Monday, 2 November 2015

Donna in Eastenders

Looking at how disability is represented in TV Drama

Donna is a character in the TV drama Eastenders, who is physically disabled and is living in a wheelchair. We see her in this episode being represented in several different ways. Her and the subject of her is mentioned a number of times, throughout the episode.

Donna entitally goes against the typical, stereotyped idea, outlined by the theorist Paul Hunt about disabled people and how they're represented in TV dramas. She does this by taking part in activities he has claimed those of a disability rule out of their life schedule. This means she is a countertype and the first scene we see her in, suggests this.

One of the rules, he claims represent the view on those of a disability, include 'not sexually active'. Well Donna is and we see this by Donna being shown in bed after a 'night in' with Fatboy. We as an audience guess she is disabled by her appearance and the way she reaches out for pills beside her, awkwardly, that is represented in a lower camera angle, making her seem vulnerable and weak. Once Fatboy comes into the bedroom, the camera angle is moved to a mid two shot and he takes his place on the bed, making himself the same level as Donna to show off equality. Whilst this is taking place, there is a lot of diegetic sound of passers by as the window is open, and we hear general chatting going on in the market place outside the house. This sets a realistic scene, one that a disabled person will feel at ease in. Donna questions why Fatboy had bought her breakfast in bed and he mentions about 'treating a lady right'. This puts a 'normal' view on Donna and creates a romantic side in her life - which she might not get a lot, as she is physically disabled. This all adds to the fact she isn't being represented in a stereotypical way and she is subverting from the initial, dominant ideology.

Donna then takes the mick out of her own disability by saying 'I am not a lady Fats' and laughs. This hopefully causes the audience to not feel any pity for her, which most disabled characters in TV dramas (the ones that fit the stereotype), get from the people watching the show, because it echoes the rules made by the theorist Paul Hunt.

When Donna is seen out in public, later on in the episode, she is surrounded by other people who, like herself owning a market stand, but aren't physically disabled. As Fatboy and Donna make their way down the street in a long shot, that is in deep focus in order for us to see the gossip going around in the square; there is a lot of whispering and rumours going around. We guess this is about the night she had before, as it causes a lot of talk within people living in Albert Square. Now this could be the general nature of the show, because it is Eastenders and they love a gossip - however, it could be the talk because Donna is disabled and it would probably strange to find her taking part in things like that.

1 comment:

  1. some great comments here - try to include a little more detail