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Ouch Podcast #73 – July 2011 bbc.co.uk/ouch/podcast Presented by Mat Fraser and Liz Carr MAT Thank you for downloading us. I'm Mat. Next to me is Liz and she's going to be telling you what we're all going to try our hardest to enjoy together - apparently, Liz, we've got loos, dwarfs and all sorts. LIZ Oh it's good to be back with you Mat. MAT Oh mutual, mutual. Dream team are back! LIZ Dream team. In about ten minutes we've got Jas with her mother Bev, they're the stars of 'Small Teen, Bigger World' a new BBC3 reality programme. They're the dwarfs Mat lovingly referred to by the way. MAT Well they're lucky aren't they? Well Jas and Bev are anyway. All this and more folks in the show that makes the undiscussable discussable. [Jingle: From the BBC in London it's the Ouch Talk Show with Mat Fraser and Liz Carr.] Is it egotistical, Liz, to note that the dream team are back? LIZ Yes it is, but it's still fair to say. MAT Yes and I think we can own it. LIZ I think we can after five odd years, I think we can. Mat, glad you're back. I have to talk to you about the whole Wayne Rooney stuff at Glastonbury in the crip toilet. MAT Yes okay, please do. LIZ But before we do that. You have been away. I was poorly last month, the last couple of months but you where you've been in Ireland I believe. MAT To be sure I have. ((Irish accent)) Top of the morning to you, Liz LIZ And you've been employed with an accent like that? MAT No I haven't thankfully otherwise obviously I'd have been sacked on day one. No I had my lovely London accent and I was in the top Irish soap called 'Fair City' on RTE or ((Irish accent)) RTE as they say over there. LIZ I love it because I've absolutely never heard of it but it's huge. MAT Well no one else has. LIZ Is it huge? MAT Yes it's massive, it's the most watched programme in Ireland and I cannot, literally I cannot walk down the streets of Dublin without being accosted and inundated by women basically, Liz, all over 65. LIZ We've got a clip of you in this show, Mat, and so listeners apparently Mat plays David Osborne and we're going to hear David's mum Esther who gave her son up for adoption in the '60s, but now Mat aka David has returned to Dublin. [Playing clip: Esther: To think I wrote this 50 years ago and now there you are sitting in front of me. Mat: Come on, let's get some air. The walk will do us both good. Esther: You know, I didn't care about your arms. That's not why I gave you away. Mat: I know. That's what I find most confusing.] LIZ Wow you're being a proper actor. MAT Intriguing isn't it? Well you know it's funny you should say that because, just quickly, you know, some people disparage soap acting and the whole nature of it and I did think of myself as a proper actor, "Oh doing a soap." All of that's been wiped away, it's not for no reason that Sir Ian McKellen himself says the hardest job he's ever had to do as an actor was when he was on Coronation Street. It is the hardest I've ever worked in my life, Liz. At one point I did 49 scenes in eight days. But it's been great. It's been incredible because I've been... it's another first for Mat Fraser, I don't mean to I'm just of an age I think - the first disabled actor to portray a disabled character on Irish TV, apart from a few learnie bit parts that they've had. And you know as we cruise through our series of firsts Sarah Flood who plays the love interest of my character, we did our first kissing scene and I said to her afterwards, "No pressure but that was the first time that's ever happened on Irish TV" and seeing a disabled person kiss anybody in a romantic setting and all these sorts of things. But most profound for me is the 65 year old ladies just keep coming at me because it's a huge issue for them. There was me thinking it was all about me and the disability portrayal and oh thalidomide and blah, blah blah. Actually no it's about kids that were put up for adoption trying to find their birth mothers. It's a huge subject in Ireland, huge. LIZ I'm dying to watch it. Congratulations it sounds fab. MAT Thanks very much. Unfortunately for British would-be viewers unless you've got the full and expensive package of a certain satellite company that's run by... LIZ We're not going to see it. MAT ... Mr Rupert Murdoch you won't be able to see it, no. LIZ Maybe we can watch it some other way, I'm sure. Look onto Mr Rooney. MAT Ah subject of hm who? Wayne Rooney ah yes I'm aware of him. LIZ So well The Sun reported that he was seen... MAT What's he done? LIZ ... using an accessible loo reserved for disabled music fans at Glastonbury at the end of June. MAT Based on what... why? LIZ Apparently he was escorted there as a VIP because the disabled area was next to the VIP area so that's why he went. But, you know, Mat, wouldn't you... do you with your little flipper arms do you use the disabled loo? MAT I only use it if there are no other ones available and I look around in my visual vista there are no apparently disabled people approaching said toilet. LIZ But you do use it now and again? MAT Only when I have to. And absolutely not if I don't have to. LIZ Do you feel you have a... MAT In the same way I don't park in a disabled parking