Ruth Madeley is a wheelchair user who works for Whizz-Kidz as a fundraiser. On Monday 20th June, Ruth appeared in the lead role of a BBC Three drama, Don't Take My Baby.
When my agent sent me on my first audition for Don’t Take My Baby, I was incredibly nervous. I had read the concept of the drama and knew of the high-profile team behind it all, and I instantly fell in love with the script. Based on a real case, two young people, wheelchair-user Anna and her partially sighted boyfriend Tom, must prove to social services that they are capable of looking after their newborn daughter.
As well as working full-time for Whizz-Kidz, I have always had a passion for acting and disability inclusion within the media. I have previously acted on a smaller scale, but playing the character of Anna is my first lead role and one that I am incredibly proud of.
Don’t Take My Baby opens BBC Three’s ‘Defying The Label’ season, which consists of a range of different programmes which aim to challenge the general opinions and prejudices of disability. Focusing on relationships, love, family and general awareness, the season brings disability to the forefront of the media and urges people to have and to share their thoughts.
Growing up, I never really saw disabled actors or actresses on TV that I could be inspired by. I always had a love for the television industry but there were no disabled actresses that were prevalent in soaps or dramas that I watched. So, for me, having the opportunity to play the lead in Don’t Take My Baby was an unbelievable experience – not just for me as a 'disabled actress' but also for the chance to be a role model for other young disabled people who want to see more inclusion within the media.
Whizz-Kidz has been a huge part of my life for the past 24 years. Since the charity bought me my first wheelchair when I was 5, I have been involved in so many of their outstanding services for young people including the Kidz Board, work placements and volunteering opportunities. The confidence and independence the charity gave me throughout my childhood has without a doubt shaped me into the person I am today. I owe a lot of my successes to my Whizz-Kidz family! As the charity grows, they continue to help hundreds of young disabled people realise and reach their full potential – something that I hope BBC Three’s ‘Defying The Label’ season instigates too.
Missed Don't Take My Baby? Watch it on iPlayer (available until 16th August). Please be aware that this programme contains adult themes and scenes that some viewers may find distressing.