Ruth Madeley is to star in factual drama ‘Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Were Won’ (w/t) on BBC Two.

Marking the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act, the film is based on the true story of the people behind a campaign of direct action that lead to significant steps forward in the battle for disabled civil rights in Britain

Written by multiple Bafta winner Jack Thorne and award-winning actor-turned-writer Genevieve Barr, the film 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 and would go on to become the driving force behind DAN – the Direct Action Network, whose coordinated protests pushed the campaign for disabled rights into the spotlight.

The film will be directed by Bruce Goodison and Amit Sharma. Goodison is a Bafta-winning director whose credits include BBC Three’s Murdered By My Father and BBC One’s hit drama Doctor Foster. Sharma was one of several directors for BBC Four’s Prix Italia winning and Bafta-nominated Crip Tales, and has previously been associate director of Graeae Theatre Company.

Ruth Madeley is a Bafta-nominated actress, named as one of Bafta’s Breakthrough Brits in 2017. In 2016 she was also nominated for a Leading Actress Bafta award for her role as Anne Watson in the Bafta Award-winning BBC Three drama Don’t Take My Baby, written by Jack Thorne, the hour-long drama follows a young disabled couple fighting for custody of their newborn daughter. In 2019 she played one of the key roles in critically acclaimed BBC One/ HBO series Years And Years, written by Russell T. Davies.

Madeley has recently finished filming The Almond And The Seahorse alongside Rebel Wilson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Trine Dyrholm, Meera Syal and Celyn Jones. She can also most recently be seen in the BBC series The Watch, directed by Craig Viveiros and Brian Kelly. Next, Madeley can be seen in The Cleaner, a new BBC comedy series written by and starring Greg Davies.

Ruth Madeley says: “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. 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.”

Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Were Won (w/t) (1×60) was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Director, Factual, Arts & Classical Music and Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning, Documentaries, History and religion. The BBC Commissioning Editor is Abigail Priddle.

It is being made by Dragonfly Film and TV Ltd (part of EndelmolShine UK) and One Shoe Films. The Executive Producers are Richard Bond, Tom Pullen and Jack Thorne. The writers are Jack Thorne and Genevieve Barr and the directors are Bruce Goodison and Amit Sharma.


Jon Creamer

Share this story

Share Televisual stories within your social media posts.
Be inclusive: is open access without the need to register.
Anyone and everyone can access this post with minimum fuss.