Coronation Street stars transforming attitudes towards disabilities in a Christmas ad

Think of all the Christmas adverts you've seen so far this season - can you think of one disabled character in any of them?

When you consider that disabled people make up around 22 per cent of the population the TV industry still has a long way to go to properly reflect that.

Now, a group of disabled actors and artists is trying to change things.

They've made a Christmas ad where the dog is an assistance dog and most of the actors have disabilities. The difference is hard to spot and that's the point.

The message in it has nothing to do with disability necessarily. The message is if you can give anything at Christmas give your time and we just happened to use a cast of both disabled and non-disabled actors.

Melissa Johns, Coronation Street actor

Coronation Street star Melissa Johns helped make the advert and is one of its stars.

The argument is quite often, a lot of the time, we need a big name in it - that's why we couldn't have a disabled actor. But the problem with that is if we continue to think like that we're never going to break it.

Melissa Johns, Coronation Street actor

It's attitudes like this that Melissa and her co-star Cherylee Houston are trying to address. DANC is a group they set up to challenge ideas about disability in film and TV.

I had auditions taken off me once they discovered I was disabled. I've auditioned in streets, in corridors. I've had a mat in the disabled toilet as my green room. It makes you feel quite isolated. So it's that thing of coming together to create a community so you don't have to feel like you're isolated.

Cherylee Houston, actor

Nearly 100 actors came to an event in London including Julian Peedle-Calloo who starred in programmes like Holby City. After 15 years working in London he says he has seen some changes, but not enough.

Disabled people are often hidden and invisible. How often do you see a deaf actor in the story? It's once a year maybe? But I want to be seen as an actor who happens to be deaf. I could be a deaf doctor or a deaf scientist or a deaf policeman or a deaf whatever, I could be anything.

Julian Peedle-Calloo, actor

They are hoping in the future scenes in their advert will become the norm and not just for Christmas.