Show milks Paralympics for laughs

Australian comedian and television presenter Adam Hills. Photo / Getty Images
Australian comedian and television presenter Adam Hills. Photo / Getty Images

A British television comedy show that screened alongside the Paralympics has been a ratings hit.

The show has tackled everything from how an athlete with no arms eats M&Ms to whether athletes stash prosthetics in the overhead lockers of aircraft. In doing so, it has attracted a growing audience of loyal fans.

Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe presented The Last Leg: Live from Rio in a primetime slot.

The nightly shows have averaged 1.8 million viewers - up 47 per cent on its initial run during the London Games in 2012 - while Channel 4 also credits the show with helping to bring in a record number of young viewers to the Paralympic coverage.

"There's never been anything like this on television. We're taking the mick out of Paralympians!" Alex Brooker laughs.

Two of the three presenters, Hills and Brooker, are disabled themselves. Widdicombe describes himself as both "an honorary disabled person" and "the token able-bodied, white male" of the show.

The Last Leg had the benefit of what is a unique format: part sports show, part comedy panel, and all underlined with an often close-to-the-wire take on disability.

The "Is it OK?" segment, in which the panel charges headfirst into the do's and don'ts of talking to disabled people ("Is it okay to ask if an amputee takes their leg off in the shower?") has been a staple of the show.

Ask any of the main players and there's no worthy intention behind The Last Leg.

"It was never about breaking down barriers," Hills insists.

- Observer

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