No Triumph, No Tragedy

BBC disability affairs correspondent Peter White talks to disabled people who have bucked the odds and achieved outstanding success in a variety of fields.

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20030123
20030130
20110815

Peter White interviews high profile disabled people about the obstacles they have faced.

Peter White returns with the highly-acclaimed series which poses the questions about disability which other programmes are too embarrassed, or too politically-correct, to ask.

In the first programme he interviews the Foreign Office high flyer Jane Cordell, who had a diplomatic posting to Kazakhstan, her second overseas posting, revoked when officials ruled that her deafness made it too expensive to send her abroad.

She tells Peter that her disability makes her particularly attuned to social situations, reading body language and picking up on everything, from the way people clench their toes to nervous movements which might signal suspicion: "When I walk into a room I pick up immediately a sense of what the atmosphere is - whether there's going to be a rapport with the speakers and what's going on.

You read people's faces, their gestures, you can pick up messages that possibly people who aren't deaf couldn't.

"I always went into it with an open mind, believing that the more straightforward barriers presented by not being able to hear can be fairly easily overcome.

But then I'm an optimist."

Jane talks about her musical childhood and how in her twenties she coped with the realisation that she was gradually losing her hearing.

But this did not deter her from pursuing her goals, although it's acted as a good filter when it came to prospective partners: "It was possible to tell a lot about people by how they reacted to my disability and I used this as a good way to test whether someone was worthy of my friendship."

In programme two, Peter meets the Malaysian politician and human rights campaigner, Karpal Singh, who was left in a wheelchair after a motor accident in 2005.

In 1987 Karpal was detained for fifteen months without trial and declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

Just a year earlier he had represented the British born drug smuggler Kevin Barlow who was eventually executed for the crime in Malaysia.

Karpal tells Peter about his long career fighting for justice and the obstacles now in his way as he battles the discriminatory stance towards his disability by fellow MP's.

Known as the Tiger of Jelutong for his astonishing fifth electoral win in the Penang constituency he is publicly as sharp and formidable as ever although in private he has struggled to regain his health following the accident.

Peter White also meets Dr Lin Berwick, the blind wheelchair user who heads a charity providing accessible holiday homes for disabled people.

She talks about the problems which exist when you have dual disabilities and have to combat multiple problems.

The last programme in the series features the model Shannon Murray, who was paralysed in a diving accident when she was 14 and is now challenging attitudes to fashion.

20110822

Peter White interviews the Malaysian politician and human rights campaigner, Karpal Singh.

In this programme he interviews the Malaysian politician and human rights campaigner, Karpal Singh, who was left in a wheelchair after a motor accident in 2005.

In 1987 Karpal was detained for fifteen months without trial and declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

Just a year earlier he had represented the British born drug smuggler Kevin Barlow who was eventually executed for drug smuggling in Malaysia.

Karpal tells Peter about his long career fighting for justice and the obstacles now in his way as he battles the discriminatory stance towards his disability by fellow MPs.

Known as the Tiger of Jelutong for his astonishing fifth electoral win in the Penang constituency, he is publicly as sharp and formidable as ever although in private he has struggled to regain his health following the accident: "I am fighting an internal battle that people don't see and which I can't express," he says.

"Life is so different now.

I can't stand to address the court or parliament and I need help to even scratch my forehead.

It's a terrible thing when you can't do simple things that were once so normal."

Producer: Susan Mitchell.

20110829

Peter White talks to Shannon Murray, a model who has used a wheelchair since her teens.

Peter White meets Shannon Murray, who first hit the headlines when she won a competition to find a disabled model and then went on to appear on the television programme 'How to Look Good Naked.'

Shannon was the first disabled model to be featured in an advertising campaign by a major department store.

She has been a wheelchair user since a diving accident in her teens and is a vociferous champion for the rights of disabled people.

Shannon has appeared in several television dramas but says she tends only to be offered parts for women in wheelchairs and encourages casting directors to take more risks and cast disabled actors in mainstream roles...

