Mrs Angry: Complaints about presenter Cerrie Burnell and her ‘frightening’ missing hand!

by Lynn Connolly

Without doubt, the fact that Cerrie Burnell  – who has a deformed arm and is missing a hand – has prompted complaints to be made to the BBC claiming that she’s “frightening” children is SO ridiculous, it’s hard to find sufficient adjectives; ludicrous, ridiculous, preposterous, absurd… I could go on ad infinitum; the whole thing is truly pathetic but perhaps the most fitting might be ‘outrageous’.

cerrie burnell

Cerrie, who co-presents Cbeebies ‘Do And Discover’ with Alex Winters, has been accused of causing young children “sleep problems” – one assumes in the form of nightmares – and apparently, parents find it unpalatable to have to discuss disability with their children “before they are ready to hear it” according to the BBC news website.

Well boohoo and tough t*t! Guess what? Not everyone’s born ‘perfect’. Does it make them lesser people? No. Does the fact that some people feel the need to negatively comment on it make them lesser people? Hell yes…

Do these same people cover their children’s eyes if they see someone in a wheelchair on the street or maybe they step around someone with a prosthetic leg or cross the road if they see someone with facial burns? I’m horribly afraid they just might.

What the hell is wrong with these people? Here are a few samples of some of the comments made on various forums around the net about this issue…

“Is it just me, or does anyone else think the new woman presenter on Cbeebies (Cerrie Burnell) may scare the kids because of her disability?”

I wish it was just you, you bigoted freak, but unfortunately, it isn’t just you; there are other likeminded morons around…

“I didn’t want to let my children watch the filler bits on the bedtime hour last night because I know it would have played on my eldest daughter’s mind and possibly caused sleep problems… and yes, this is a serious post.”

Well you wanna hope then Mr I’m A Pillock And Proud To Be So that you never have an accident involving your hand and a chainsaw because presumably, that would mark the end of your ever being able to see your child ever again. Imagine her horror at seeing someone with a missing hand in real life! She’d never sleep again.

Other comments on forums are even advocating that the BBC only employed Cerrie to get Brownie points for having employed the ‘token’ disabled person, in much the same way many programmes are accused of having the token black person or the token gay person.

This, the ‘PC set’, are calling “positive discrimination.” In other words, they only hired her because she’s got this ‘problem’ however, are these people aware that Cerrie has previously achieved success as an actress, both in theatre and on TV? I guess not. But like all narrow minded bigots, they themselves cannot see past a disability so assume we are all equally as shallow.

Fortunately, in the net forums I’ve seen, the vast majority of comments have offered nothing but support to and for Cerrie, who many describe as “lovely” and “talented” and indeed she is both.

Sue Stokes from the charity ‘Reach’ has said the charity was appalled by the negative reaction to Cerrie’s disability. On the BBC website, she’s quoted as saying:

“We are appalled that parents are talking on behalf of their children.

“Children don’t notice the differences. The parents need to think about how they would feel if it were their child born without an arm.

“It is great for children with disabilities to see people like them on the television.”

I suspect Ms Reach that these are the people who would think “bucket, water and plastic bag needed” were they to have a child who was born with a disability like Cerrie’s, much as they probably would feel about the ‘runt’ in a litter of kittens.

So… NEWSFLASH complainants… people with disabilities aren’t lepers, it’s not catching and they aren’t criminals or some kind of underclass so how dare you narrow minded, self-absorbed, probable Aryan race fans have the audacity to claim that someone with a – let’s face it, exceptionally slight disability in terms of what some disabilities are – is frightening your children and shouldn’t be seen on TV??

You are – thank God – in the minority and what should be keeping your kids awake at night is the fact that they were born to you and not somebody who is worthy of the precious oxygen that you’re taking up.

So let’s hear what the infinitely decent and intelligent Cerrie had to say about it all. And who, I might add, responded with equanimity and magnanimity that simply proves she’s a very lovely woman and in a class way above those who’ve seen fit to say such pathetic and insulting things about her…

On the BBC website, in response to these negative comments about her arm, Cerrie is quoted as saying that, “She doesn’t take this personally but these kind of comments highlight the prejudice that disabled people face.

Cerrie then added, “Children come up to me in the street every day and say ‘What’s that?’ I wouldn’t say they’re frightened but certainly they’re inquisitive.

“I would always take the time to explain to a child. All they want is an explanation. They want to know ‘What’s that?’ and ‘What’s happened?’ and ‘Why are you different?’ And then they will move on.

“I’d never comment on anyone’s parenting or the time for them to have a discussion with their child about disabilities.

“It’s a totally personal thing and people have to do it when they feel comfortable to do it. But I would just hope that, I guess, me being on CBeebies would present an opportunity for them to do that in the comfort of their own home.”

I’d make that “in the comfort of their own stalag” Cerrie, but you’re clearly a nicer person than me.

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.