Ruth Madeley (The Accident, The Watch) has been tapped to star in Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Were Won, BBC Two’s one-off factual drama about the people behind the campaign that eventually led to the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act.
The one-off tells the story through the eyes of Barbara Lisicki (Ruth Madeley) and Alan Holdsworth, two disabled cabaret performers who met at a gig in 1989. They fell in love, had a baby and would go on to become the driving force behind D.A.N. the Direct Action Network.
Their incendiary “Piss on Pity” protest slogan brought an end to disenfranchising charity events and re-framed the debate around disability rights. Their post-punk sense of humour and spontaneous pickets shut down cinemas, restaurants, stations and even the London underground. And their fearless and coordinated attempts to handcuff their wheelchairs to buses brought Westminster to a standstill until their rights were enshrined into law.
Jack Thorne and Genevieve Barr are penning the script for Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Were Won, which is being produced by Dragonfly Film and TV (part of EndelmolShine UK) and One Shoe Films. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Abigail Priddle. The executive producers are Richard Bond, Tom Pullen and Jack Thorne. Bruce Goodison and Amit Sharm are directing.
“To have the opportunity to play such an incredibly powerful character and tell such an important story is honestly a dream, especially within the context of disabled, deaf and neuro-diverse history”, Madeley said. “As soon as I saw the script I knew this was going to be something so special and I am couldn’t be happier to work with Jack and Gen on a drama that deserves to be front and centre on screen.”