A World Without Down's Syndrome



Good evening. BBC2 are showing a documentary made by the comedy actress Sally Phillips about Down's Syndrome. Before I watch along and share a few of my own thoughts, here's a little introduction to a girl that I know. Her name is Gemma. She's 29. She lives with her mum and dad. She likes swimming, music, reality TV and loves to laugh. Here's Gemma with a bird. And a massive smile!

Gemma is one of the most kind, caring, loving people I know. Sure, she can be huffy and get frustrated with things. But, who doesn't? Oh...one thing I forgot to tell you. Gemma is my sister. I'm Roddy Graham and my sister has Down's Syndrome. Don't worry though. You're not going to catch it from her. Or me. It's genetic condition that occurs as a result of an extra chromosome (chromosome 21).

I'll be talking about my life with Gemma throughout the show, as well as reacting to some of the things Sally shares. In the mean time, have a wee watch of this. You might enjoy it as much as I did.

Tracy Matheson-Smith

What a fantastic little video. Can you post that on FB so we can share it please? (I'm a technophobe on a mobile so there's no chance of me getting it from here to fb!!)

If you have anything you wish to share tonight, please do. Just click the "be first" button on desktop or "reply" on mobile, and let me know your thoughts about all things Down's. Be it first hand experiences, worries you've had about seeing people with Down's (don't worry, I won't judge!) or anything else. Go on. Get involved!

Here we go then. Starting with laughter. I'm yet to meet someone who has Down's who doesn't a) like laughing or b) make you pee yourself with laughter. "What kind of society do we want to live in?" is the main question of the night. Personally, I hope to live in one where Down's people can thrive.

Alan Wilson

Me too. I'm stuck in the wilds of Fife with no TV so you better make this entertaining Mr G.

Roddy Graham

Well, I'll certainly try. You big high flyer ye!

Olly is the wee man we're being introduced to tonight. Sally's son. "I was expecting tragedy but I got comedy" Oh, how that rings true.

9/10 women terminate when they find out their child is likely to have Down's Syndrome. This makes me feel sad. Really sad.


That is a shockingly high statistic. Uncomfortable with it but don't want to judge as I haven't been in that position.

Roddy Graham

It's 100% in Iceland, Steph...

Sure I'm biased, as Sally says she is too. But people do need to know more about the positives of their child having Down's. Sure, there are complications and things that are tough. But the positives more than outweigh that.

Some science about the condition being described now. It was a rather cool way of describing it. Only 40,000 people in the UK have Down's. I genuinely thought that number was higher.

One quick observation so far. The tone of this documentary has been set perfectly. It's wonderful so far. Long may that continue!