The presenting team for Channel 4’s coverage of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games will be made up entirely of disabled presenters and pundits in what the broadcaster says is a “global first” for a “world-class sporting event”.
The broadcaster has exclusive broadcast rights within the UK for the event, held from 4 to 13 March. It will host more than 80 hours of Paralympics coverage around the clock from China on free-to-air television, with content also streaming on its YouTube channel.
A daily highlights show will be fronted by sport presenter and wheelchair basketballer Ade Adepitan, with quadriplegic former professional rugby player Ed Jackson and Paralympic champion triathlete Lauren Steadman hosting the breakfast show.
Former Strictly Come Dancing star Steadman won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and also took home a silver at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio.
The presenting and punditry line-up also includes Paralympic swimmer Ellie Robinson, who will be joined by double amputee racing driver Billy Monger to be onscreen reporters, while Paralympic sitskier Sean Rose will be a pundit.
Robinson, who aged 15 won gold and bronze at the Rio Games, announced last year that she was retiring from competitive swimming.
The broadcaster’s overnight sports coverage will be led by Tokyo 2020 presenter Arthur Williams.
Ian Katz, the director of programmes at Channel 4, said: “Channel 4 is incredibly proud to announce a stellar presenting team and – in a first for any broadcaster around the world – an entire presenting team who are disabled. This is testament to the brilliant disabled presenting talent we have in the UK and underlines our commitment to providing opportunities and for people with disabilities and making our output truly representative of the entire population.”
Thérèse Coffey, the work and pensions secretary, said: “This all-star disabled presenting team is world-leading and it is a momentous milestone for the UK, displaying pleasing progress on disability representation in broadcasting.”
Andrew Parsons, the president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), hailed Channel 4 as “a world-leading organisation in disability inclusion. The IPC has been working on the Paralympic Games with Channel 4 since 2012 and at every Games they have improved the broadcast landscape on para sports.”
The broadcaster will also carry live subtitles and its highlights shows on repeat on More4 will include audio descriptions.