The good news...sort of
Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 2:06PM
Judith Nitchie in George Gently, Media portrayal, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic illness, employment, entertainment, gait, neurological disorders, workplace

George Gently has Multiple Sclerosis! Woohoo!!

Okay, kinda mean to celebrate somebody's diagnosis with a scary, incurable disease. Of course, I don't really want anyone to have M.S., and I like George.

George Gently solves murders, exposes social ills, and stands up for the oppressed. Nice guy. Inspector George Gently is a BBC Mystery series based on the crime novels of Alan Hunter. Martin Shaw plays the detective. KQED, a PBS station in San Francisco, aired the series these last few Fridays.

The character and camera play his physical symptoms realistically: vision distorts, a glass falls from his hand, his gait is stumbly, his hands tremor. We see and practically feel the physical weirdness. My suspicions precede the doctor's confirmation.

Gently faces common (to those with unpredictable chronic illness), real-life dilemmas. He tells no one. His observant Detective Sargent John Bacchus pushes to know what is going on with his boss. I shout at the TV, "He won't tell you because he will lose his job!" The show is set in the 1960's, but this risk is real, even today...even with the ADA.

So what is the good news? What am I celebrating? 

I celebrate this portrayal in popular, entertainment media of a reality that too often remains hidden or misunderstood.

George Gently humanizes the disease for millions of viewers. BBC mystery fans didn't come to learn about M.S. They came to see their favorite characters, their 'friends'. Gently brings Multiple Sclerosis right into their living rooms. He didn't do anything to get it there. It happened. And the story continues.

I hope there is another season and I hope this thread is maintained and developed. I want to see how George Gently and the BBC handle Multiple Sclerosis going forward. We all could learn from this.

Where have you seen accurate potrayals of Multiple Sclerosis or any other chronic illness/condition in entertainment media? Share in the Comments section. Thanks!

 

Learn more here:

Inspector George Gently

Mulitple Sclerosis & Employment

If you missed this last round on KQED, Hunter's novels and the BBC DVD's are available at Amazon and in all the usual places you find books and DVDs....

Article originally appeared on chronic illness, grief and loss counseling and therapy in San Francisco, California (http://www.chronicillnesssf.com/).
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