space unless I absolutely have to. LIZ So do you feel you do have a sense of entitlement to it just by being a crip? MAT Yes to some extent I do although I'm fully aware as a conscious crip - small c's - that for a wheelchair user and for people with access needs to do with going to the toilet in that style, however if you've been to many festivals as I have and you're there at day four, and it's pretty unspeakable in most of the toilets, I don't think Wayne Rooney has even that excuse does he? LIZ It was funny because I was rung up by a radio show who wanted my views on it. And I said, "Well why?" And they said, "We'd like somebody who's cross about people abusing disabled toilets." I was like, "Do you know what I've been disabled most of my life I've sort of stopped getting cross about it." I mean you do occasionally you do... MAT You do when you are prevented. Shouldn't able bodied people be annoyed by it as well? LIZ Well I think it's not about being annoyed, not for most of them, I think it's about that feeling of guilt and I have to tell you this, so at work there is a disabled toilet at work. MAT As is legally required yes. LIZ Of course legally required to be. And one of my colleagues came up to me and I'd not been in the office at this point and I'm the only obvious wheelchair user in the office, or disabled person in the office, and came up to me the next day and was like, "Liz, I just have to tell you I used the disabled toilet yesterday, I'm so sorry." Like this big moment of confession. And as if I was going to make it all okay as if I was this representative of disability who could say... MAT You could absolve his sins. LIZ Absolutely the sin of using the crip loo. MAT You're the Pope of disability in the confessional environment of your office. LIZ To make him feel better about it. MAT Wow. Another unpaid job. LIZ And now he uses it all the time. MAT Oh! LIZ I didn't say he could, I'm just saying but now that was it. It's only annoying for me when that five minutes of every day I actually want, you know, three times a day or whatever, I want to use the loo if somebody else is in there. MAT Yeah. LIZ But the rest of the time it doesn't really bother me. It's a big room that cl--... and you know that's the other thing I think that people want bigger toilets. MAT Well my thing's always been that in an ideal world all toilets are wheelchair accessible and everyone can use all the toilets, then there isn't the issue at all. LIZ That would be fantastic. I've just been in the States and rather than like in the UK we often have separate disabled loos don't we, so there's male/female/disabled it's sort of the privacy. And I've always thought well okay people like them because a) they're bigger, but also they're private, so you can do your business in there without... MAT Yeah. LIZ Yeah. But in the States they're just another cubicle. MAT I know they're the big cubicle... LIZ ... in the row. MAT ... in the row. LIZ Yeah. But what I found is people still use them. So it's not the privacy, it's like if you go in and there's 12 stalls and one of them is bigger with the wheelchair symbol and there's nobody else in there that one will be occupied. MAT Yeah everyone wants turnaround space. LIZ They do don't they? MAT Yes. LIZ Whether it's to get changed or deal with their shopping or their kids or... MAT Or other things like when you haven't seen your girlfriend... fiancé... LIZ No. MAT ... for a very long time in Heathrow airport. LIZ Obviously that always comes in yes. I remember once going into an accessible loo and we were waiting there a while somebody was in there and I was with my partner and I was used to it, they would get narked because we had to wait. MAT Yes. LIZ And this woman comes out and she doesn't appear to be disabled in any sense, there's no trappings, no stereotype... MAT I'm sensing a Liz tearing up. LIZ Do you know what I didn't but Jo gave this glance that was like "You're guilty, look at Liz" and the woman went past and she shuffled past and then she came back and she said, "I've got a bag you know" and you just... that was mortifying and that's the thing, you don't actually know. MAT You mean a colostomy bag? LIZ No I meant shopping bags. MAT Hey kerching! LIZ [singing] MAT It's the way you tell 'em, Liz. LIZ Thank you. The set up was a bit long but... MAT It's never stopped you before. No set up too big, no payoff too small, Liz Carr. LIZ No she clearly meant colostomy bag and it was that's it, that was mortifying for both of us, well for all of us and that's the thing. MAT So, Liz, is there like a chart, an impairment chart, and I have to say the impairment and you say "In" or "Out" of the toilet? LIZ Okay, I like that, like a game. MAT Blind? LIZ With a dog, possibly on their own and can only stumble into the accessible loo because they can't find their proper loo because they're not doing that Braille thing by the symbols. MAT Okay. Phew. Upper limb thalidomide? LIZ I don't really think there's any excuse other than you just want a bigger toilet and somewhere... MAT False leg? LIZ Not unless when they spin round it flings off. MAT Biffo, crutches user? LIZ Crutches user if that makes them too wide for a regular stall fine, otherwise