Last week, I attended a screening of some new episodes of Silent Witness, which is a crime drama about a team of forensic pathologists that is currently airing on BBC.

The screening took place, with a question and answer session afterwards with some of the cast and crew, at BAFTA, in Piccadilly, London.

I got to watch two episodes, which both aired this week, which covered the topic of disability; some of the characters, Kevin and Serena, were living in a care home and the actors portraying them had disabilities. 

In the audience were a few people with disabilities, as well as a few familiar faces.

The actor Sally Philips was there, who I recognised from television as well as her media work around testing methods for Down's syndrome, as her son Olly has the condition.

Mat Fraser is a television and stage actor who has a disability, was also there.

Also in attendance was one of the show's main stars, Liz Carr, who has a disability and plays the character of Clarissa.

The question and answer section of the event was hosted by Paralympian Tanni Grey-Thompson, who is one of the most successful sports people with a disability in the UK. She facilitated the discussion and asked if anyone wanted to ask a question to the crew.

I asked one of the shows writers, Timothy Prager, whether the characters in the episode had a learning disability or not. I wanted to ask this because some of the characters in the episode lived in a home and seemed in their behaviour to have a learning disability.

Timothy answered by saying that he wrote the characters based on someone he knew with Cerebral palsy, although he did not say specifically if they also had a learning disability. 

A man with a disability in the audience remarked that it was good that the show featured actors and characters with a disability, but that he was concerned that because this episode featured disability so prominently, it wouldn't be featured in other episodes across the series.

Mat Fraser also commented that he thought it was a great episode.

I thought that it was great that the people involved in making the show were interested in getting the opinions of people with varying disabilities when showing an episode that features disability so prominently. 

Given my strong interest in television and film, I was really pleased to be able to speak directly to the writers and actors about disability, and learning disability, on screen.

I was really pleased to attend and would definitely look to go to more events like this in the future.

Find out more

Both episodes of Silent Witness are now available to watch on iPlayer.

Hear more from Amy about what it means to see more people with a learning disability in television and film.

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