Christmas advert premiere in Manchester selling a more inclusive festive message

Video by ITV Granada Reports correspondent Elaine Willcox

A trip to see Santa's Grotto is a tradition for many children during the festive period.

But as this advert shows it can also be overwhelming for some children who may not feel comfortable in crowds or hearing loud noises.

A letter explaining why Santa Grotto is overwhelming for some young visitors Credit: TripleC/53Two

The fourth Christmas ad is produced by disabled creatives, including Corrie's Cherylee Houston and Melissa Johns, from ITV's Grantchester.

'My Christmas' tells the story of a young boy who is neurodivergent and how some simple steps made his trip to see Santa a wonderful experience.

It was filmed on Coronation Street and created by TripleC and the fully accessible theatre and arts hub, 53two in Manchester City centre.

It had its Premiere ahead of this year's International Day for Disabled People on 3 December.

Cherylee Houston and Melissa Johns challenging advertisers to showcase disabled talent Credit: ITV Granada

The ad has been supported by ITV where Diversity and Inclusion are the broadcaster's key commitments both on and off screen.

TripleC's mission is to drive up the role of Deaf and Disabled people in the arts. It created the Disabled Artists Networking Community, (DANC) to work with the creative industries and disabled artists to increase representation and employment of disabled talent.

Melissa John filming DANC advert showcasing a disabled dancer Credit: ITV Granada

Triple C's work in championing disabled creatives has been recently honoured with a BAFTA .

In April 2020, in a powerful acceptance speech, Melissa Johns and the Triple C team challenged BAFTA and the industry "to put disabled creatives centre stage for the first time in their history".

That she says, "will change the way disabled people are treated in society".

Melissa says progress is being made, but there is still a lot to do, to fulfil TripleC's aim, 'Never leave anyone behind'.

Cherylee Houston, co-lead with DANC says, "Disabled creative talent in general is sadly lacking from our screens and industry overall.

"We use our yearly Christmas Advert to celebrate that talent and showcase an alternative viewpoint of the world.

"We'd like to move away from often seeing disabled characters receiving aid-sometimes they can provide it, as we saw in last year's ad.

"The ads are lovely which turn some of the outdated narratives on their head."

Simon Naylor, an actor and Creative Director at 53two directs and produces the beautifully, heartwarming ads, which are not selling anything, but challenging the society to be more inclusive.

Simon says they will continue to produce the festive ads until the industry makes real change.

He says, "They are hoping one day, they will simply be a celebration of disabled creative talent and a fully accessible industry, both on and off screen because then they will have achieved their aim".