Inspired Channel 4 picks 100% disabled presenting team for Winter Paralympics

Channel 4 Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics Presenting Team

Channel 4 has today announced an all-star disabled presenting team for the Winter Paralympics in Beijing, who will present on the ground in China.

It is a global first for a broadcaster to have an entire disabled presenting and punditry team for a world class sporting event.

Winter Paralympics

The UK Paralympic broadcaster will bring over 80 hours and present the Games live from Beijing on Channel 4, plus streaming on C4’s YouTube platform.

Broadcast Sports award-winning presenter Ade Adepitan will helm the daily highlights show, with former rugby player Ed Jackson and Paralympic champion triathlete Lauren Steadman bringing the Breakfast Show to viewers.

Recently retired Paralympic swimmer Ellie Robinson will be joined by British racing car driver Billy Monger as on-screen reporters and former sit-kier Sean Rose as pundit. 

Tokyo 2020 presenter Arthur Williams will lead overnight sports coverage.

Channel 4 has exclusive broadcast rights within the UK and its Beijing Paralympics coverage will be produced by Whisper and sponsored by Toyota.

Channel 4’s Director of Programmes Ian Katz said: “Channel 4 is incredibly proud to announce a stellar presenting team and – in a first for any broadcaster around the world – an entire presenting team who are disabled. 

“This is testament to the brilliant disabled presenting talent we have in the UK and underlines our commitment to providing opportunities for people with disabilities and making our output truly representative of the entire population.

“We are looking forward to once again bringing a global audience to the Paralympic Games and are proud of what we have achieved since London 2012, shifting perceptions of disabled people and bringing world-class sporting drama to our viewers through our significant investment in coverage and award-winning marketing campaigns.

“We will bring the best coverage possible to the British public, live from China, so we can all get behind ParalympicsGB and celebrate their success in Beijing.”

Momentous milestone

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Therese Coffey said: “This all-star disabled presenting team is world-leading and it is a momentous milestone for the UK, displaying pleasing progress on disability representation in broadcasting.

“Coverage of Paralympic Games is always an inspiring reminder that we should be judged by what we can do, rather than what we cannot. 

“The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games presented by this impressive line-up brings that home more than ever, helping us change perceptions of disabled people across the UK.

“I know ParalympicsGB will do us proud and I look forward to watching their endeavours along with millions of people in homes around the country.”

Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “When I heard that all of Channel 4’s presenting team at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games will be persons with disabilities I was stunned, but not surprised because they are a world-leading organisation in disability inclusion. 

The IPC has been working on the Paralympic Games with Channel 4 since 2012 and at every Games they have improved the broadcast landscape on Para sports.

“They are exactly what public sector broadcasting is all about, having the bravery to say: ‘we will be the first to do that’. 

“And this latest landmark decision is important because representation matters. 

“There are over 15% of persons in Great Britain with a disability and they should be able to switch on a TV and see wonderfully ordinary persons with disabilities like them in front of the camera. This is change starting with sport.”

Championing disabled talent

Off screen Channel 4 is committed to progressing the careers of disabled people working in TV. 

Last year Channel 4 underlined its pioneering work with disabled talent across the TV sector through its ‘Engage & Enable’ disability strategy, including RISEits brand new mentorship scheme for mid to senior disabled production talent in TV.

The Broadcaster also devised shareable best practice guidelines for indies and producers on hiring, including and progressing disabled production talent as well as setting out expectations for the production companies when featuring disabled people on-screen

Channel 4 aspires to maintain its prized position as a world leader in inclusion and accessibility and Beijing 2022 will be the most accessible Winter Paralympics ever.

Channel 4 will carry live subtitles and the highlights shows will repeat on More 4 with Audio Description. 

The majority of content on the Channel 4’s YouTube channel will also have subtitles.

Since 2012, Channel 4 has showcased more hours of Paralympic sport than any other broadcaster in history and helped create household names of both athletes and presenters.

Last summer Channel 4 attracted 20 million viewers (a third of the UK population) to its 2020 Tokyo Paralympics coverage.

The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games will take place from 4-13 March.