In April 2023, Channel 4 aired a reality TV show called Scared of the Dark. Eight celebrities are locked into a bunker with no light for 180 hours. This post explores Scared of the Dark from a blind perspective.
On hearing about the show, I was concerned about how this may exaggerate preconceptions of blindness and generally make the public more scared and pity the blind more.
As each celebrity entered the bunker, they had to locate their belongings in a dark room. Chris McCausland (a blind comedian) was one of the celebrities, and I believe the only one to find all his belongings.
As the show progressed, it became clear that the group began to depend on Chris for day-to-day activities, like finding the kitchen. All sighted participants really struggled with the fear of not seeing what is around you.
It was interesting as some participants realised that they had stopped negative talk to themselves about how they physically look. From my experience of the blind community, I would say most of us still care about how we look and depend on services like Be My Eyes and Aira to check our appearance.
There were tasks during the stay, with the winner getting time in a light room. It was interesting to see how participants instantly returned to using their eyes and forgot that Chris needed the support he had been providing them while in the dark.
The programme did highlight many fears people have about blindness; it also demonstrated the emotional toll of losing sight. This was particularly evident in how Chris held back his emotions while discussing his journey with participants. I personally found that Chris going from being dependant on others, to being the one that others depended on and back again quite emotional. There is so much of my life as a blind person that I am dependant on others, reducing my feeling of value and worth.
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