Alex Brooker is a co-host on the talk show The Last Leg, a regular feature on channel 4, but did you know this successful program was only meant to last 9 days?
Brooker's big break: The Last Leg
The Last Leg, co-hosted by Alex Brooker, Josh Widdicombe and Adam Hills initially began as alternative coverage of the 2012 #Paralympics. Both Brooker and Hills have physical disabilities and The Last Leg was one of the first TV shows to feature presenters with visible disabilities. Brooker had been selected to be a part of the show after entering a competition called the Half a Million Quid Talent Search, which was looking to find #disabled talent for coverage of the 2012 Paralympics.
This was Brooker’s first major TV appearance and within days of the show airing he knew that this was the start of something big. The initial contract for the show only covered 9 days of filming but only a few days into the Paralympics, the show began to rapidly grow a fan base and thus The Last Leg became a regular on channel 4.
Speaking about his time on the Last Leg, Brooker said “Self-deprecating humour is a common form of comedy and it helps get the audience on side because you’re being vulnerable. Being able to joke about my disability also gives me some control over it. My disability makes me emotional, but it also makes me laugh; the two are not mutually exclusive and I’m comfortable doing both. Joking about it can be a celebration of it, too.”
Alex Brooker branches out
Since making his channel 4 debut, Brooker has also had two feature documentaries made about him, ‘Alex Brooker: My Perfect Body’ and ‘Alex Brooker: Disability and Me’, which showcase a more personal journey and an insight into Alex's life.
When asked about his most recent documentary, Disability and Me, Brooker said “It made me realise it was time now, as a father of two, to take more responsibility over my disability and to find out more about it. I just wanted to do the documentary to shine a light on disability in perhaps a different way than I have done on television so far. But in a selfish way, it was about learning for myself. Getting to a stage where I felt able to talk about these feelings I’ve had over the years.”
Through his appearance on TV, Brooker has not only been able to show greater diversity on our screens but he has also been able to provide an insight into the life of someone living with a physical disability. Brookers #inspirational story is shared through his documentaries and helps viewers see both the normality and challenges of life with a physical disability.
Alex's story shows that opportunities can be found for those who look for them and embracing your disability can sometimes be the key to unlocking doors. Disabilities are currently underrepresented on TV, but progress is being made - click here to see proof of that, and read the story of CBBC presenter Cerrie Burnell, also via the ExpHand blog.