Entertainment & Culture

The Last Leg: how the show still promotes positive disability representation

Update June 2024: The Last Leg Election Special

“The Last Leg” is set to air a two-hour election special on Friday, July 5, 2024, from 10pm on Channel 4, the night after the upcoming UK general election. This special event highlights the show’s ongoing engagement with current events and its ability to provide unique perspectives on significant national moments.

Three men stand in front of a dark background with orange and blue tones and floating sparks. The man in the center wears a suit, while the men on either side wear casual clothing. The text "The Last Leg" is prominently displayed in the foreground.

The election special will feature the show’s regular hosts Adam Hills, Josh Widdicombe, and Alex Brooker, who will reunite to analyze the election results, look back at the highs and lows of the campaign, and attempt to make sense of the post-election political landscape.

The team will be joined by guests from the worlds of comedy, entertainment, and politics, although specific names have not yet been announced.

This format follows the show’s successful tradition of election specials, with a similar show in 2019.

These specials allow the hosts to apply their trademark blend of humour and insightful commentary to the unfolding political situation, offering viewers a unique and entertaining perspective on the election results.

The decision to air this special demonstrates Channel 4’s confidence in “The Last Leg” team’s ability to provide relevant and engaging content around major national events.

It also reflects the show’s evolution from its origins as a Paralympics companion program to a respected voice in political and social commentary.

Get Tickets now!

Audience members interested in being part of this live special can apply for tickets through SRO Audiences offering fans the opportunity to experience the show’s election night analysis firsthand.

This election special is part of Channel 4’s broader election coverage, which will include election night programming led by “The Rest Is Politics” podcast hosts Alastair Campbell and Rory Stewart, as well as contributions from the Gogglebox regulars. “The Last Leg” special will provide a comedic and analytical cap to this coverage, offering viewers a chance to process the election results through the show’s unique lens.

The Last Leg: Promoting Positive Disability Representation

Key Takeaways

Key Points Details
Show Debut 2012
Current Series 29th series (began November 10, 2023)
Awards 4 Royal Television Society awards, 6 BAFTA nominations
Expanded Focus Covers current affairs and news topics
Impact Significant influence on changing public perceptions of disability
Talent Development Example: Rosie Jones
Upcoming Special Two-hour election special post-UK general election

Evolution and Success

Since its debut in 2012, The Last Leg has significantly impacted disability representation in mainstream media. Now in its 29th series, which began airing on November 10, 2023, the show remains a popular fixture on Channel 4, demonstrating its enduring relevance and appeal.

  • The show has won four Royal Television Society (RTS) awards and received six BAFTA nominations. This recognition underscores the program’s influence and quality in the realm of entertainment and social commentary.

Expanded Focus

Initially focusing on the Paralympics, The Last Leg now provides satirical commentary on a wide range of current affairs and news topics. This evolution has allowed the program to maintain its relevance and attract a broader audience while still promoting disability awareness.

Impact on Perceptions

The show has significantly impacted changing perceptions of disability. In a recent interview, presenter Alex Brooker noted that viewers don’t define him by his disability, highlighting the show’s influence on public attitudes. This aligns with the show’s goal of normalising disability and showcasing the personalities and talents of disabled people beyond their physical conditions.

Fostering New Talent

The Last Leg is also committed to fostering new talent in the entertainment industry. For instance, Rosie Jones, a disabled comedian, started her career as a runner for the program and is now a regular guest on the show. This demonstrates the show’s commitment to not only representing disability on screen but also creating opportunities behind the scenes.

Please continue to read our original article by Emma Shepard:


The Last Leg, a late-night comedy show, has been successful in removing stigmas around disability. From what started as a Paralympics commentary show, The Last Leg has evolved into a popular programme enjoyed by disabled and non-disabled people. 

As the 21st series airs on Channel 4, Emma Shepherd, a training consultant, talks about The Last Leg’s transformation from the Paralympics to present, and how the programme’s comedic outlook on disability has helped her to feel positive about her condition. 

I have watched The Last Leg since it initially started in 2012 to cover daily events from the Paralympics. The series showed a new side to disability on mainstream television and celebrated Paralympian’s achievements.

The Last Leg is funny, satirical and portrays disabled people in a positive light. It also takes the stigma away from talking to disabled people – yes, believe it or not, some people do not know how to do so!

The Last Leg Twitter and #isitok hashtag – starting discussions about disability

The Last Leg broaches questions about disability through its #isitok campaign on Twitter, where non-disabled people can ask ‘awkward’ questions about disability.

Before The Last Leg instigated the #isitok hashtag, non-disabled people didn’t have a platform to ask questions so publicly.

I feel that this has really helped to change people’s perceptions of disability. It has normalised it and made people realise that disabled people are just that – people!

The show quickly became popular amongst disabled and non-disabled people alike. The Last Leg was also loved by the Paralympians themselves.

