Richard III: Channel 4 documentary and scoliosis

It’s all over the news at the minute, it has been confirmed that the skeleton buried underneath a car park in Leicester discovered several months ago is in fact Richard III. 

What interested me more though, was his skeleton showed that he had scoliosis, which shows just how long the condition has been around.

I can sympathise with Richard III, as looking at his skeleton reminded me of my curve pre-surgery and I really felt for the guy knowing the pain and discomfort he must have been in everyday. Having said that, he didn’t seem to let his scoliosis stop him, either!

I felt compelled to write this post after watching the Channel 4 documentary about Richard III last night, which showed how his skeleton was found. I was looking forward to watching it, as I felt it would be a real chance for Channel 4 to raise awareness of scoliosis in a positive and inspiring way. In some ways, I actually felt proud to be connected to a former King through my scoliosis.

What I witnessed, in fact, was a poorly researched programme which to me reflected scoliosis in a highly negative and offensive way.

Scoliosis was portrayed negatively to millions of people, with frequent uses of offensive words being inaccurately used to describe scoliosis throughout the documentary.

What upsets me more, is that there are now many people out there, including children in schools, who will think it’s ok to use these offensive words, not just as a result of this programme but also the other inaccurate media coverage out there about Richard III and his scoliosis. It makes me so mad.

Scoliosis effects your self confidence and body image in a big way, I should know, and the insensitive comments throughout this particular documentary and other media coverage will not help those with the condition and are extremely hurtful.

This was a prime opportunity for Channel 4 to promote a positive message about scoliosis including understanding and acceptance but for me this programme did the exact opposite.

I have already made a complaint to Channel 4 but I think it highlights more than ever how important it is to raise awareness of scoliosis and set the record STRAIGHT (so to speak!) 🙂 about what it really involves and it how it affects people’s lives everyday.