing a picture of his ideal girlfriend. and some boobs,” he says, drawing not much else but a pair of long legs.
“And that’s my girlfriend.” The clip makes you laugh, then feel awkward for doing so, not least because of the relish with which the voiceover woman says, “He’s never been on a date, or even kissed a girl.” The Undateables provoked furious comment online before the first episode went out, some of it abuse against those taking part.
Others wondered what to make of it, given his previous one-man campaign to bring back the word “mong” – a term of abuse for people with Down’s.
Sam says he just shrugs his shoulders at words like that, but why would this shy lad want to risk ridicule by going on the television? I was lonely.” So he answered an email calling for volunteers, which had been sent to the offices of Skillnet in Dover, where he goes most mornings to study music, media and drama.
“Looking for love,” he says, pushing the glasses back up his nose. Sam was comfortable with the idea of being on camera, having appeared as an extra in East Enders and The Inbetweeners. There was a big girl who was extrovert, and she really liked me, right? That sort of thing.” His dad breaks in to ask what Sam would have thought if Jolene had been unattractive?
So do many other 27-year-old lads, but few would want their faces plastered on billboards all over the country as part of an advertising campaign for a television dating show. “Famous.” That may become true after Tuesday night, when the episode in which Sam appears is broadcast; but this series began causing offence even before it was first aired.
Even fewer would agree to the brutal slogan that runs across the top of the poster in which Sam currently appears with five other men and women. The Undateables follows a group of men and women with various physical and mental disabilities as they try to find love. The man with Asperger’s steals his date’s chips and gets dumped.
Forget hearts and flowers, this is a shocker: “Love is blind, disfigured, autistic…” Actually, the slogan does not apply to this long-haired, music-loving Gillingham supporter who lives in a village in Kent and has a flair for making people laugh. The girl in a wheelchair sees her hopes of dating a tall man in uniform crushed, cruelly.
Disability activists objected to the title, attacked the programme in advance as a freak show, and condemned the posters for implying that none of those featured could ever be loved.