no. MAT Short person, dwarf? LIZ Short person aren't the toilets too high for them whether it's a big toilet or a little toilet? In fact in a big toilet they've got further to walk so better they go in a normal one. MAT Okay, good to know. Phew. Deaf? LIZ Deaf! Oh don't be ridiculous. MAT Wheelchair user? LIZ Of course. MAT Okay. Somebody like that Cherylee Houston off Coronation Street who can sometimes use a wheelchair but sometimes do bits of walking? LIZ Then she can sometimes use the disabled... I don't know! [Jingle: Contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow on Twitter at bbcouch. Or like our page on Facebook. But we're mostly at bbc.co.uk/ouch on our blog. What a lot of alphabet soup.] MAT On the line from Wrexham, in ‘devolved’ Wales we have Jasmine Burkitt and her mum Bev. BEV Hello. JASMINE Hi. MAT Ah isn't that sweet? LIZ Which is which? Which is Jas? JAS I'm Jas. BEV Jas is the attractive young one with the world at the feet. Bev is the old hag who's past it now and is just trying to get a little bit of money squeezing out of her daughter's fame. That sums us up really. MAT Thank you very much, it's been lovely talking to you. BEV Let's start with honesty. LIZ We should explain to the listeners... MAT Please do. LIZ We first met you two on BBC3's 'Small Teen, Big World' which became the channel's most watched show ever for a time, for about a week. And you're about to start in a four part series that's a spin off from that - 'Small Teen, Bigger World'. MAT Actually they were the record holders for nine whole months. LIZ Really? MAT Yeah. So that's a big record. We're going to listen to a clip now. This bit apparently, Jas, is where you're talking about being laughed at in the street. [Playing clip: We can't just walk down the street and be not laughed at or pointed at or pointed out. It's like walking out in a ridiculous costume and everyone looking at you. No matter what you're wearing if you're wearing a bright orange traffic cone or all black against a black wall you'd still be noticed, you know, because people like to point out difference, because it's natural to look difference is brilliant, difference is what makes this world, you know, but there's no need to be pointing, laughing and shouting, showing all your mates, you know, and that's what really gets me.] LIZ Actually, Jas, we've also got a bit of a jingle that we'd like to play, we think you might like it. JAS Okay yeah, go ahead. [Jingle: Difference is good if we were all the same it would be a shame because difference is good. Oh Yeah. We wouldn't change it if we could. It's part of the neighbourhood. We're different and different is good.] LIZ Not according to Jas difference is brilliant. Love it. JAS Amazing. MAT It's something that comes up a lot in the programme isn't it... JAS Yes it does. MAT ... how you feel about being different, how you feel about other people reacting to your difference. JAS But it's not moaning. MAT No, no, no. I think I mean what we watched, we watched a little clip earlier, and what we noticed was that it's so not moaning, it's like... LIZ It's just you getting on with your everyday life isn't it? JAS That's what we wanted and we're so glad that we've got such a great editor who edited it like that, because we want to show people that yes we are different and yes sometimes it is difficult but we live a 'normal' life. We get out there, we do things, we see the world and we use our disability to push us further and to make us see the world and everything it has to offer. LIZ So what do we see in the four part episode, you know the four episodes? JAS Well without revealing too much. BEV We're not telling you. JAS We can't tell you too much. BEV Not telling you because we'll get in trouble. We won't. JAS It's... I can't describe it, it's emotional, very, very emotional. MAT Yeah. LIZ It is, we can vouch for that the tissues were out. BEV Yeah. It's funny. JAS It really is. This next series is incredibly emotional and it takes you on a journey, you know, it's up and down, up and down and you're either laughing or crying you know. BEV It's like an Eastender Coronation Street soap opera... JAS Yeah. BEV ... but in a mini series. JAS I mean you couldn't write this stuff honestly. BEV No you couldn't write it. Although I know some people are trying to… LIZ A bit of a double act there. MAT So how did BBC3 find you how did it all start? JAS Well it was a bit kind of mad how it all happened; me and Mum were on our way to Spain for a holiday. And we met this nice lady who was helping us with our bags, just another traveller, and she was just helping us. And we got chatting in the waiting room and she said, "Would you like to make a documentary?" And we were like, "Okay." And it turned out she was the owner of a company who makes documentaries, real life documentaries for the BBC and it literally went from there. We did a taster tape while we were in Spain, sent it off to the BBC and they loved it. And it went from there, it was pretty crazy. LIZ And what made you say yes because obviously for this particular... this series four hours of TV that's a lot of footage? JAS Yeah. MAT You must have been like the flies must have been on your wall for ages