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Disabled Emmerdale Character Nicola King Makes Joke About Her Own Disability- And Fans Are Outraged

August 31, 2016

When our editor, who has Cerebral Palsy, saw an article at Digital Spy with the headline: “Emmerdale responds to fan outrage over Nicola King’s cerebral palsy joke, she got ready to share the outrage of these fans, and write about it!

However, after she read the piece at Digital Spy, she changed her mind.


An Emmerdale character, Nicola King, recently told her friend Dan Spencer in a drunken conversation that he was so drunk, he looked like he had hemiplegia, a form of Cerebral Palsy.

Our editor knows better than most that people with any form of Cerebral Palsy are not drunk. She knows it so well, in fact, that she’s got the T-shirt. Unfortunately, she also knows that many non-disabled people often think that people with Cerebral Palsy who can walk are drunk.

The latter, sadly, is a well known fact in the CP community. Far too many people with CP, and other disabilities that cause similar irregular patterns of walking, have been mistakenly labelled drunk by non-disabled people walking down the street.

If a non-disabled character on any soap opera had made the comment that Nicola King made, our editor would have been furious. However, Nicola King has hemiplegia herself. So, the ‘joke’ she made was about her own condition.

Our editor strongly believes that it is perfectly acceptable for disabled people to make jokes about disability, especially their own condition. She believes that  when disabled people laugh at themselves and each other, they know how far to take their jokes. They have experienced the situations they are making jokes about, and so they know how to make the jokes funny, rather than offensive.

Many disabled comedians base very funny comedy shows on making jokes about their lives with their own conditions. It is a way of reclaiming the words and situations that non-disabled people use to insult or upset us. Just like black people call themselves and each other the ‘N-word.’ It happens all the time.

Far from being criticised, our editor believes that Emmerdale should be thanked for showing a disabled person making light of their own condition. Emmerdale should, however, keep in mind its own popularity, and its power to influence viewers. Our editor would particularly like to see it continuing to use its popularity and power to represent all minority groups positively.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 31, 2016 8:41 pm

    I have often made jokes about my own impairment and two of my favourite comedians, Liz Carr and Francesca Aartinez do it all the time, as do Mik Scarlet and Mat Fraser. Life is too short not to look at the funny side…🙂

  2. mark taha permalink
    September 1, 2016 2:43 pm

    As an overweight Billy Bunter fan and stammering fan of “Open All Hours”, I say don’t be so bloody touchy.Get a life or at least don’t ruin ours!

  3. September 1, 2016 4:57 pm

    I have a form of Scleroderma that gives me uneven walking. I’m lucky it hasn’t happened to me yet but I’m always ready with a quip in case. Remember the Malteser ad? ‘Chocolate? ‘Maltesers’. I’m ready with ‘Drunk? Disabled.’!

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