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British TV parodying 'Survivor' with scripted disabled castaways series

By Christopher Rocchio, 11/02/2009 

Survivor will be parodied in a new scripted British series that will chronicle the "making" of a fictional reality competition featuring a cast of disabled castaways marooned on an island.

Cast Offs, a comedy drama that will premiere later this month on the U.K.'s Channel 4, will be filmed from the viewpoint of different disabled characters played by actors with the same disabilities, Britain's The Times newspaper reported Monday.

"I hope that this will do for disability what Queer as Folk did for gay people: make people see that disabled people are no more and no less f--ked up than anyone else," producer Joel Wilson told The Times.

Characters included in Cast Offs' cast are a blind man, a deaf woman, a paraplegic man, a woman with dwarfism, a thalidomide-affected man and a woman with cherubism, according to The Times, which added the actors based their traits on real-life experiences with the disabilities.

"[Cast Offs] tries to tell the story of contemporary disabled identity from the perspective of contemporary disabled people," lead writer Jack Thorne told The Times.

"In most cases they are not defined by their disability so it becomes a story about a group of people surviving on an island."

In addition to Thorne -- who has a heat allergy -- writer Alex Bulmer is blind, meaning two of the show's three writers are disabled, according to The Times.

"This is not something that's really been seen before, showing us as adults who drink, swear and have sex," Victoria Wright -- who plays a research scientist with cherubism -- told The Times.

"I am sure there are going to be a lot of people saying, 'My goodness, I didn't know disabled people could do that.'"

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