David Proud

Actor and Writer

David is an actor, writer, producer and a member of BAFTA. His film and TV credits include Secret Diary of a Call Girl, No Offence, Siblings, Jack Ryan and ITV’s acclaimed Marcella. He became the first disabled regular character on EastEnders, going on to become the first disabled artist to perform on stage at the Old Vic theatre. He says: “Being disabled makes most things a marathon not a sprint, but we still cross that finish line in the end.”

David also writes and produces for TV and the stage: his play, Friendzone, was featured at Theatre Royal Stratford East in 2012. He is currently developing a slate of film and TV projects, and this year was accepted onto the prestigious BBC Writers Room programme, to write for a variety of scripted BBC shows.  

Aware of his role as an ambassador, David draws attention to the inaccessibility of the sector, the lack of roles for disabled people and the need for better representation. His book, The Art of Disability, was published in 2016 and lays out the realities and impact of limited media representation through his experiences as an actor, writer and producer. He has written articles for the Guardian and this year spoke on disability representation at the Edinburgh Film Festival. 

David has also contributed to policy, including speaking at the Westminster Media Forum last year about diverse talent in the UK screen sector. As a consultant for the BFI, David founded the BFI’s roundtable discussion on disability representation and contributed to their Disabled Britain on Film season. Last year David was awarded a two year engagement fellowship by the Wellcome Trust. David is using this to explore disability and the morality of medical efforts to engineer disability out of existence. He is engaging both medical researchers and disabled people to examine the medical model of disability.

Being disabled makes most things a marathon not a sprint, but we still cross that finish line in the end.