Thursday Truths: Bringing Disability to Mainstream TV Drama

Despite disabled characters appearing ever more frequently on TV, Raquel Marie Mason and David Wyllie intend to take that to a ground-breaking new level. Turning Circle, a mainstream 3-part TV drama, ensures that disability is not a taboo subject, but a personable insight into that life. This gutsy drama contains strong characters that tackle issues alongside disability that are relevant to everyday society.

Raquel is a professional disabled actor and David is a professional screenwriter, independent filmmaker and actor. They have collaborated to write a powerful story about bereft Social worker, Sally, and a guilt-ridden young girl with Cerebral Palsy, Jaz. Sally is a by-the-book type and Jaz is an act-now-ask-questions-later sort, and the friction starts as soon as they cross paths. The two women come from opposite ends of the social spectrum, but the more they annoy and perceivably interfere with each other’s daily routines, they actually become each other’s purpose to struggle through life as they realise they share common ground. 

Raquel and David believe it is important to show something that demonstrates today’s constant struggle and lack of funding within the care sector, encapsulating the struggles faced from both client and professional. Although the story is fictitious, Raquel has drawn from personal experience of people’s perceptions of disability, and she and David feel that their drama has the credibility to capture its audience and generate empathy to keep them engaged until the very end.

Jaz is feisty and has an nonconventional approach to living with her disability, showing that any preconceived ideas about disabled people goes right out of the window.

Turning Circle aims to inspire new and upcoming disabled actors and artists alike. Raquel, who indeed has Cerebral Palsy herself, says, “I knew that if I was to write and portray a secondary lead with a disability, the character had to be strong and feisty; one that fellow disabled women could relate to as a source of empowerment rather than pity; a character who challenges stereotypes of both disabled and able-bodied people alike”.

Turning Circle is innovative,” says David. “It promises to impact like nothing seen on mainstream TV. It challenges common misconceptions of disability, gives an insight into the world surrounding it and the constant battle to be heard. Powerfully beautiful, pushing boundaries like never before, the drama is something that will keep you on the edge of your seats”.

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