Podcasts are a great way to keep up with and be entertained by a myriad of different topics. We’ve found that, although there aren’t too many podcasts that discuss disability issues, there are some truly exceptional ones out there. They’re really helpful for keeping in touch with the disability Zeitgeist with the best of them being fun, interesting and accessible in many meanings of the word. Here’s our top five:
1. BBC Ouch! is the excellent monthly disability podcast from the BBC. As the flagship disability programme from the nation’s biggest broadcasters you’ll expect it to be top notch and you’ll not be disappointed. Rob Crossan and Kate Monaghan bring a fresh and fun approach to the subject matter with different guests (including an appearance from BBS’s Fiona Jarvis about a year ago) being interviewed and participating throughout as they discuss all aspects of disabled lifestyle. They discuss potentially sensitive issues with charm and wit and it’s recommended listening for less able people and able bodied people too.
2. The Download from Disability Now is another podcast discussing topical issues for the disabled community with a panel of guests. It has a similar approach to that of Ouch! although it is perhaps a little more serious, occasionally political and slightly less light on its feet than Ouch! In fairness, that should be treated as praise for a programme up against the might of the Beeb and it’s not without laughs. Only just over one year old, it’s doing well for a relative upstart and has attracted some good guests.
3. Disability: A New History with Peter White was a fantastic ten part Radio 4 series and is now available as a podcast. The show brilliantly takes on the tricky task of bringing disabled people into our collective history. In popular culture and the world of academia disability history has largely been ignored until quite recently, with major changes thought only to have begun after the first world war. But disabled people have obviously always existed, just almost never covered by historians. Until now.
This excellent series uses evidence which has only recently been uncovered to find out and explain the ways in which disabled people were getting on with their lives throughout history. White finds out what they were doing in the 18th and 19th centuries and makes interesting discoveries about the way society treated disabled people in the past compared to now. Each fifteen minutes episode reveals wonderful nuggets of information and challenge perceptions of progress and history.
4. Abnormally Funny People is a monthly review show, from the popular disabled comedy group of the same name, with hosts Simon Minty and Steve Best being joined each month by fellow members of the AFP and other special guests. They talk about disability issues but the big unique selling point is that each month they review several new products which are aimed at aiding differently abled people. The items of equipment they check out are some of the latest assistive products and they put them up for competition after the podcast is uploaded.
Abnormally Funny People’s website describes the podcast as “quirky, funny and irreverant” and, despite that sounding like a rather all encompassing ‘describe yourself in three words’ description used by many a generic comedy podcast, it’s actually very original and is good fun. They’ve only just started the first episode so you’d assume there are going to be tweaks and changes to the format, but the early signs are that this is going to be very entertaining.
5. DH in the Pub from Disability Horizons is a new way of discussing articles and ideas from their website in a more humorous and chilled out way than they can in writing. In each episode so far they’ve picked one main issue relating to disability (sex in the first one and accessible football in the second) and basically just chatted about it. It’s very low key and pretty lo-fi sound wise – it really does sound like a couple of people having a natter at their local – but each episode offers a short introduction into the issues they deal with online and it’s a way of trying to get people involved and sending in questions, comments etc. This is also a pretty new pod and they admit in episode one that it will morph as they go on with new features and guests possibly coming in the future. A work in progress to check back on.
If you know of any other really entertaining and insightful podcasts please get in touch. Maybe there’s something speciliasing in fashion or culture out there somewhere? We only really want to know about them if their disability related though – we don’t need to be told about BBC Friday Night Comedy!