Channel 4 in 'global first' with all disabled presenting line up for Winter Paralympics

Credit: Channel 4

Channel 4's presenting team for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games will be made up of entirely disabled presenters and pundits, in what the broadcaster says is a “global first” for a “world class sporting event”.

The broadcaster has exclusive broadcast rights within the UK for the event.

A daily highlights show will be fronted by sports presenter and wheelchair basketballer Ade Adepitan, with quadriplegic former professional rugby player Ed Jackson and Paralympic champion triathlete Lauren Steadman hosting the breakfast show.

Ade Adepitan Credit: Matt Crossick/PA

Former Strictly Come Dancing star Ms Steadman won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and also took home a silver at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio.

The presenting and punditry line-up also includes Paralympic swimmer Ellie Robinson, who will be joined by double amputee racing driver Billy Monger to be on-screen reporters, while Winter Paralympic sitskier Sean Rose will be a pundit.

Robinson, who aged 15 won gold and bronze at the Rio Games, announced last year that she was retiring from competitive swimming.

Lauren Steadman Credit: ParalympicsGB

Ian Katz, director of programmes at Channel 4, said: “Channel 4 is incredibly proud to announce a stellar presenting team and – in a first for any broadcaster around the world – an entire presenting team who are disabled.

“This is testament to the brilliant disabled presenting talent we have in the UK and underlines our commitment to providing opportunities and for people with disabilities and making our output truly representative of the entire population."

The broadcaster’s overnight sports coverage will be led by Tokyo 2020 presenter Arthur Williams.

Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said: “This all-star disabled presenting team is world-leading and it is a momentous milestone for the UK, displaying pleasing progress on disability representation in broadcasting.

“Coverage of Paralympic Games is always an inspiring reminder that we should be judged by what we can do, rather than what we cannot. The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games presented by this impressive line-up brings that home more than ever, helping us change perceptions of disabled people across the UK."

Ellie Robinson Credit: Steve Parsons/PA

Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), added: “When I heard that all of Channel 4’s presenting team at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games will be persons with disabilities, I was stunned, but not surprised because they are a world-leading organisation in disability inclusion.

Channel 4’s announcement was welcomed as “a fantastic move” by disability equality charity Scope.

Executive director James Taylor said: “This is a fantastic move by Channel 4, which shows their commitment to using the Paralympics to improve the representation of disabled people on screen, and shift attitudes towards disability.

“Seeing disabled people on screen helps improve understanding of disability, and break down barriers.

“However there’s still a long way to go until disabled people are equally represented on screen, so we hope other broadcasters will take Channel 4’s lead.”

The broadcaster will also carry live subtitles with highlights shows on repeat on More4 featuring audio descriptions.

The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games take place from March 4-13.

The Winter Games themselves started on Saturday and will end on February 20.