The Last Leg: what do you think?

The Last Leg: what do you think?

Have you been watching The Last Leg? Regular Disability Horizons contributor, Sarah Ismail, tells us her thoughts on the show and how it may be playing a part in the Paralympic legacy.

During Channel 4’s coverage of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, the comedy program The Last Leg – a hilarious highlights show – aired each night at the end of the day’s sports coverage. By the way, its two disabled presenters, Adam Hills and Alex Brooker, are amputees who have one leg each. The third presenter, Josh Widdecombe, is not disabled.

Disabled people loved The Last Leg in its original format. However, once the Paralympic Games ended, there seemed to be no need for it to return. Like the Games itself, it soon became all but a treasured (and extremely funny) memory.

So, last week I was thrilled to discover that it was returning on Friday nights at 9.30pm with the same presenting team. But, readers, before I watched it, I thought the new version of The Last Leg was going to be a round-up discussion of the week’s big disability stories. I was expecting something like the BBC’s This Week, but with disability news, disability-related one-liners and disabled studio guests.

Why was I expecting all this? Well, simply because Adam Hills and Alex Brooker just happen to be missing a leg each. Yes readers, I, a disabled person, am guilty as charged. I fell into a mainstream trap. Because, of course, no one but no one in their right minds would ever let two disabled presenters loose on national television to talk about anything that wasn’t related to disability in some way. Right?

Wrong Sarah. So very, very wrong.

I sat and watched in wonder as these three witty presenters brought their usual brand of fun, friendship and laughter to my screen. However, in this new series of the show, they are discussing the mainstream news stories of last week – horse meat in burgers and Prince Harry’s recent return from Afghanistan – not disability-related soundbites.

The strongest connection it had with disability was when they read out a tweet from disability rights campaigner Sue Marsh asking whether or not the program was still going to be disability related!

As a journalist who specialises in disability news, I would personally have found the revamped The Last Leg that I was expecting very interesting and useful.

However, when I turned off my TV on Friday night, I sat back and thought about what I had just spent half an hour watching. And very soon I realised I was thrilled that Channel 4 had let two disabled people loose on my screen to discuss things that had no connection whatsoever to disability. Because, first and foremost, I am a disabled person who would love to see full inclusion of disabled people in the media, as well as all other areas of society.

I thank Channel 4 for bringing The Last Leg back to my TV screen. It really and truly is new and improved.

The program’s theme tune, carried over from the original, says: “Thank you for letting us be ourselves.” With this new series, Channel 4 have allowed Adam Hills and Alex Brooker to be themselves; two talented and hilarious TV presenters who are fully qualified to discuss anything they like without making any secret of the fact that they each wear a prosthetic leg.

This program, readers, is the Paralympic legacy in action.

You can catch up on the first episode of The Last Leg on 4OD.

By Sarah Ismail

Check out…

Paralympics Games 2012: is disability viewed differently?
The Last Leg: a review of the alternative Paralympics show.
Paralympics Games 2012: the legacy and impact.

Have you been watching The Last Leg? We’d love to know what you think of it and whether it’s part of the Paralympic legacy. Get in touch by emailing us at editor@97c.026.myftpupload.com, tweeting us @DHorizons, sending us a message on Facebook or commenting below.

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  • disqus_86GgxnXn3S

    I thought the program was just as great as during the paralympics. The original threesome are quite brilliant and very entertaining. Congratulations to the show and Channel 4.

  • Love this show! I’m so pleased that it’s continuing beyond the Paralympics.

  • Brilliant show! Not only is it hilarious, but it’s great to see disabilities on a mainstream show and not one that is all about disabilities. It’s making people realise that having a disability doesn’t make you uncool. In fact, being unique and proud of who you are makes you cool!

  • Funky Mango

    I love the show, *but* I was disappointed last night when Alex came out with some casual homophobia about only gay men baking cakes. Not cool, Alex.

    • Nabend1401

      When I watched it, that joke took be aback a bit as well. Then I thought about it and now I’m not so sure any more how Alex meant it. He may have just meant to say that that was his father’s view of homosexuality, being of a different generation, not his own (which would surprise me). So it may have been a slightly poorly worded joke about the different perceptions about homosexuality in different generations. I’m not sure how exactly he meant it, so let’s not jump to conclusions.

    • John Thornton

      I hope Adam’s, Alex’s and Josh’s antics in the last few weeks (in response to Russia’s open hostility towards gay people) shows they are far from homophobic! Tonight’s scene, of Alex and Josh bonking together in bed, with a bedside photo of Putin, took the biscuit. I only hope Channel 4 send them to Sochi (with a well equipped armed guard) for the winter Games!