Producer: Cheryl Gabriel.

20110905

Peter White talks to Dr Lin Berwick about her life living as a blind wheelchair user.

Dr Lin Berwick was born with cerebral palsy and lost her sight as a teenager.

She tells Peter White about the way her mother dealt with being told her baby was a waste of everybody's time and that she should 'go home and forget about her'.

Lin has inherited her mother's determination that she should live a fulfilling and adventurous life and when she met her husband Ralph, she says her life 'really took off'.

Together, Lin and Ralph set up the Lin Berwick Trust, which provides accessible holiday accommodation for severely disabled people and their carers.

As well as being her husband, Ralph willingly acted as Lin's carer and they enjoyed a long and happy marriage until Ralph was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Lin describes her devastation at being told this news and, as a Methodist preacher, how she felt the need to cry out to God and demand why they had been dealt this cruel blow.

Deeply distressed by his condition, Ralph finally refused his medication and died shortly before this interview was recorded.

Producer: Cheryl Gabriel.

20140422

Peter White meets 2012 Paralympian triple gold medallist, horse rider Sophie Christiansen.

In this programme Peter meets Sophie Christiansen, who became a triple gold Paralympic medallist at the London 2012 Games and talks about her cerebral palsy how she is using her fame to help challenge attitudes around disability:

"We should use the Games as a platform to speak about disability as the public love the Paralympics and sport but don't always understand what life as a disabled person can be like. Whenever anyone tells me I'm doing a good job at that, it means I'm doing the right thing."

Sophie was introduced to horse riding on a school trip when she was just six years old - eventually discovering a love of speed riding which frequently saw her Dad running alongside her ready to catch her should she fall. Her first major international competition came ten years later - the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, where, riding Hotstuff, she won an individual bronze medal. That same year, she was also voted BBC London Disabled Athlete of the Year.

Sophie was awarded an MBE in the 2009 New Year Honours list for services to disabled sport and an OBE in the 2012 New Year Honours list.As well as becoming a triple gold Paralympic medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, 2012 also saw Sophie achieve her Masters degree in Maths from Royal Holloway University

Peter White explores her motivation, experiences and even her love life as the two chat about life after the Paralympics and the impact the Games have had.

20150729

Peter White interviews anti-war photographer Giles Duley, who was injured in Afghanistan.

It was February 2011 when Giles Duley, an independent 39-year-old British photographer, was blown up by a landmine in Afghanistan. He became a triple amputee, losing his left arm and both legs. His life is a miracle - most soldiers with similar injuries do not survive.

He was with the 1st Squadron of the 75th Cavalry Regiment of the US Army, a "small unit from the midwest", and studying the "huge impact" of war on soldiers. He was into his fourth week but not making much progress, when he turned to talk to an American soldier. All at once he felt "a click in my right leg" - the pressure plate that set off the landmine. "It is pretty instantaneous from click to explosion. And yet everything seemed to go into slow motion. I was tossed by the blast but there was not much noise - just bright, white, hot light. I remember seeing myself from outside my body. Not a religious experience but intense heat and fire and the strangely calm sense of flying through the air.".

Chen Guangcheng2012091620130502

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng blazed across the global news headlines earlier this year when he escaped from custody in China and sought refuge in the American Embassy - but Peter White has known Chen for about ten years and interviewed him several times. In this special edition of the programme, Peter draws on those recordings - and records a new interview - with Guangcheng to explore his childhood, his lack of formal education and his attitude to disability.

Chen talks about his interest in law and his growing political awareness, which resulted in him taking on cases for blind and disabled people who were being forced to pay taxes, despite laws exempting them. These actions brought him to the attention of the Chinese authorities and he soon became a thorn in their side. He was imprisoned for over four years and then placed under house arrest, during which time he and his wife were beaten by local officials.

Chen eventually escaped and was finally allowed to fly to America to study law in New York, which is where Peter went to talk to him for this programme.

Prod: Cheryl Gabriel.

