Channel 4’s controversial new comedy presented by Derry actor Peter Mitchell is causing quite a stir.
‘Im Spazticus’, which first aired on Sunday night last and has continued throughout the week, features disabled performers pranking able-bodied members of the public.
Some of the skits are inspired by real-life incidents while others are simply cooked up for a laugh in a bid to see how stupid they can get. In one sketch wheelchair user Peter - who lives in Derry’s Waterside and has featured in several Channel 4 programmes including Hollyoaks, Cast Offs and Doctors - was seen hanging from a tree in what looked like a parachute jump gone wrong.
He said: “Obviously that’s just a complete piss-take. I’ve never gone out on Saturday night and woken up on Sunday morning hanging from a tree! But it’s funny because when we were filming you’d see people just pretending not to have seen you. You’re like ‘Come on dude! Gives us a hand’. I had a script, but as soon as I started talking to people that went out of the window. You’ve really got to think on your feet – as it were!”
As expected, the new show - which is being televised to coincide with the London Paralympics - has drawn a lot of comments and received mixed reviews.
The format of the show is a traditional hidden-camera programme, except that the people playing the pranks are a wheelchair user, a blind man, a dwarf, an amputee and someone with cerebral palsy.