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The Rise of Disabled Contestants in Reality TV

24th November 2020

As we head toward winter 2020, we all really needed a dose of reality TV. Which is why it’s great that September and October bring the Great British Bake Off, I’m a Celebrity and Strictly Come Dancing, all bringing their own challenges, personalities and action.  

All three programs have included disabled contestants this year, so let’s meet them. 


Great British Bake Off – Marc Elliot 

(Instagram: @marc_o_bakes) 

Marc began baking in 2016 as a form of therapy after his leg was amputated following a motorbike accident. He is from Leicester but now lives in Cornwall and works as a bronze resin sculptor and support worker. He is an avid rock climber, a hobby he has continued to enjoy as an amputee.  

Marc was eliminated from the competition in week 8, but in a handwritten note shared on social media, he said ‘I feel honoured to be part of this year’s Great British Bake Off! The bond and friendships made this year are extra special as we were living, baking and socialising 24/7. ‘For me personally being able to share this bonkers experience with my daughters and dog Hamish, just made it one of the most memorable periods of my life.’ 


Strictly Come Dancing – JJ Chalmers 

(Instagram: @jj.chalmers) 

JJ is a TV presenter, public speaker, athlete and former Marine. He is competing on this Year’s Strictly Come Dancing and has been partnered with professional dancer Amy Dowden. He was injured while serving as a Marine in 2011 and has since become known for his determination and commitment to taking on new challenges, whether that’s winning eight medals in the Invictus Games or showing off his DIY skills renovating houses.  

Strictly is on BBC One at 7:15PM on Saturdays.  


I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! – Hollie Arnold MBE 

(Instagram: @holliearnold8) 

Hollie was born without her right forearm and was the youngest member of Team GB in the 2008 Summer Paralympic Games. In the 2016 Paralympics, she won a gold medal in the javelin event and broke a world record at the same time. She also won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where she beat her own previous record. She received an MBE for services to field athletics in the 2017 New Year Honours.  


Who are you rooting for? 

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