I refuse to watch The Undateables on principle – but I’d like to see a Big Brother for people with disabilities

21-year-old Sasha Parker explains why she wanted to be in a BBC3 documentary series about a college for students with disabilities – and why Channel 4's The Undateables disgusted her

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In the third and final episode of BBC3’s The Unbreakables, Sasha Parker tries to find a place of her own after leaving National Star College. She tells RadioTimes.com what happened next.

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By this time next year I hope to be in my own place. My parents have remortgaged their home so that I will have a place of my own in Bristol. 

My parents should not have had to do that. Since leaving college I have spoken to many potential housing providers and they all promise the world and come up with nothing. Everyone says there are lots of places for disabled people to live. Where are they? I haven’t found them in the two years of looking.

In The Unbreakables I visit a place which supposedly had a floor with young people. When we first went in I thought my mum must have had the wrong address. The youngest there was 50. I was in shock. I couldn’t speak.

I don’t think social services listen. How could you think that I should go in a home with old people suffering from dementia? I am 21. That isn’t having a life. I have got to the stage where I don’t trust any official people. They always let you down.

I am not an actual person to social services or the local authority. I am just a problem on a list that needs dealing with. They see a bed in an old people’s home and they say “take it”. For them it’s problem solved – another tick on their list. It makes no difference that it isn’t suitable for me.

We didn’t choose our disabilities. We were born with them. Why should we be punished just because we want to live our lives the best way we can?

That’s why I wanted to be part of The Unbreakables. I’m proud of myself and I wanted to see something on TV that was positive about disability.

Sasha’s fellow students at National Star College

Shows like The Undateables don’t help. I refuse to watch it on principle. The name is disgusting. It’s like ‘you’re disabled so you must be undateable’. What we need are more programmes that focus people’s personalities first and show disability in a positive way.

At least the BBC is doing that with the Defying the Label season. You get so used to not seeing anyone in wheelchairs on TV that it’s great to see things like The Unbreakables on BBC Three.

However there is a long way to go. Let’s do a Big Brother-style programme with The Unbreakables. It would have to be on after 9pm! It would give us a chance to show off our characters and not just our disabilities.

I hope people watching The Unbreakables will realise that disabled people are the same and as equal as anyone else. We just do things in a different way.

My next challenge is to arrange for reliable carers and a PA to help me when I move into my place in Bristol. After that I will try and get a job. I would like to work in TV or radio or the stage. I would also like to help people with disabilities. I look forward to meeting new people – and clubbing. I love clubbing. I love the noise, the people and the alcohol. It makes me feel more free.

I don’t want to be wrapped in cotton wool. I want independence. Just like anyone else my age.

The Unbreakables: Life and Love on Disability Campus concludes on Thursday 13th August, BBC3 at 9pm

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Read more: The Unbreakables are just people – and there’s proof in the programme that it needs to be said