Writer and journalist Rebecca Atkinson is the writer behind some of the BSL Zone's best-known dramas, Coming Home, Fairytale of London Town and Tree Fairy. With Tree Fairy back on TV next week, we asked her about what inspired the film and what she has planned next.
Where did the idea for Tree Fairy come from?
I had been watching a children’s programme on the BBC with my kids about a little boy who could shrink his granddad so he fitted into his pocket.
I thought how lovely it would be if a deaf child could have a pocket sized signing friend. Especially if they are in a hearing family, where communication can be tough and being Deaf can feel isolating.
BSLBT were looking for a Christmas story and so Tree Fairy was born!
Why do you think drama for Deaf children is important?
Seeing people like themselves on screen is hugely important for Deaf children as they are growing up.
Deaf children are virtually invisible on mainstream TV. What does this say to Deaf children? That they are invisible in the real world too?
They may be in mainstream school, in a hearing family, and seeing Deaf characters on screen is an extremely powerful message that tells Deaf children that being Deaf is something to be proud of.
It's also important to provide Deaf children with original stories in BSL. And I love providing Deaf children the opportunities to showcase their acting skills by writing Deaf characters and stories for them to star in!
How does Tree Fairy compare to your other scripts?
I think Tree Fairy is my favourite drama of the ones I’ve written for BSLBT because I love creating stories for children.
I remember my own childhood like it was yesterday and I can still feel the excitement that children feel around Christmas.
It was lovely to create a family story with the lightness of Christmas, whilst still tackling more serious issues that might affect Deaf and hearing children alike.
What's next for you?
I am currently working an exciting project. I can’t say too much at the moment but it’s a story which will look at what happens when a young Deaf woman starts losing the most precious thing she has, her sight.