Disability: A New History

“I didn't think of disabled people having a history. I thought everyone else had a history, and we were off-centre!” - Peter White
Programme Details

Across the country, historians are discovering the voices of disabled people from the past: their diaries, court appearances, petitions. It is a hugely exciting area of research. In this series, BBC Disability Affairs Correspondent, Peter White uses first-hand accounts to explore the lives of disabled people since the Middle Ages, and society’s attitudes to them. The story is more nuanced and complex than we previously thought: there is sympathy and real empathy towards disability as well as fear and rejection.

Each programme interviews historians of the period who bring new historical evidence, brought to life by readings and music. Rich texture, new scholarship, and the most authoritative presenter of all.

Available as a free download and to stream – Disability: A New History on BBC Radio 4.

Production Credits
Accepting Jack
Coming to terms with having a child with special needs.
A History of Private Life
The hidden history of private life in Britain.
Reasons to be Cheerful
Writers and entertainers rally against doom and gloom.
Music and Silence
Composer Michael Berkeley talks frankly about his hearing loss.