Peter White talks to disabled people who have bucked the odds and achieved outstanding success in a variety of fields.

Chris Woodhead20140415

Peter White interviews the former chief inspector of schools, Chris Woodhead.

has never ducked an issue in his life, and he's not ducking the ultimate one: how to face death. Diagnosed with the progressive condition of Motor neurone Disease in 2006, he has been blunt in the assertion of his right to die - when, how and where he chooses. As a new bill to legalise assisted dying makes its way through Parliament, he's well aware of the strong emotions it arouses; but upsetting people in a cause he thinks is right has never stood in his way.

As chief inspector of schools he became a hate figure amongst some of his former teacher colleagues, as he fought to raise standards in schools and, as he saw it, give children the best education possible. In No Triumph, No Tragedy, he talks to Peter White about his chequered and controversial career, and about his attempts to approach death practically, intelligently, and without self-pity. Before that time comes, he intends to face the gradual waning of physical power with typical practicality; and to make the most, with his partner Christine, of what time he has left.

The format allows Peter White to explore their motivation and experiences and the air of irreverence gives the programmes a very original feel. In programme two of the series he meets the Paralympic Gold medallist Sophie Christiansen, who has cerebral palsy after being born two months premature. In the last of the series he catches up with Raul Midon on his European tour. The singer and songwriter was discovered in a New York nightclub: he went on to become a top performer whilst his brother, who is also blind, became a Nasa engineer.

Genevieve Barr2012090920130501

Peter White talks to Genevieve Barr about the impact deafness has on her acting career.

Genevieve Barr is a deaf actress who recently took the lead in the BBC drama, The Silence. She played Amelia, a deaf girl who preferred the silence to hearing with a cochlear implant. Genevieve tells Peter that her own experience differs from that of her character Amelia, as she didn't learn to sign and was taught to speak by her mother. Genevieve has also not had a cochlear implant. She explained that she had to learn how to use sign language to perform the role and was also asked to remove her hearing aids by the director, so that Amelia could have her hair tied back and the implant could be visibly inserted and removed from her ear.

Genevieve said that this experience meant that she was then subjected to hearing the silence enjoyed by her character and that this experience helped her play the part better.

Producer: Cheryl Gabriel.

Peter White talks to deaf actress Genevieve Barr about her lead acting role in a BBC drama

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930111]

Six disabled people talk frankly to Peter White about their lives and the way in which their disabilities have shaped them.

2: David Blunkett MP,

Shadow Health Spokesman, on how it helps to be pigheaded if you're blind.

Producer Ronni Davis. Stereo

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930111]

Unknown: Peter White

Unknown: David Blunkett

Producer: Ronni Davis.

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930118]

A series in which six very different disabled people talk frankly to Peter White about their lives.

3: The broadcaster Maggie Woolley has lived with deafness all her life her father was deaf, she became deaf at the age of 18, and one of her daughters is deaf. It sounds tragic, but in conversation with Peter White she says, "Being deaf isn't terrible - there's an exciting deaf world out there to explore."

Producer Ronni Davis. Stereo

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930118]

Unknown: Peter White

Unknown: Maggie Woolley

Producer: Ronni Davis.

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930125]

A series in which six very different disabled people talk frankly to Peter White about their lives and the way in which their disabilities have shaped them.

4: Professor Mike Oliver has said that the diving accident that put him in a wheelchair from the age of 17 was the best thing that could have happened to him. In conversation with Peter White he explains the thinking behind this statement.

Producer Ronni Davis. Stereo

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930125]

Unknown: Peter White

Unknown: Professor Mike Oliver

Producer: Ronni Davis.

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930201]

Six very different disabled people talk frankly to

Peter White about their lives and the way in which their disabilities have shaped them.

5: Sixteen years ago

Celeste Dandker was a principal dancer with London Contemporary Dance. Then she had a terrible accident. She's now a wheelchair user - but she's still a dancer. She talks about her disability and the effect it's had on her life.

