BBC1 has been praised by a woman with learning disabilities for its forthcoming episode of Call The Midwife, which includes a storyline about a relationship between two people with disabilities.
In the episode, which will be broadcast on Sunday, February 16, when a young woman with Down's syndrome is discovered pregnant, sinister circumstances are assumed.
Ciara Lawrence, a campaigns assistant at learning disability charity Mencap, has welcomed the storyline. “As someone with a learning disability, I personally feel it is great that a storyline involving two people with a disability in a relationship will be shown on mainstream TV. Storylines like this will help to raise greater awareness of the challenges that people with a learning disability faced every day in the 1950s, with many of those challenges still around today.
“It’s fantastic that the two characters are being played by actors who have a disability in real life. It will show just what people with a learning disability can do. Hopefully it will lead to more actors with a learning disability being on TV, presenting disability in a positive way, and will inspire other TV programmes to feature more people with a learning disability.
“Everybody has a right to have a relationship and, with the right support, people with a learning disability can have a great relationship, get married and have children. I know this because I got married last year and this was made possible because I had the right support around me.
“I think that the programme will really help to raise awareness of disability and will help to challenge people's often negative attitudes about learning disability.”
(Image: Call The Midwife cast panel at RCM Conference 2012, courtesy of www.jfhc.co.uk)