Last night’s Emmerdale episode saw us bid farewell to popular spinal cord injured character Jackson Walsh, played by Marc Silcock, as his assisted suicide attempt proved successful.
It is no secret that Aspire has been outspoken on this topic since we first had an inkling of where the storyline was heading. Peter Stanford, Chairman of Aspire, voiced our concerns in The Telegraph a couple of months back, which caught the attention of the producers of Emmerdale. Subsequently we were invited to address our concerns with them at their offices in London.
As is plain to see, our suggestions that they move away from the suicide story line and to show his journey back to independence in a positive light fell on deaf ears. Perhaps ratings count for more than reality.
Alex Rankin, Director of Services at Aspire, says, “This storyline had the potential to be ground-breaking in its approach to disability, and to challenge misguided opinions on spinal cord injury. Instead, too often, the script has opted for poor stereotypes or sensational misrepresentation. I sincerely hope that the 1,200 people who will be paralysed by spinal cord injuries this year, and their families, do not find themselves believing that Jackson’s story represents their future.”