Producer Ronni Davis. Stereo

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930201]

Unknown: Peter White

Producer: Ronni Davis.

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930208]

Last in the series.

Bob Taylor became managing director of Birmingham

Airport 23 years ago, but five months into the job he had an accident that meant he would never walk again. He's still MD though, and tells Peter White how he controls operations from what he describes as his "own personal undercarriage".

Producer Ronni Davis. Stereo

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930208]

Unknown: Bob Taylor

Unknown: Peter White

Producer: Ronni Davis.

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930804]

Six people talk frankly to Peter White about their lives and their disabilities.

1: Actor, writer and documentary maker Nabil Shaban.

Producer Ronni Davis

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Unknown: Peter White

Unknown: Nabil Shaban.

Producer: Ronni Davis

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930811]

People talk frankly to Peter White about their lives and the way in which their disabilities have shaped them.

2: David Blunkett MP on how it helps to be pig-headed if you're blind. Producer Ronni Davis

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930811]

Unknown: Peter White

Unknown: David Blunkett

Producer: Ronni Davis

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930818]

Six very different people talk to Peter White about how their disabilities have shaped their lives.

3: The broadcaster Maggie Woolley has lived with deafness all her life. In conversation with Peter White she says, "being deaf isn't terrible - there's an exciting deaf world out there to explore". Producer Ronni Davis

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930818]

Unknown: Peter White

Unknown: Maggie Woolley

Producer: Ronni Davis

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Peter White talks to disabled people.

4: Professor Mike Oliver explains why he feels the diving accident that put him in a wheelchair at the age of 17 was the best thing that could have happened to him.

Producer Ronni Davis

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930825]

Talks: Peter White

Unknown: Professor Mike Oliver

Producer: Ronni Davis

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930901]

Last in series. Peter White talks to

Celeste Dandekerwhowas a dancer with the London Contemporary Dance 16 years ago before an accident which left her in a wheelchair.

Producer Ronni Davis

Genome: [r4 Bd=19930901]

Talks: Peter White

Producer: Ronni Davis

Margaret Maughan2012082620130429

When Margaret Maughan won Britain's first-ever gold medal in the Paralympics, there was no crowd, no podium, and almost no Margaret! They had to drag her off the coach going back to the rudimentary Olympic village. As no one was keeping the score in the archery competition, she had no idea she'd won, let alone the fact that there was a ceremony.

The incident was typical of the first Paralympics which took place in Rome in nineteen sixty. Paralympic villages these days are fully wheelchair accessible, each athlete has an assistant to help with any special needs, and athletes can get advice about anything from diet to the very latest equipment. In Margaret's first games the accommodation was on stilts, and they had to be carried in and out by soldiers. Undignified it might have been, but Margaret didn't seem to mind! It was typical of the times, and in No Triumph, No Tragedy, Margaret, now eighty-five, tells her story with the laconic acceptance of her generation.

It had been typical of her treatment since a road accident in Malawi only a year earlier left her paralysed and in a wheelchair. After being flown home, she was taken to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, then more or less just a row of huts, though offering what was at the time the most sophisticated treatment around for those with spinal injuries. It was run by Ludwig Guttmann, who Margaret clearly greatly admired, even though he ran the place a bit like an army camp. Discipline was tough; trips to the local pub which got out of hand were greeted with a firm dressing-down, and threats that you might have to leave.

He would put up with no feeling sorry for yourself, and it was Guttman who decreed that sport was therapy, and turned what began as sports days into the start of an international phenomenon--the Paralympics. A few hundred competitors went to the first games: now it's around four thousand. Then, hardly anyone noticed them go; now, there are hour upon hour of television coverage. Then, they begged time off work, if they were lucky enough to have a job; now people like Oscar Pistorius and our own Tanni Gray Thompson are household names.

