Jack Thorne will co-write a BBC drama about Barbara Lisicki and Alan Holdsworth, two disabled cabaret performers who met at a gig in 1989, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act.
The acclaimed screenwriter, who recently worked on His Dark Materials and Netflix series The Eddy, will pen the one-off programme with deaf actress Genevieve Barr, about the couple who fell in love, had a baby and would go on to become the driving force behind DAN (the Direct Action Network), which led to better disabled civil rights in Britain.
The drama will be produced by Dragonfly Films and has a working title Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Were Won.
It will follow the couple, whose “Piss on Pity” protest slogan brought an end to disenfranchising charity events and re-framed the debate around disability rights.
Their spontaneous pickets shut down cinemas, restaurants, stations and even the London underground, and their co-ordinated attempts to handcuff their wheelchairs to buses brought Westminster to a standstill.
Thorne said: “I can’t tell you how exciting it’s been working with the brilliant Genevieve Barr and Dragonfly on this script.
“DAN changed the world through their actions, and they have never been properly celebrated for it. In this film we want to do that in a way that lauds their true punk spirit.”
Barr added: “It is humbling to be part of the extraordinary team that is Jack Thorne and Dragonfly, and be able to bring this story to life.
“DAN created opportunities and rights for so many of us disabled and to be able to say thank you in this creative way is really special.”