I remember that the American Wheelchair Rugby Team regularly stayed up past their curfew to watch the show and taunt their competitors in a light-hearted way, and Paralympic legend Hannah Cockroft appeared on it more than once!

That year, between the Paralympics and the show, disability became better ‘accepted’ and talked about more than ever in the mainstream.

The show also helped me as a disabled person, particularly when it came to accepting my disability. Although I was born with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, it has been progressive and has become more limiting for me as I have got older.

I had a period of adjustment as my world was becoming smaller. It took me about three years to accept that I needed a wheelchair. Through The Last Laeg, I saw other disabled people just getting on with their lives, no matter their disability. If they could, why shouldn’t I?

I remember one particular incident when, after a hissy fit where I threw one of my many braces into the corner of my bedroom, I picked it up, took a deep breath and thought about the show and its cast. I immediately felt better about wearing it – I realised that you can be sassy, attractive and wear a brace.

The Last Leg was meant to be a one-off series, reporting on the events of from the Paralympics, but nearly 10 years later, it is still going strong.

The Last Leg’s growth from the 2012 Paralympics

Like any business or TV programme, it had to evolve to remain successful. Subsequent series have continued to be equally witty, but instead of talking about the Paralympics, the show takes a satirical look back over the last week’s news and current affairs.

The #isitok hashtag has had a facelift too and now covers anything from, ‘Is it OK to still listen to Michael Jackson?” to the recent, “Is it OK to miss Trump’s entertainment value?”

The guests are usually comedians who have opinions, although a few politicians have braved coming on – most have probably been scared by the interview that Alex Brooker did with Nick Clegg. Actually, this was thought of as a really good interview as it had a really human element. If you missed it, it’s worth a watch.

It has had a range of Paralympians and disabled guests/comedians too, and the programme has helped disabled talent to flourish – Alex Brooker launched his career on the show and disabled comedian Rosie Jones, who is a regular guest, started her career as a runner.

It is funny, informative, and deals with current affairs head-on. The Last Leg simplifies complicated political situations, has broken down taboos, and is spot on with its observations. I have so often cried with laughter whilst watching it – proper belly laughs.

There is also a sensitivity to certain difficult subjects, a no-nonsense approach to issues that are ridiculous and there isn’t any interest in following z-list celebrities. What is there not to like? Here’s an example from this latest series where they addressed an incredibly hot topic – the Covid-19 vaccine – with laugh-out-loud humour.

The Last Leg is not for someone who may get offended easily. It gives an annual award for ‘Dick of the Year’ and has a ‘bullshit’ button when they hear something that is, you guessed it, bullshit.

The Last Leg Cast

Part of the success of The Last Leg is the presenters themselves and probably the key ingredient to making the show work. Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe are hilarious and self-deprecating.

Their chemistry, banter, friendship and laughter is genuine, and they do not take themselves too seriously.

Adam Hills

Adam Hills, who turned 50 last year, is Australian and hosts the show. He was born without one of his feet and wears a prosthetic leg. He has had a successful career in comedy and television both in Australia and in the UK before hosting The Last Leg.

The presenters’ comradery has lead to Adam making a number of bets with his co-stars – many of which he has lost. They have resulted in him having the Union Jack painted on his prosthetic leg, having his hair dyed the colours of the Union Jack, and having him grow his beard until we officially left the EU – as you can probably guess, it got pretty long!

Adam is also famous on the show for his rants about the latest news, humorously putting the world to rights and setting the record straight. This one is a great example…

Alex Brooker

Alex Brooker rose to fame through the show itself. He had his leg amputated as a baby after he was born with it twisted, and now wears a prosthetic leg. He also has upper limb deformities.

He has gone on to co-present The Jump and made the brilliant documentary Disability and Me about his life, which you can still find on BBC iPlayer.

He’s well known on the show for taking on difficult and ridiculous challenges – he has taken on a round of Paralympic games, put himself in harms way in a knife-throwing stunt and was the first disabled person to take on the Luge.

Read our recent interview with Alex Brooker to find out more about him in his own words.

Josh Widdicombe

Josh Widdicombe, who was the token non-disabled person, as he called himself, recently quipped that he has a disability because he has severe hay fever. Up until then, his other disability was having been born ginger!

Before The Last Leg, Josh had a career as a sports journalist and a stand-up comedian.

The three of them have great chemistry that has stood the test of time. It is through them that the name The Last Leg came about as they are three men with four legs!

Do not take my word for it, watch the latest series for yourselves on a Friday on Channel 4 at 10pm, and check our The Last Leg YoutTube channel for snippets from previous shows. And don’t forget to get involved on Twitter with its polls or ask a question via the #isitok hashtag.

By Emma Shepherd

More on Disability Horizons…

Emma Shepherd

I have a small business that delivers training and consultancy about disability and mental health, called Let’s Talk Disability. I have two boys and two Shih Tzus dogs. I’m either awake working or asleep! I also have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. Supporting disabled people into work or self-employment and increasing their independence is why I get up in the morning (albeit slowly).
Back to top button