Joey: The Autobiography of Joey Deacon (1974) From BBC Series "Horizon"


Joey Deacon, born in 1920 with brain damage, grew up with severe cerebral palsy, unable to talk or walk. When, in 1928, his mother died, he was sent to an institution where he lived for years, quite unable to make himself understood. Then, in 1941, he met Ernie Roberts who had one remarkable skill – he could understand Joey. This led to a new and richer life, and this film tells Joey’s remarkable story. Based on Joey Deacon’s book “Tongue tied”.

Director: Michael Murphy.
Writers: Joey Deacon (book) (as Joseph Deacon), Brian Gibson & Elaine Morgan (dramatization).
Stars: Christopher Molesworth, John Prasher, Joey Deacon, Tony Robinson, Ernie Roberts, Anita Carey, Mark Wing-Davey, Janette Davies, Ella Milne, Jason Clark, Janet Davies, Pamela Craig, John Williams, Anthea Meadows, Doremy Vernon, Robert Longden, Colin Higgins, John Kearney, Daphne Hear, John Bardon, Ian Liston, Janette Legge, Dan Gillan, Margaret Ashcroft.


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  1. Jason Clark
    November 22, 2023

    I am Jason Clark, who played the role of Joey’s brother ‘Peter’ during his childhood. I was cast for the role when I was just 6 years old and was attending Anna Scher’s Children’s Theatre.
    I was fortunate enough to meet the real Joey Deacon whilst filming on location. It was truly an honour and a privilege to meet s9meone who was single handedly responsible for changing the opinions of general society, who at the time called sufferers of Cerebral Palsy ‘Spastics’ and for the most part considered them to be of a ‘sub standard’ intelligence level and as a rule looked down on such people. I can only say that thankfully society has for the most part, changed it’s perception of sufferers of Cerebral Palsy. And it was the work and success of Joey Deacon that was responsible for this change.
    Even though I was just six years old when the film was produced in 1974, I can clearly remember my time spent filming, and it was an experience that I shall remember with great fondness for the rest of my life. The film was a BAFTA award winning production and was shown all over the world.
    Although this wasn’t the only acting role for which I was cast, (I was also in ‘Pennies from Heaven’ as well as several BBC productions known as ‘A Play for Today’ and a production of ‘Oliver Twist’).
    But ‘Joey’ by BBC’s Horizon, was the most successful film, or television programme that I was fortunate enough to take part in.

  2. Kathy Moore
    May 3, 2024

    Jason, thank you so much for your post. It was so interesting to read about the background on Joey and the film itself. How exciting for you to be a part of something like that at such a young age. I just want to add that the way people with CP were treated back in the day, as you mentioned in your comments, it was the same here in the U.S. Thank goodness, things have changed!

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