Jim Bowen and the Dwarves

Bullseye host hits a new low with dwarf curling
By Jack Malvern, Arts Reporter
The Times
15th August 2005

A ROW erupted on the Edinburgh Fringe between Jim Bowen, the former Bullseye presenter, and a pair of dwarf comedians.
Bowen, who has a show at the Fringe for the first time, has been attacked for demeaning dwarves in a pilot episode for another show for Channel 4, Breakfast of Champions.
Simon Minty, a stand-up comedian and a disability rights consultant, and Tanya-Lee Davis, a comedienne on the American circuit, said that they were outraged at Bowen’s participation in “dwarf curling” — an adaptation of the sport in which teams attempt to slide stones across ice on to a target.
In Bowen’s version the stones were replaced by dwarfs, who were filmed being slid across an ice rink in East Kilbride.
Minty, who co-stars with Davis in Abnormally Funny People at the Fringe, said that he was investigating whether Bowen had broken the law under the Disability Discrimination Act.
“We are pushing Channel 4 to ask what the hell is going on,” he said. “We are writing e-mails and making phone calls saying ‘Give us an explanation’ or ‘Don’t broadcast it’.
“Our response is: now do it [curling] with blind people, people in wheelchairs. You wouldn’t do that.”
Bowen said that he had had reservations about the “dwarf curling” and apologised to anyone who had been offended. “When I was asked to do it, it did cross my mind that it was not politically correct,” he said.
“But the dwarves we had were happy to do it and they were well-paid. It could well be that the [complaining]dwarves in question were not asked and it could be a bit of jealousy.”
Channel 4 said that the show was meant to be a bit of fun and would not be broadcast. “It is a pilot,” a spokeswoman said. “We do hundreds of pilots every year that never get broadcast. Everyone who took part was very happy to do it.
“It is supposed to be a light-hearted entertainment show that had lots of fun things going on.” She added that people who were not dwarves also took part in the game.
But Minty said that the pilot, co-presented by Peter Purves, was demeaning to short people and echoed dwarf-tossing competitions once held in Australia and America.
He succeeded in getting the BBC to apologise in 2001 after derogatory references to dwarfs on Johnny Vaughan’s chat show. “This kind of thing is becoming more and more rare, but not sufficiently so. It is terribly painful and cheap.”
Davis said she was shocked that any comedian would wish to present such a show. “It is total exploitation. I have done leprechaun stuff, but it is different if you’re being an inanimate object. For little people trying to break into the business that is not the way to do it... What next? Dwarf bowling? Dwarf javelin?”
Minty and Davis’s show features them, a wheelchair user, a blind man, a deaf man and a token able-bodied man.
All, except the able-bodied man, have found Fringe difficult to access despite the implementation last October of the final part of the Disability Discrimination Act, which requires venues to make “reasonable” adjustments for disabled people.
Some venues such as the Pleasance, where the show is performed, have made changes for easier wheelchair access and built induction loops for those with impaired hearing.
WT..Fooook is the problem with this. Good on you Jim as I for one would like to see the program having actually lobbed a couple of dwarves at a mess party in Germany I can confirm it's hilarious. Particularly if you manage a skid mark on the floor. They weren't forced into it and I'm sure they were paid. Whereas Minty and his stumpy mate have profited from ripping the pish out of windowlickers, dwarves and the differently abled

Although I've always thought Jim has a touch of Syndrome?

Any other Stumpy Sports we'd like to see?
Dwarf rugby.
I am sure Bridget here does not mind getting thrown around like a rag doll.

I have a DVD with her in it, she does like it up the hoop, dirty little dwarf


They are backing a loser here. If they had refused to use dwarves then that would have been discrimination...

I would like to be indiscriminate with bridget though, especially if she keeps the surgical boots on. I've had a dwarf but funnily enough never a disabled one...MLAAR-vely!

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