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Doctor Who actress says Tardis wheelchair ramp is ‘for every disabled kid’

Ruth Madeley plays Shirley Anne Bingham in the Doctor Who 60th anniversary specials.

Hannah Roberts
Sunday 10 December 2023 14:53 GMT
Doctor Who star Ruth Madeley (Ian West/PA)
Doctor Who star Ruth Madeley (Ian West/PA) (PA Archive)

Doctor Who star Ruth Madeley has said the new accessible ramp on the Tardis is “for every disabled kid”.

A wheelchair-friendly ramp attached to the Time Lord’s space craft was unveiled during the third episode of the BBC sci-fi drama’s 60th anniversary specials.

On X, formerly Twitter, Madeley, 36, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, posted a photo of herself next to a ramp leading into the Tardis, which is shaped like a traditional blue police phone box and is usually raised slightly from the ground.

Alongside the photo, she wrote: “For every disabled kid who couldn’t get into the Tardis, this ramp is forever yours.”

In response to the post many people praised the accessibility feature with one person saying that “small little things create a huge difference”.

Another comment read: “Seeing a ramp as an addition to the Tardis made me smile.”

For the 60th anniversary episodes, David Tennant, who played the 10th Doctor returns as the 14th incarnation, starring alongside Catherine Tate as the Time Lord’s companion, Donna Noble.

For Saturday night’s third special, titled The Giggle, Tennant’s Doctor was joined by his successor, the 15th Doctor, played by Sex Education star Ncuti Gatwa.

In the episode, the Tardis is duplicated and when Tennant’s character opens the door to the second time machine, he spots something different and unfolds a ramp.

Madeley, who stars as scientific advisor Shirley Anne Bingham on the show, says to Tennant’s Doctor: “At last, you’ve finally caught up with the 21st century.”

After the first anniversary special aired in November, Madeley posted to X that she hoped to make the disabled community proud.

She wrote: “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your gorgeous comments and messages.

“We knew how important Shirley would be to the disabled community and I really hope we did you proud.”

Madeley has starred in TV series including BBC One drama Years And Years, the sitcom The Cleaner and drama The Accident.

Doctor Who will return to BBC One on Christmas Day with The Church On Ruby Road, which will be Gatwa’s first full episode as the Doctor, accompanied by new companion Ruby Sunday, played by former Coronation Street star Millie Gibson.

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