Blushes on the Street

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The Independent Online
Some of the top names in showbusiness were blushing last night - and not from pleasure. Many chose to hide their embarrassment by staying away from the Raspberry Ripple Awards ceremony held to highlight the portrayal of disability in the arts and media.

Organised by the disability group, One in Eight, the "Ripples" - Cockney rhyming slang for cripple - are intended to jolt film and TV producers out of presenting stereotypical images of disabled people.

Granada TV's Coronation Street picked up a raspberry in the worst TV drama category for its portrayal of the character Don Brennan, whose adulterous affair was "avenged" when he lost his leg in a car accident. Unable to adjust to his disability, he terrorised the Street before driving his car into a wall.

In contrast the ITV detective series A Touch of Frost collected the award for best TV drama for an episode, "Appropriate Adults", that featured an actor with learning difficulties.

ITV's Blind Date got the light entertainment raspberry for consistently excluding disabled people as contestants.

Panorama (BBC) collected the most votes in the worst documentary category for its programme looking at the "threat" posed by people with schizophrenia living in the community which suggested incarceration as the only solution.

In the feature film category, the Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant joint venture, Extreme Measureswas awarded the raspberry for a storyline showing people with spinal injuries supporting an eminent surgeon engaged in a sinister research programme.

The best feature film award went to Shine for its portrayal of pianist David Helfgott's struggle with mental illness.

l The Raspberry Ripple Awards will be shown tonight on Channel 4 at 11.50pm.