The music business - a byword for glamour, sex appeal and fame. But what happens if you're a physically disabled performer trying to make a career in this industry where image is everything? Some great names like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Ian Dury and Evelyn Glennie have risen to the top, but there are many other performers who have never made it past the prejudices of record companies and promoters. How do disabled performers find a place in music which, by its very nature, ought to allow them freedom to find a distinctive voice? And has the music industry changed to accommodate them, especially after new legislation like the Disability Discrimination Act?
The BBC's Disability Affairs Correspondent, Peter White, explores the way in which musicians have responded to the theme of disability as it has emerged through music, and in the figures of performers themselves. He interviews key musical figures who have either been born with disabilities, or who have acquired them, and explores in the latter case, the extent to which their careers were affected. Interviewees include the soul singer Teddy Pendergrass, left quadriplegic after a car accident, the percussionist Evelyn Glennie, profoundly deaf and who hears through vibration, wheelchair user singer/songwriter Robert Wyatt, blind jazz singer Diane Schuur, Rick Allen from Def Leppard, who shows Peter his specially adapted drumkit made for him after the accident in which he lost an arm, and Blaine Harrison from the up and coming band The Mystery Jets who was born with spina bifida.