and all the time? JAS Yeah definitely. There is so much stuff that we filmed that didn't make it into the first one and hasn't made it into this next series. There is so much that we did they had to cut so much out, you know, so much good stuff and it's hard to pick what is good and what it isn't, it depends what the viewers want to see. But I was pretty nervous when I first kind of had the first offer, you know, I was kind of like are they going to make it one of them soppy look at me, poor me kind of ones, or are they going to turn it round and make us seem this, that and the other. I was worried. And we didn't want it to be about our health or hospitals or this bad thing, that bad thing, we wanted it to be about our real lives and what happened every day. And in the end I just thought I can't let this opportunity pass and I said, "Yeah why not" and it's gone from then. And I'm so glad that I said yes and I'm very lucky that I've had such a great team behind me. I've had my producer and the… LIZ This is sounding like a BAFTA speech now, you do know that. JAS Yeah. BEV We have won awards. LIZ Oh have you? JAS Yeah. BEV We have won awards and we are expecting more! No we're not doing it for those reasons because there was two reasons we did it; one we wanted... three reasons: one we wanted people to have an awareness of our condition. MAT Reason one. BEV Yeah and an understanding of it and empathy with it. And those are the sort of three things that we tried to get over. JAS Yeah we don't want people to feel sorry for us because there's no need for that and I don't like documentaries that make you feel sorry for somebody because... BEV Well you just become a sort of a charity symbol don't you? JAS Yeah. LIZ So is this the UK equivalent of 'Little People, Big World' the American... BEV Yeah without the money. They are loaded that family but it is a fantastic film and programme and series but they've got a huge farm and they've got everything and we live... MAT A farm? JAS Yeah. They've got this big farm. Well they've got a ranch or something. BEV All sorts they've got a ranch and everything, we've got nothing, we're poor. LIZ So this is a US TV series isn't it I think it finished actually last year starring Amy and Matt Roloff. BEV Yes that's it. LIZ A family of little people and it was following their life kind of thing. JAS No it was great it was... BEV We loved it. JAS I watched some of it and I found it really interesting and it was not all about their health problems but it was kind of quite a lot about health problems and about the things they can't do and how they struggle. And I totally respect that because it is really annoying sometimes and you just want to have a good moan. But people, the viewers they don't want to see that, they don’t want to see people moaning and that's why I think they loved ours so much because it is so upbeat and it's funny and me and Mum work really well together. MAT You do that's one of the real successes of the show. Now look this kind of exposure means that you're going to be massively famous. Is it leading to anything I mean what's next guys? BEV Jasmine wants to be a vet and do horrible things to animals to make them better. And I want to sit on my deckchair and sell my bestselling novels you know what we all want to do. I want to be in adverts where I get loads of money. JAS Yeah you want to kind of sell out don't you? BEV I want to sell out now. LIZ BBC. And Jas you want to be a vet. Tell us about that, are you on the road to that happening? JAS Yeah. Well I've just finished my Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care. BEV With distinction. JAS Yes. MAT Ah the proud Mum there. BEV Yeah it is but she's worked very hard. JAS I put everything into that course. It was a year long and I lived in at college as well all week which was really difficult at times. LIZ And will we see this in the show? JAS Yeah it featured quite heavily actually... BEV Yeah it is. JAS ... about me being at college and how I... it kind of the series starts with me starting college and then it ends with me kind of finishing college. So it's a real... MAT That's a lot of college. JAS Yeah. LIZ And did you find because obviously you've had the cameras, the film crew with you has that inhibited relationships, has it helped or you know has it been a problem at all? JAS I think having the camera there puts pressure on you like tremendously. You have to think about exactly what you're going to say. You are yourself but you can't kind of just slob about and do nothing because... BEV I did. JAS I know you did, Mum. MAT But listen, Jas, with your glorious new work ethic so are we to expect 'Little Vet, Big Horse'? JAS Yeah I'm liking that title. BEV That is a good one because she does actually... JAS I like that! BEV ... she does actually ride big horses. She doesn't like ponies. JAS I do like horse riding. BEV She does do the 15/16 hand horse riding. LIZ And Bev yours will be what 'Little Woman, Lazy Arse'? BEV Something like that yeah. JAS Definitely. BEV Or 'Little Woman, Big Gob'. JAS Yeah that's a good one. BEV That would be quite good wouldn't it? And then 'Little Woman, Bigger Gob' that would be for the series follow up. MAT You'd