Lin & Ralph: A Love Story

Star rating: 3/5.

8 August, ITV 1

I’m not sure what possesses people to open up their lives in all their graphic and often painful detail. I couldn’t. But it can make fascinating TV, writes Marian Smith.

This “courageous and remarkable love story” (according to ITV) didn’t do what it said on the tin – for me. Undoubtedly Lin and Ralph love each other and have done so through good and bad times, but this was much more the story of their battle with an unnamed airline for compensation for damage caused by forcing Lin into an unsuitable seat.

For viewers who don’t live with a disability the programme gave an insight into how hard it is for some disabled people just to get up in the morning and do everyday stuff. More importantly, it highlighted yet another postcode lottery. What you get in one county as a right (and in some cases free) you have to struggle to pay for yourself in another.

One thing saddened me: Lin and Ralph didn’t seem to have a personal life beyond carer and cared-for. Somehow these roles seem to define them and who they are, rather than wife, husband, lover and so on.

I wept with Lin at the incident with the hoist and all it implied: it was too close to home! Can’t someone out there invent something that does this necessary function without making people feel like squashed parcels with their dignity in tatters around them?

Marian Smith works for a disability charity and is a wheelchair user.

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