In 2022, Ralph & Katie was the first BBC prime time TV show to feature two actors with Down's Syndrome in lead roles. It explored their lives as a newly married couple living independently in a small town in the North of England. We think this show marked a significant development in learning disability history - promoting greater equality and visibility for actors and people in general with Down's Syndrome in our society. It showed the couple living a normal life, navigating friendships, family and work - just the same as everybody else.
Dan, who is a member our SWALLOW's Management Committee was a big fan of the show, so we wanted to catch up with him about it in time for World Down's Syndrome Day.
I remember you telling everyone in the Management Committee last year about the upcoming TV show Ralph & Katie, why did you think it was important that people watched this programme?
I thought it would give people ideas about what people with Down's Syndrome can do. It was interesting that the programme was about a couple who were in a relationship. I feel like we can copy the main characters and learn about what is appropriate in a relationship – they are like role models for us.
What did you like about the series?
I got more into it the more it went on. I liked the main characters, they are really good at acting.
Was there anything you didn’t like about the series?
Did it deal with any issues that you can relate to?
Because I’ve got Down’s Syndrome myself, I was interested in how they kept fit and healthy – they did lots of cooking at home in the show and Katie [the lead character] worked in a cafe. I would also like to show people how to get fit and to teach people how to dance. Ralph [the other lead character] did an amazing dance routine in the show.
How does it make you feel to see two lead actors in a BBC prime time TV show who have Down's Syndrome?
I would love to be on TV and this has made me want it even more! I want to show people how I live independently in my own flat and how I look after my garden too. I would also like to tell people about when I ran the Bath Half Marathon - twice!
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I think the actors [Leon Harrop and Sarah Gordy] are amazing and they give us a lot of inspiration.
Thanks Dan, great to chat to you!
If you missed the show, it is still available to watch on BBCiPlayer - we would highly recommend it.