Terry Bamber went to work on a project that had already had a very successful Season 1, released on Netflix. Bamber was helping-out a mutual friend, who at the time I didn’t realise was making her directorial debut. Sharon Mansfield and Terry, along with myself, worked together on Brighton, staring Larry Lamb and Phil Davies. Anyway, the project that I was asked to go and work on with Richie, Terry and Sharon, had been a hit. As with so many projects rescheduling issues due to Covid, we ended up working across the south of England on what we now knew was Bridgerton Season 2.
Yes, as a disabled person, who is dealing with multiple injuries, being on set did have its challenges. Being a person who must use a wheelchair, as well as walking with crutches permanently, it can be both physically and mentally demanding. But speaking with Terry and the H&S coordinator was a way to solve issues, and make simple changes to my work which helped massively. Being injured on active service has made life for me very hard, but to find an industry that wasn’t going to turn its back on me was a breath of fresh air.
The biggest issue that Richie and I faced was that some members of the team couldn’t understand that we were both ex-military, and that we have a multitude of skills and experience from being on operational tours. With those skills and experience came very big responsibilities, from being in charge of multi-million-pound pieces of equipment, to directing and leading young soldiers and teaching leadership skills. We also have an eye for detail which some members of the team could understand. There is a great taboo about disabled people working on productions. I hope this has shown that just because we have a disability it doesn’t mean that we are not able to work.
There are so many disabilities, not only physical but people with mental health issues such as (CPTSD). It doesn’t affect who we are and how we work, this is just one of the main factors that we come up against in the industry today. Some of the most creative writers and designers and artists that I know in the industry have disabilities and they are extremely talented and do bring extra to the industry.
There is a concerted effort to bring people in front of the camera and not to shy away and to get them behind the camera. The industry is sadly lacking in bringing in more skilled people, those that want to work, and have the passion for the industry. Being an injured veteran, the lifeline I was given has spurred me on to help with this new project, and hopefully with this British Academy funded project we can be more inclusive on set, and introduce a broad spectrum of talent and ability within the industry. The confidence that Terry and Jason have given me is second to none, they are both at the forefront of this project, and all I can say is thank you to Terry Bamber for believing in me.