Mik Scarlet began his career performing in the rock bands, before being spotted by a TV producer in 1989. He quickly became one the UK's first disabled celebrities, presenting programs for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, and acting in shows such as Brookside and 2.4 Children. In 1992 the kids TV show he fronted Beat That won an Emmy and was nominated for a BAFTA. He was lead reporter for the BBC2 news magazine show From The Edge for 10 years, and worked for BBC Radio as reporter and DJ. At the height of his career he was involved in a car accident and broke his back for a second time, leading him to retire to undergo surgery to repair his spine.
Luckily Mik returned to full health and started up an access consultancy, advising business on how to advance inclusive practice. Mik became one of the UK's leading experts on inclusion, with a special focus on public transport, the retail and entertainment sectors and hospitality. Mik is currently working with Network Rail, London Underground and Uber training staff and management around best practice for the provision of service for disabled customers and employment of disabled staff.
In 2012, Mik returned to the media when he performed in the Paralympic Opening Ceremony and presented at the wheelchair rugby. Next he DJed on his own music program for Total Rock Radio, which ran for over a year, and presented occasional specialist music shows for BBC3CR. Since then Mik has appeared on various news and current affairs programs, such as The Wright Stuff, Good Morning Britain, This Morning and Sky News, both as a commentator and reporter. Mik also is an occasional reporter for C5 News.
Mik is happily married to the wonderful Diane and lives in Camden, in the heart of London.
Back in 1981 my spine collapsed as a side effect of the cancer treatment I had 15 years previous. Luckily the cancer went into remission, and still has today, but no one had any idea what the future might hold.
The government claimed that PIP would be a fairer benefit which would help more disabled people and assist in the fight against fraud. From the outset however, disabled people raised their voices in concern, and ever since there has been a growing clamour of stories from people who have been failed by the new PIP assessment process... No matter how you spin the latest statistics, for those who the Personal Independence Payment was designed to help it's been a nightmare. Isn't it time that the voices of disabled people were listened to, and this failed benefit change was over turned?
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In a vlog with HuffPost UK for EveryBody, Mik Scarlet discusses celebrating his 52nd birthday after being told aged five he was not going to survive. He explains that being told you will die young and never knowing when you might die has made him seize the day and live his life to the fullest. Ultimately, he suggests that people should stop regarding disability as something negative as being disabled is something to be proud of.
They are who PIP was designed to help. Yet we are thrust into a situation where we are having to fight to prove our impairments, battle to describe what that they mean to our lives and give out deeply personal and private information to anyone who asks.
For a while now traveling by air has been becoming less and less attractive to my wife and I. The growing, if understandable, security procedures have made flying a real chore, especially as I am a wheelchair user. It was our last two flights that really put us off flying again. The first disaster was when flying home from our favourite city, Barcelona.
How many people would just accept a lower award terrified at the chance losing the payments all together or requiring an infamous face to face assessment? The government claims PIP was introduced to make the process "fairer and more affordable". I think it's clear the emphasis is on affordable. So now I wait for another letter, to see what the outcome is of my challenge to the PIP decision.
I now am gripped by a fear that a benefit that ensures I can work, as it funds my car through the Motability scheme, may be taken away from me. With the horror stories of people with obvious impairments that equally make walking impossible losing their PIP funding it is a real possibility. Of course looking on the bright side, with my medical records having so many mistakes in them, I'm damn lucky I'm here at all!
With my job as a broadcaster and journalist I am lucky enough to travel all over the country, but I've never been to the Norfolk Broads, despite always wanting to stay there. Whenever I saw the Broads it seemed idyllic but I was a little worried about the access for wheelchair users.
As I was helped out of the bath, I admitted to my wife how I was feeling and she hugged me. She told me I was not a burden, yet I can't under estimate how much beginning the PIP application process has impacted on my confidence and mental health
During the row, which I still am incredulous about, the cyclist decried: "I thought disabled people were all nice", following my protestations that by blocking my exit from my car he was in fact discriminating against me. True story.
What may not be clear to those parents who flatly refuse to move is, if they do not act reasonably it may impact on their ability to use buses at all. Not all wheelchair users can travel by bus. If their wheelchair is too big or heavy they are barred from traveling.
As a wheelchair user Cardiff proves what is possible around the concept of inclusive design. It's so accessible for me that it's one of those places that means I can forget I live on wheels from the moment I arrive.
Back in the 1980's I did what many had done before me, I left my small town and moved to London to pursue my fortune. I grew up in the industrial town of Luton in Bedfordshire and for most of my childhood I expected a future that was like my father's, to work in one of the many factories that dotted the town
If we adopt a social model way of thinking, see our similarities rather than our differences, demand real change is required and that our voices are listened to then maybe we can start to rebuild a conscientious. Maybe we can stop the growing divides between us and come together to build a fairer, more inclusive world.
Not many writers of a stage musical would attempt to explore deeply contentious and troubling issues of the day. Big issues don't really lend themselves to up beat song and dance, and most audiences don't usually find themselves clapping along to show tunes with a serious edge...
19/09/2016 13:32 BST
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