But Margaret's story shows how these rudimentary games were symptomatic of attitudes back in the fifties and sixties. She might have got a gold medal in Rome, but when they put her on the train back to her home town in Preston, she and her wheelchair had to travel in the guard's van. Although she was a qualified teacher, it was assumed that no way could she control a class: she was offered a job stamping cards; there were no benefits, and no anti-discrimination legislation; but Margaret Maughan wonders on the programme whether present generations had the same get up and go as she and her friends. She's delighted that the Paralympics is now a major international festival, but she speculates whether some of the camaraderie has been lost along the way.

Peter White interviews Margaret Maughan, who won Britain's first Paralympic gold medal.

Mark Goffeney2012090220130430

When, aged eight, Mark Goffeney strolled into a guitar shop to enrol for lessons, the owner thought he was being kidded. Mark had no arms, the result of an unexplained birth defect. He didn't even have prosthetic limbs, because he had found they were more trouble than they were worth. It's a measure of Mark's persuasiveness, even then, that the shop proprietor took him on as a pupil. He taught him to tune and play the guitar with his feet, laying it in front of him on the floor. He's been a highly respected rock musician for more than twenty years, running his own bands, and touring the world.

This was only the start of Mark's career of choices which apparently would make life as difficult for him as possible. In No Triumph, No Tragedy, he talks with humour, warmth, and practical common sense, about the philosophy that there's usually a solution, if you think hard enough about it. Only Mark, for instance, could choose tiling roofs as an early occupation. When asked how he got the tiles up there, he seemed faintly surprised. It involved, logically enough, getting down on the ground, manoeuvring them with his feet into a container that had a strap or a rope, and then a lot of wriggling till he got it on his back. Simple enough!

He used similar techniques bringing up his three children. He'd always done his share, but when the marriage broke up, amicably but irrevocably, his former wife asked him if he would take custody of the children while she put herself through college! They preferred to live with him, she said. He did it without a second thought, devising ways of lifting, carrying and feeding them. The only problem, he says, was fighting off the older women who wanted to rescue them from his tender mercies. His life as a touring musician was a bigger handicap to childcare than his so-called "handicap". "It's hard to check kids are doing their homework in the wings, when you're onstage doing a gig," he explained.

Recently, Mark has become something of an online sensation, with his act receiving hundreds of thousands of "hits" on YouTube. Is there a danger that people are more concerned with how he plays than what he plays? He says he doesn't care, as long as they end up hearing the music. He drives, as he does most things, with his feet. It works fine, but it's also led to the biggest scare of his life. Late one night he was stopped by a cop. He then heard the dreaded words: "put your hands out of the window; then get out of the car". He tried explaining that he had no hands. The cop said he'd shoot him if he didn't put his hands out of the window. It was only the word "disabled", which Mark doesn't use very often, which finally persuaded the officer to check. "So how was I supposed to know," he said grumpily. Listening to Mark Goffeney on No Triumph, No Tragedy should avoid such mistakes in the future.

Peter White meets respected rock musician Mark Goffeney, who plays guitar with his feet.

Melanie Reid20150722

Peter White, blind from birth, interviews others with disability in the public spotlight.

Before her accident Melanie Reid says she lived life at 10 million miles an hour - a working mother, keen horse rider and award winning accident. That all changed in an instant when her horse refused to go over a jump at a cross country training practice. She fell face first, her body contorted, and realized almost immediately that something terrible had happened:"Everything went bright red and my whole body was suffused by this intense feeling of warmth and I knew I'd done something catastrophic."

She started writing Spinal Column three weeks later - the thought of documenting her experiences coming as she lay in an MRI scanner. It was, she tells Peter, her way of chronicling the war zone that was now her body: "'I remember lying there thinking I've got to tell people how weird and frightening this is. And it was great therapy for me. Being a journalist helped; it helped to process the shock, superficially. And it helped to process the suddenness of the change. Because from being someone who was busy, busy, busy, I was precipitated into the life of someone who's 30 years older than I am."

