Frank Gardner discusses his disability in documentary
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BBC weather star Elizabeth Rizzini feared Frank Gardner’s moving documentary may have “upset a few people”. The meteorologist featured in her boyfriend’s documentary about disability, titled Being Frank: The Frank Gardner Story, which aired on BBC Two in November 2020.
In the very personal film, the 60-year-old, who is a security correspondent for the network, talked candidly about the impact of his injuries, 16 years after being shot and partially paralysed by Al-Qaeda gunmen.
Frank was shot six times while reporting on terror activity in Saudi Arabia in 2004.
One of the bullets hit his spinal nerves leaving him partially paralysed in both legs.
The incident occurred when the British journalist was aged 43 and he has used a wheelchair ever since.
During the candid piece, Frank also shared an insight into his relationship with Elizabeth, who also made an appearance.
Speaking about the eye-opening programme, the weather star explained it was a difficult subject to “tackle”.
Elizabeth added that people were also surprised by the struggles that Frank faced regularly.
“People don’t think about what happens,” the forecaster began.
“I think [Frank] described it as an iceberg disability. To all extents and purposes, you can see he’s in a wheelchair but you don’t get all of the other stuff that’s also going on.”
She went on: “I’m not just talking about mental health – but also the hidden stuff.
“The pain he experiences everyday. The stoma. The difficulty in day-to-day life.”
The film showed the journalist changing his colostomy bag and catheter.
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Elizabeth added that despite the challenges Frank has faced he “gets on” with his life.
She remarked: “Things aren’t always accessible.
“I think the biggest illustration of that is actually the BBC lift. That was really quite powerful. I’m worried it upset a few people.”
During the show, Frank could be seen waiting to get in a lift in the studios but had to wait for several minutes as each time the doors opened it was packed with employees.
“He had such a massive response from people who had similar situations,” Elizabeth recalled.
“Frank is a security correspondent for the BBC. He is not a disability correspondent. People know very little about his disability until he chooses to talk about it. That was the chance to talk about it. He just gets on with it.”
Elizabeth is a weather presenter for BBC London, working alongside Kate Kinsella.
She has two children whom she shares with her former husband – the youngest of whom was born in 2014.
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