Jonnie Peacock hits out at BBC’s Paralympics coverage: ‘It wouldn’t have moved forward’

Jonnie Peacock breaks down after learning about family history

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Paralympic gold medalist Jonnie Peacock, 28, has praised Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage since 2012. The champion sprint runner also hit out at the BBC, claiming that if the broadcaster had continued to cover the Paralympic Games, they “wouldn’t have moved forward”.

Jonnie, who appeared on BBC show Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, explained that although TV has improved in portraying disability over recent years, much of this progression is due to Channel 4’s work.

When quizzed on how things have changed on TV, Jonnie said he’s noticed improvements “every year” in terms of representation.

The sportsman told this week’s Radio Times: “Back in 2010, you wouldn’t see a disabled person on screen unless they were a villain; now Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing on Ice and I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! are featuring disabled contestants all the time. 

“For kids growing up today, that’s something to be proud of.”

The Team GB Paralympics star added: “The visibility of disabled people today in the UK is 90 per cent attributable to Channel 4.”

Criticising how the BBC covered the Paralympics in the past, Jonnie continued: “If Paralympics coverage had stayed the way the BBC did it for years, it wouldn’t have moved forward. 

“C4’s the best in terms of equality full stop and they’re going bigger and better with each Paralympics.”

Jonnie also revealed that having the extra time after both the Paralympic and Olympic Games were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic was helpful for him.


He explained to the publication: “I’d had a knee operation and that extra time was really helpful for my rehab. 

“I didn’t have to rush things and could come back solid.”

Giving an update on how his training has been going since his recovery, Jonnie divulged: “Coming off a long break, I’m a bit behind but everything’s coming on. 

“I’ve put down some half-decent times despite some poor execution, so there’s more in the tank. 

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“I did three races the other day and the next day my body was fine.”

The Paralympic Games will be shown live on Channel 4 and More 4 this year from August 24.

More 4 will become the dedicated team sports channel.

Channel 4 will show viewers over 300 hours of round-the-clock Paralympics coverage from Tokyo, Leeds and London.

Channel 4 said: “The team bringing the Paralympics to UK audiences include Ade Adepitan helming the Highlights show from Tokyo, and established presenters including Sophie Morgan, JJ Chalmers and Ed Jackson will be joined Lee McKenzie and Vick Hope reporting from Japan.

“In the UK Clare Balding will present live sport finals from Leeds, which take place UK morning time, whilst Arthur Williams and Steph McGovern will head up a daily Paralympics Breakfast Show from the same location.”

The Last Leg is also set to air in primetime throughout the Paralympic Games. 

The show began during the London 2012 Summer Paralympics as a spin-off show, which aired every night following the main coverage on Channel 4.

Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdicombe will front the programme daily from London.

Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times – out now.

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