Wheelchair User Disabled Actor Emmerdale

In January, the wheelchair user disabled actor Emmerdale, James Moore, won the Best Newcomer at the 2019 National Television Awards for his part in the long-running soap.

National Television Awards 2019

Both the actor, and his TV character, have cerebral palsy, and James himself suffers from an unusual form of the condition called Ataxic cerebral palsy. The condition causes him difficulty in controlling the muscles of his arms and legs which makes balancing difficult, and also affects his cognitive functions, including language, and his motor skills.

Being the first wheelchair user disabled actor in Emmerdale

is his first TV acting role, although he appeared in and directed a short YouTube film called Spaghetti legs in 2016, and the following year he appeared in the National Youth Theatre Epic Stages Showcase, and in Playhouse Summer Showcase he appeared in an adapted version of Romeo and Juliet. He studied at the National Youth Theatre and has a degree in photography.

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National Youth Theatre Epic Stages Showcase

Born in Cheltenham, James is a vegan, and a disabled activist who has taken advantage of his fame as the wheelchair user disabled actor in Emmerdale to highlight disabled people’s needs and to support actions through social media.

He feels there needs to be more opportunities for disabled actors and in an interview with Disability Horizons he states, “I think societies’ attitude towards non-disabled actors playing disabled characters is too lenient.

I mean, we wouldn’t let someone white use black makeup to play a black person. It would be deemed unacceptable. So, why let able-bodied people take the roles of disabled characters?” He also commented, “It wasn’t easy (becoming an actor) and I didn’t know if I would be able to earn a living from it. This is why I love being part of Emmerdale. Its showing disability in a new light and letting viewers know that disabled people can be intelligent and have full, healthy lives.”

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