The Last Leg of the Year

The Last Leg

This the best sort of yearly review: one which takes place after the whole year has taken place, because you never know what sort of events are going to take place on the last few days of the year… and indeed something did happen which caused a bit of conflict between host Adam Hills and the viewers.

The Last Leg, described as the show in which, “three guys with four legs talking about the week” has rolled along impressively since it began, when it was covering the 2012 London Paralympics. Hills, along with Josh Widdicombe, Alex Brooker, and the wide range of guests that have appeared recently (in this edition it was Richard Ayoade), have made this probably the most entertaining chat show around.

This being a review of the year, there was not only the #isitok questions tweeted in by the viewers, but there was also the bigger issue of this year’s “Dick of the Year”. Last year it went to Vladimir Putin, and now it was up to the viewers and the guests to make their choices. These ranged from the Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood who were nominated by Widdicombe; Ayoade’s choice of Max Clifford – partly for his sex offences and partly for his terrible autobiography which he wrote entirely in the third person; while Hills had originally wanted to name Rolf Harris because Hills’s favourite childhood song, “Jake the Peg”, has now been ruined.

However, in one of his trademark rants, Hills turned his attention to Katie Hopkins because of her remarks about Ebola and Glasgow as well as all the other things she has said over the year. The problem was however that Hills did not want people to vote for Hopkins on the grounds that she is such an internet troll that she would enjoy being named the “Dick of the Year”. In the end, the viewers did vote for Hopkins, but an executive decision was made to not give her the prize and instead give it to second-place Nigel Farage (in case you are wondering, I voted for Darren Wilson, the Caucasian police officer who shot African-American Michael Brown dead in Ferguson, Missouri and thus started a wave of rioting and racial tension across the USA).

Voting was another subject that came up in the show, as The Last Leg looked forward to this year’s General Election, and the fact that Brooker, like so many people in Britain, is so apathetic that he probably won’t vote because all the major party leaders are so unappealing. Thus a #pollalex hashtag has begun to try and get politicians on the programme to try and get Brooker to vote – and if anyone can make Brooker vote they probably deserve to win.

The original focus on this show is the subject of disability, but I feel that The Last Leg is somewhat biased in covering some disabilities over others, and I say this as someone who has a disability. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and I feel that people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and indeed people with mental and learning disabilities in general are overlooked by TV. Without wishing to sound crass, I feel that I’m not represented because I don’t “look” disabled. I think TV – and I’m worried that The Last Leg is sadly guilty of this too – are only willing to show people who are missing a limb, are vertically challenged or have some sort of “hardware”, whether that be a white cane, a hearing aid, a wheelchair etc. because TV executives think that the public are only going to judge someone by their looks. People need to discover what is going on inside people’s heads, their bodies and their souls to make a full opinion of someone.

I believe this extends into sport and sports coverage too. In the Paralympics people with ASDs are rarely included because the effects of it are so wide ranging, but the rules are so rigged that only a small number of people meet the requirements to enter, such as having an IQ below 75. Some autistic people do make it however, one being gold medal winning swimmer Jessica-Jane Applegate (congratulations to her), but the numbers are still very small. Also, while Channel 4 is happy to show the Paralympics, no-one in the UK is televising this year’s Special Olympics, which does feature people with learning disabilities.

To help address this, I would like to ask an #isitok question of my own right now. It probably won’t get read out on the show and it probably won’t be read by any of the presenters, but I want to ask it anyway: #isitok to apply to be a mental and learning disability correspondent for The Last Leg or Channel 4 News in general? I want to help address the problem by working alongside you: mental disability, learning disability and physical disability, working hand-in-hand-in-artificial-hand to promote greater understanding amongst all.

Score: 4 / 5 (but it will go up to 5 / 5 if you give me the job)