have to have your mouth stretched though for the second series. LIZ Well Bev isn't this a natural progression for you though because you've got a lot of acting experience. BEV Yeah. LIZ We used to perform together… MAT I mean the first time I ever saw you, Bev, was in a comedy troupe called 'The Nasty Girls' with Liz. BEV Yes. I mean fond memories... LIZ So would you like to, you know, follow that through now and do more? BEV I'm sort of at the point where I'd like to do a bit of writing again and maybe do a bit of performing because I noticed throughout the whole of this series, the last one, the editor just kept picking out me being silly, me being funny and I said, "Couldn't you find sort of me being the mature, sensible, adult Mum?" JAS There wasn't any of that. BEV There wasn't footage of that though. We tried to film... JAS You are good at one liners. BEV And they sort of said, "No we've got to leave you as you are." And then for the second one I thought I'll really try hard and show some grit. JAS You are very animated aren't you? BEV And it just came out the same. It's just all me being silly, funny, you know... JAS Wine helps though doesn't it. BEV Yeah wine helps yeah my little glass of wine that I have to have everywhere. But yeah and I'd like to write a bit more and do a bit more stand-up again but I'm living in the sort of outer skirts of a little back area of Wales which is lovely, so I might sort of hook up with a few people and write. But that's my next aim I think. MAT And anyway you've got the internet so we're all in any city we want to in the world really with online. Now, Jas, it's been often said that all small people end up being entertainers. You're clearly going to break... JAS Oh God I hate that. MAT Yeah but let me finish, you're clearly breaking the mould by obviously you want to become a working vet, but what's your opinion about that cliché? JAS It annoys me so much because it's sad that most people with our condition find that their only alternative to work. And it is very true, you know, it's very difficult to get a job anywhere in this economy, so getting a job where you're probably more likely to get the job and get a bit of money and taking up acting and things. I think serious roles and things like that are brilliant but I can't stand seeing programmes or comedy sketches where we're just poked fun at and it's like the joke obviously is us and I hate that so much. BEV There was very recently I mean we were talking the last few weeks there was an advertisement for a gardening company and the seven dwarfs were there or some sort of short men who were all dressed as garden gnomes fishing. And I think to myself how can you go from that and then expect people to treat you as a serious person when 20 minutes earlier you held a fishing rod and erm… LIZ And you know there's coming up there's going to be a show on Channel 4 the seven dwarfs show where they're following a troupe of little people taking part in a panto. BEV Yeah. But I'm hoping that's... I mean I don't... I've only read about it I'm just hoping it is good rather than awful. LIZ We've got the Ricky Gervais sitcom - what's it called? MAT 'Life's Too Short'. LIZ 'Life's Too Short'. MAT With our own Kiruna Stamell. BEV I know I'm looking forward to that. I spoke to her yesterday. Hello Kiruna. LIZ It sounds fantastic. BEV And if Kiruna's in it I know it's going to be good. LIZ And Warwick Davis. BEV Yeah and Warwick Davis. JAS And they're very good. LIZ But do you think then is 2011 the year for little people on TV? JAS It seems to be yeah. JAS I think our plan to take over the world is working. BEV It is yeah slowly but surely, you know, we're creeping up there. And it isn't going to be long before the first prime minister is actually a short person. JAS Yeah definitely. BEV And we'll all be celebrating in the streets. JAS I'm thinking of running you know. BEV Yeah and there's going to be Short Pride and all the rest of it. MAT Nice. Like the sound of that. LIZ I think there already is. In a studio in Wrexham that it. BEV All right we can live our dreams. MAT Okay. Well it's been great talking to you. Now when is the show on? JAS It starts on the 11th of July at 9:00pm on BBC3. BEV That's because I had to not... they just couldn't find any of me not swearing so they had to put it on at 9:00 o'clock after the watershed. MAT Thank you for managing so well not to swear on this interview, we appreciate that. JAS Yeah it's been really hard for her. She's been gritting her teeth. BEV Three nails have gone. LIZ Jas, good luck with the course and, Bev, start writing let's see you on stage again. BEV Yeah I think so yeah. MAT Thanks guys, thanks for talking to us. JAS Thank you. MAT Thanks for talking to us, you're lovely. Bye bye. LIZ Take care. JAS AND Bye. BEV MAT That is the end of the show. The team this week were Dan Slipper, Emma Tracey and Andy Fell was on the faders. And the producer of course was Damon Rose. LIZ We're back in a couple of weeks with comedian Laurence Clark talking about 'Health Hazard' his Edinburgh Fringe show. And we'll have music and chat from the kids of Widney High. Until then... LIZ AND Goodbye! MAT
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