This series of No Triumph No Tragedy opened with an interview with the newly appointed Cabinet Member Robert Halfon, who was born with spastic displegia. Later in the series Peter meets Giles Duley, a former fashion photographer who was injured after becoming what he describes as an anti-war photographer. He stepped on an improvised explosive device in 2011 in Afghanistan while embedded with American soldiers and lost both legs and an arm, but still continues his trade. Indeed, he returned to Afghanistan not long after his rehabilitation and is now documenting the effects of war across the world.

The last series received a terrific response from listeners and critics: hundreds of letters and calls generated by the achievements and attitudes of blind musician Raul Midon, Paralympic Gold medallist Sophie Christiansen and the former Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Chris Woodhead. Chris has never ducked an issue in his life, and he's not ducking the ultimate one: how to face death. Diagnosed with the progressive condition of Motor neurone Disease in 2006, he was blunt with listeners about his right to die - when, how and where he chooses.

Raul Midon20140429

Raul Midón has been described by the New York Times as "a one-man band who turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus." He has collaborated with Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder, along with contributing to recordings by Jason Mraz, Queen Latifah and Snoop Dogg and the soundtrack to Spike Lee's She Hate Me. The New Mexico native, blind since birth, has released seven albums since 1999, including State of Mind, his break-through album

He tells Peter White about his determination to shatter stereotypes - including those encountered as a child when he was told that his blindness meant "you can't do this, you can't do that," He and his twin brother Marco are both blind - the result of damage caused after being placed in incubators following their premature birth. Their Mum, Sandra, was adamant from the outset that her sons should be given every opportunity to achieve and the boys eventually went on to college together.

Raul tells Peter of his shyness as a boy growing up in rural New Mexico and the wasted opportunities when it came to meeting girls, for example. But he embraces the life he has achieved and says that he would not take the chance to see if it was offered to him now: "My life has been set up around this and I would not want my life to be about figuring out how to deal with seeing - I want my life to be about what it's about right now."

Peter questions Raul about the benefits and disadvantages of having a twin brother who is also blind: "there was this knowledge that you weren't totally alone in the world as a blind person.".

Peter White meets the blind singer and songwriter Raul Midon.

Robert Halfon20150715

Peter White meets new cabinet member Robert Halfon, born with spastic displegia.

In the first programme of this new series Peter meets the newly appointed Cabinet Minister Robert Halfon, who could be found sitting by the roadside holding up signs during the General Election campaign. His spastic displegia makes it too exhausting to canvass door to door and he says his crutches led to a hard fight at the original constituency selection level: "I had to convince people that I wasn't going to keel over on the doorstep!" Robert was appointed to the Cabinet on 11th May 2015 and became Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party.

Peter White asks the questions others might be too embarrassed or politically correct to ask and in further programmes in this series he will be talking to one of Britain's most popular columnists, Melanie Reid, who was left paralysed in 2010 after a horse riding accident/ He also meets Giles Duley, a former fashion photographer who was injured after becoming what he describes as an anti-war photographer. He stepped on an improvised explosive device in 2011 in Afghanistan while embedded with American soldiers and lost both legs and an arm, but still continues his trade. Indeed, he returned to Afghanistan not long after his rehabilitation and is now documenting the effects of war across the world.

The last series received a terrific response from listeners and critics: hundreds of letters and calls generated by the achievements and attitudes of blind musician Raul Midon, Paralympic Gold medallist Sophie Christiansen and the former Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Chris Woodhead. Chris has never ducked an issue in his life, and he's not ducking the ultimate one: how to face death. Diagnosed with the progressive condition of Motor neurone Disease in 2006, he was blunt with listeners about his right to die - when, how and where he chooses.

Tony Judt2010062920100822

Peter White meets Tony Judt, the acclaimed historian of post-war Europe.

Eighteen months ago, Tony - an active, sporty 60-plus - was diagnosed with a severe form of Motorneurone Disease, leaving him able to do little more than think.

Paralysed from the neck down, Tony needs 24 hour care and relies on other people for all his physical needs.

His mind however, is his own, and has been extraordiarily busy.

He describes the experience of having the illness: "This disease is viciously consuming.

