Wheelchair user's anger at comedy show
WHEELCHAIR users' lives are being made a misery by the hit comedy show Little Britain, it has been claimed.Paraplegic international sportsman Glen Puxley, who was last year brutally attacked in his wheelchair, has hit out at the award-winning BBC show's portrayal of a fake wheelchair user.
WHEELCHAIR users' lives are being made a misery by the hit comedy show Little Britain, it has been claimed.
Paraplegic international sportsman Glen Puxley, who was last year brutally attacked in his wheelchair, has hit out at the award-winning BBC show's portrayal of a fake wheelchair user.
Mr Puxley, 21, of Haverhill, was forced to miss out on last year's Olympics after a brick was thrown at his wheelchair, causing him to tip over, suffering neck injuries and a broken thumb.
He now claims that the show's characters Lou and Andy are responsible for fostering negative attitudes towards people in wheelchairs.
He said: “I think Little Britain's disgusting, I think it encourages people to be discriminatory.
“People in wheelchairs are very misunderstood, you get pointed at in the streets, no-one understands.”
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Mr Puxley's comments were levelled at the portrayal of wheelchair user Andy, played by Matt Lucas, who climbs out of his chair and runs around whenever his carer Lou, played by David Walliams, is not looking.
He added: “When I first saw it I thought it gave a bad view of people in wheelchairs, it's too much.
“I would say especially when people don't see too many people in wheelchairs and then they see him getting out of his chair, some younger people don't understand that it's not real and it's not the way it is. It's making things much worse.”
Mr Puxley also claims he has heard there has been an increase in wheelchair crime in recent months, with wheelchairs being stolen by pranksters to imitate the Lou and Andy sketches.
However, a BBC spokesman said while there had been a number of complaints about the general content of the show, there had never been any link made with wheelchair crime and no reports of any such incidents to the BBC.
A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “There has been one incident of wheelchair theft in west Suffolk since the popularity of Little Britain has grown and it would appear that the theft of this wheelchair was a sick practical joke.”
Similarly disability groups say they have received no complaints and no reports of an increase in wheelchair theft, and some have even welcomed the show.
Joan Petty, deputy chief executive of the Stowmarket-based Rethink Disability said: “It's the first time I've ever heard of it and nobody has contacted us about it.”
Peter Kemp, chairman of the National Forum of Wheelchair User Groups, which represents more than a million of the UK's 5.5 million wheelchair users said he had not received any such reports or complaints.
A spokesman for the NHS said they were unaware of an increase in wheelchair crime, and there had certainly been no hint of a link between any crime and Little Britain.
Since its early days as a radio show, Little Britain transferred successfully to BBC3 where it enjoyed cult status, before airing on BBC2 and later BBC1, and garnering a host of awards and supplying some the nation's favourite comedy catchphrases.