A sign saying 'Four In A Bed'and a man and a woman standing, looking at the camera and smiling
Andrew & Angie

Blog: Kudos to Four In A Bed's representation

Our Web Editor Steven highlights positive representation of stammering in Channel 4's Four In A Bed.

It's not often TV gets it right with its representation of stammering. You hardly see someone who stammers on the box at all. When you do, it's either someone being interviewed about how bad things are or how they've 'overcome' it; or a character in a comedy or drama whose stammer is used for a cheap laugh or to hint that they're incompetent or weak, that they've got something to hide, or they're just a bit odd. 

You rarely see someone who just stammers for no particular reason and without it being a big thing. This inclusion is what we were pushing for with our campaign 'No Diversity Without Disfluency' last year.

So bravo Channel 4 and the production company Studio Lambert for doing just that and including a contestant who just happens to stammer in Four In A Bed.

It's when we see people stammering as just something they do on our TVs, like Andrew, that we can begin to normalise it and reduce the stigma.

The hit programme that sees B&B owners battle it out over whose guest house is the best (and cleanest), featured Andrew in its edition on March 20th 2023 (okay we're a bit behind but that's what catch up's for, right?). In the episode, Andrew, a person who stammers, and his wife Angie are hoping to impress other contestants with a stay in their mini cabins in the picturesque Hebden Bridge. (Scroll down to watch the episode.)

Andrew's stammer is mentioned, but not by the narrator. He wasn't included to tug on the viewers' heartstrings. It's Angie who brings it up in passing during the introduction, describing it as one of her husband's interesting facets. And then it's not mentioned again. Andrew stammers openly and the other contestants don't react to it.

I can't remember the last time I saw a contestant on a TV show that stammered. It's possible that many who stammer might not put themselves forward to speak on camera. But you also wonder if people are rejected because they're not fluent — because producers might think they 'hold up' the show by taking longer to speak. Or if they edit out the stammers. So bravo C4 for including Andrew and not editing anything out. 

True, Angie does a lot of the explaining to the other contestants and I was a bit concerned that Andrew might have been asked to concede responsibility for this by an intolerant director. But it's highly likely that Andrew just didn't want to do this part. Plus, at the end, you know the bit where they're going through satisfaction forms completed by the other contestants — often to their disgust and dismay — Andrew reads out all the questions and stammers, so they weren't robbing him of his voice.

When the media gets stammering wrong we point it out and let them know. We also want to highlight good examples too and praise those producers who include people who stammer. It's when we see people stammering as just something they do on our TVs, like Andrew, that we can begin to normalise it and reduce the stigma. Let's see more of it!

You can watch the episode of Four In A Bed featuring Andrew on All4 or on YouTube below:

(Images: Andrew & Angie and the Four In A Bed logo, courtesy of Studio Lambert and Channel 4)

Two women in running outfits holding flags and looking at the camera
Tayo & Bhupinder
A speaker on stage at STAMMAFest 2023

Become a member

It's free

Join the movement to change how people understand and react to stammering.

Sign up

Campaign. Fundraise. Connect. Meet. Vote. Talk.