All posts by Andrew McDonald

Hello, I am the Chair of Scope, the Disability Charity. I also write and lecture on disability, health, public policy and modern history. Andrew

Channel 4 films take awkwardness to a new level #EndTheAwkward

We’ve been working in collaboration with Channel 4 to produce a series of short films for our End The Awkward campaign. As Scope’s Chair Andrew McDonald  explains in this post, “they take ‘awkwardness’ to a new level.”

Seated man smiling
Andrew McDonald, Chair of Scope

You might recognise the moment. You meet a disabled person in an everyday situation.

You want to be friendly and helpful. But you don’t know how. And so you shy away from the interaction. Or you panic and end up causing embarrassment to yourself and the disabled person. The last thing you wanted to do.

As we bring back our End the Awkward campaign this year, we wanted to address these situations – and the attitudes which give rise to them. Our polling evidence is clear; surprisingly few of us knowingly engage with disabled people.

The message of the campaign is straight forward; the more of us who know disabled people, the less likely we are to be awkward. There is no single right answer on how best to act around our disabled neighbours or colleagues. The most important thing is to be willing to try, to learn and not to shy away.

We launched our End the Awkward campaign last year. It featured the star of Channel 4’s The Last Leg, Alex Brooker – and it made a real impact, reaching more than 20 million people.

This June we began sharing disabled people’s ‘awkward stories’ on our blog and in the media. On 6 July we marked International Kissing Day (no, I didn’t know about it either) by showing a short film demonstrating that, disabled or not, our desires and needs are the same. I thought it was a work of beauty. No exaggeration.

A new phase of the campaign

Today, the campaign enters a new phase. We are launching a new series of short films we have made in partnership with Channel 4. They take ‘awkwardness’ to a new level. I won’t spoil the set–up but all I will say is they are very funny – and each of the shorts are based on real situations that have happened to disabled people.

Take a look at the short films and share them with your friends and family on social media.

The campaign has been worked up after research with a wide range of disabled people – from across the country, old and young,  with a wide range of impairments.

Some of them have chosen to share their stories on our blog; click on the links to read about the experiences of Marie, Emily and Ronnie.

And if you have an ‘awkward’ story of your own, share you story with us on our website or email

Together, let’s end the awkward.