It's like a kind of octopus: it eats you bit by bit.

You can't fix it, you can't cure it, you can't stop it, but you've got one thing over it, it doesn't hurt.

So if you're tough minded, you don't need medicine, you just need a mind".

Tony refuses to be crushed by the disease and continues writing.

He says the nights are both the worst, yet the most productive time.

That is when Tony plans his work meticulously, in his mind.

Because he cannot hold a pen to write, he maps out his ideas by using the mental pictures of a Swiss chalet.

Each thought is allocated first a room, then, a more specific home, such as a drawer or cupboard.

He is able to visualise and retrieve his hypothesis, by visiting his chalet the following morning.

As a tribute to the historian Tony Judt, who died earlier this month, this is another chance to hear his candid interview with Peter White.

Tony Judt was an acclaimed historian of post-war Europe.

Eighteen months before his death, Tony - an active, sporty 60-plus - was diagnosed with a severe form of Motorneurone Disease, leaving him able to do little more than think.

Paralysed from the neck down, Tony needed 24 hour care and relied on other people for all his physical needs.

His mind however, was always his own, and was extraordinarily busy.

In this programme, first broadcast in June, he describes the experience of having the illness: "This disease is viciously consuming.

Tony refused to be crushed by the disease and continued writing up until his death earlier this month.

Prod: Cheryl Gabriel.

The late Tony Judt describing the illness which paralysed everything but his mind.

01Denise Leigh20050120

This show features blind opera singer Denise Leigh.

01Janine Roebuck20090813

Peter meets deaf opera singer Janine Roebuck, who was told at 18 that the career she had set her heart on - opera singing - was impossible.

Her persistence has confounded that bleak prognosis, however.

She tells Peter how a combination of tricks, hard work and help from her colleagues has enabled her to perform all over the world and become a campaigner to introduce deaf children to music.

Janine comes from a family where deafness was the norm, which is how she explains her robust attitude towards her disability.

She now even sees advantages to her condition: being able to enjoy a good nights sleep in a noisy hotel and using her high-tech hearing aids to adjust the accoustics to her own requirements.

01John Mortimer20070213

He talks to playwright, novelist and former barrister, Sir John Mortimer, about what he calls the 'landslip of physical afflictions' we are forced to contemplate when we grow old.

02Dean Du Plessis20090820

Peter interviews the blind Zimbabwean cricket commentator Dean du Plessis about his eventful journey from creating make-believe matches to commentating on real ones.

Dean uses his intimate knowledge of the foibles of the players and the sound effects of well-placed microphones around the grounds to inform and captivate radio and television audiences.

But his broadcasts have also got him into trouble, and as one of the dwindling number of white people still in Zimbabwe, he has been and intimidated by Mugabe supporters for his outspoken comments.

Dean's career is not what those teaching him at South Africa's world-famous Worcester School for the Blind would have imagined.

He admits he was an umpromising student, but he has relentlessly pursued what really interested him and is still building a career as a cricket pundit.

He now has to make a decision about whether he can carry on living in Zimbabwe or whether he might have to leave the country of his birth in order to continue pursuing his dream.

02Emma Bowler20070220

He talks to TV director and documentary-maker Emma Bowler about how Kniest Syndrome affected her decision to become a mother.

She is 4ft tall and has inflexible joints, and Emma's rare condition was inherited by her first son Archie.

Pregnant again, at her 20-week scan the doctor concluded that everything looked normal.

Emma's first thought was how would she cope with a 'normal' baby.

02Francesca Martinez20030102

Peter White talks to comedian Francesca Martinez.

Far from seeing cerebral palsy as a disadvantage, Francesca uses the condition as a source for much of her comedy routines

02Marlon Shirley20050127

This edition features Marlon Shirley, the world's fastest runner on one leg.

0320030109
03Betty Jackson20090827

Peter meets British fashion designer Betty Jackson.

Although it is often reported in the press that she lost one of her legs in a car accident when she was 21, she actually had her leg amputated when she was just six years old.

