20-year-old actress Storme Toolis (pictured) appears as Nicholas Lyndhurst's on-screen daughter Holly Griffin in the long-running BBC1 drama New Tricks, the new series of which started last night.
Her character is young, feisty, opinionated and confident. A typical teenager, she's a law student who loves boys and who has a boyfriend.
Why is this last part noteworthy? Well, because both Storme and Holly have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair.
She has recently filmed one of the few (if not the only) sex scenes on UK television involving a disabled character where their disability is not the focus of the scene - her embarrassment at being caught by her dad is.
"I think [the scene] is extremely important," she said on Radio 4's Woman's Hour.
"I think society is very uncomfortable with the notion of disability and relationships in general. There are TV shows like The Undateables and Sex On Wheels that alienates disabled people and relationships and that don't see them as part of the mainstream. It's amazing that the BBC are doing this."
Storme has become a champion for equal rights for disabled actors, criticising the trend to pigeon hole disabled people in certain roles.
"Most disabled actors get cast in the role of a victim: the victim of an accident or a car crash or as a hospital patient," she is reported to have said.
"Or they're the brunt of someone's joke. It's nice to be reflecting an ordinary person."
She appeared in The Inbetweeners movie although her wheelchair was indeed part of the plot, but that didn't detract from her enjoyment of the film: "That came about because I went to be part of the extras in school scene at the beginning. I got picked up from there and that's how that happened. There were no auditions. It was just luck."
She studies English and Drama at Kent University and reports that it was exceptionally difficult to find a course that would suit her needs: "I applied to over 13 different universities. Some of them you got to the lectures and you can't even get into the halls."
The head of drama at a leading London college said she wouldn't be able to take part in the movement classes, but could "sit and watch".
This hasn't put her off acting though. She says her ambition is to "milk acting for as long as I possibly can. Eventually I would like I would like to become a drama teacher as my teacher helped me a lot and I would like to do that for someone else one day."
Saturday, August 31, 2013
British actress with cerebral palsy set to feature in 'TV's first disabled character sex scene' on BBC1's 'New Tricks'
The Mirror in the UK:
Posted by BA Haller at 9:34 PM