The British Deaf Association (BDA) applauds Toby Whithouse, the writer of BBC TV series Doctor Who, for including a Deaf character in the latest episodes of the current Doctor Who series, “Under the Lake”. This is the first time a Deaf character has appeared in the history of Doctor Who and is a huge step in helping to break down the negative barrier faced by Deaf actors in the media industry.
In the action packed two-part ghost story, which kept viewers on the edge of their seats, Deaf actress Sophie Stone played the role of group leader Cass who stands up to the Doctor in a disagreement. The BDA is delighted to see a Deaf actress take a prominent role in such a renowned TV show and, more importantly, that her Deafness is incidental to the programme.
Dr. Terry Riley OBE, the Chair of the British Deaf Association, says; “It was fantastic to see Sophie Stone playing the role of Deaf character in the latest episode of Doctor Who watched by millions of viewers across the UK – both Deaf and hearing. What was most heartening was that the Deafness of Sophie’s character, Cass, is incidental to the plot. She is an integral member of the group and was no different in any way, other than that she is Deaf and uses British Sign Language (BSL). Here at the British Deaf Association, we firmly believe Deaf people can do anything but hear and it’s encouraging for such a popular TV series to be cementing this view in its programme.
“For over 30 years, the British Deaf Association has been encouraging the BBC and Heads of Drama to include Deaf characters in mainstream TV programming so we’re delighted to see Sophie starring in such a well-known show. We hope this will overcome barriers faced by Deaf actors and open new and exciting challenges for them, as well as showing deaf children a strong role model and inspiring the deaf children who might be budding actors.”