She describes how difficult it must have been for her parents to make the decision to have her leg removed and why she is thankful they took that decision.

Betty led an active and normal life with her artificial leg, but when she had a serious car accident aged 21, she then developed walking difficulties and medical complications which left her unable to have children.

For Betty, having only one leg is irrelevant to how she does her job and to her success.

She does confess, though, that rather than being a role model for disabled people coming into the fashion world, she counsels caution: it is fine for them to become pattern cutters or designers, but the catwalk is not the place they should aspire to.

03Steve Day20050203

This edition features deaf comedian Steve Day

03 LASTRush Limbaugh20070227

What happens when you're America's most popular radio talkshow host and you start to go deaf?

Peter talks to controversial commentator, Rush Limbaugh, about the prospect of losing his hearing.

At the time he risked losing a contract worth over 20 million listeners.

Has it changed his attitude to work? Or his political outlook on the disability lobby?

04Baroness Chapman20050210

BBC disability affairs correspondent Peter White talks to Baroness Chapman, the first peer in Britain with a congenital disability to sit in the House of Lords.

04Tammy Duckworth20090903

Peter meets US army helicopter pilot Major Tammy Duckworth.

She recounts the ambush in Iraq which led to her helicopter being shot down, resulting in her losing both legs.

While recovering in the Walter Reed Hospital, she tells how she counted backwards using an old clock to convince herself that she was still alive.

She says that she went five days without sleep, wracked with guilt that she had crashed her helicopter.

Out of hospital, Tammy became an opponent of the war and decided to run for Congress, just a few months into her rehabilitation.

Although she was narrowly beaten in the election, she is now working in President Obama's team to improve the welfare of veterans.

Tammy describes how she rejected a realistic-looking feminine leg, which only reminded her of what she had lost, in favour of a robotic machine which would enable her to fly solo, drive and dive again, all of which she has now achieved.

0101Christopher Reeve1999010520021226

BBC disability affairs correspondent Peter White talks to Christopher Reeve, the Hollywood star who has been wheelchair-bound since a riding accident in 1995.

At his home in New York, the actor talks movingly about his life since the riding accident in which he broke his neck.

0102Bree Walker19990112

The television anchorwoman talks about the genetic disability of her hands and feet which caused a furore in America when she opted to have children.

0103Larry Flynt19990119

The owner of Hustler magazine was recently portrayed in the film `The People versus Larry Flynt'.

In this programme, he talks about his life since the shooting that confined him to a wheelchair.

010419990126
010519990202
0106 LAST19990209
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0202Tom Shakespeare20000627

BBC disability affairs correspondent Peter White talks to Dr Tom Shakespeare, a sociologist with a hereditary condition that restricts his growth - he is only four feet tall.

His father had the same condition.

White asks Dr Shakespeare why, considering his painful adolescence and insecurity with women, he was prepared to pass on the condition to his children.

0203Zak Yacoob20000704

BBC disability affairs correspondent Peter White hears how Judge Zak Yacoob of the South African Constitutional Court suffered from dual discrimination for years - as well as being blind, he was classified as coloured under the apartheid system.

He was a key player in the anti-apartheid movement and later became a member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and oversaw South Africa's first democratic elections.

0204Wolfgang Schauble20000711

BBC disability affairs correspondent Peter White talks to German politician Wolfgang Schauble, paralysed for life when he was shot through the spine at an election rally in 1990.

0205David Beresford20000718

BBC disability affairs correspondent Peter White talks to award-winning foreign correspondent David Beresford, who has a form of Parkinson's disease which is gradually destroying his ability to work and which could eventually kill him.

0206 LASTSandra Laing20000725

Peter White talks to Sandra Laing, who in 1966, at the age of ten, was taken out of her whites-only school by police in South Africa and reclassified as coloured for having dark skin and curly hair.

Her parents fought to prove she was their daughter, and although she was eventually reclassified as white, she was shunned by white society.