The stigma behind Britain’s low adult writing abilities is addressed in new Channel 4 series The Write Offs which starts tonight.
In a bid to transform the lives of eight adults aged between 22 and 66 years old, host Sandi Toksvig takes a group of them on a journey to improve their literacy. The adults are thought to have less than the basic skills needed for everyday situations, such as reading a text or using the Internet.
But who are the people taking on this new eye-opening challenge in the Channel 4 two-part series? We done some digging to find out more about The Write Offs cast members!
Meet Craig Cooper
Craig is a 31-year-old family man who enjoys gaming, anime and having a laugh. The father spent most of his lockdown making art, which is shown on his Instagram. He will star in The Write Offs to focus on his journey with dyslexia, where it is revealed he was fired from five jobs as he couldn’t fill in forms.
He spoke about The Write Offs and said: “If you know anyone who has dyslexia, or is dyslexic, there is a new programme coming out on tv that will show what it’s like to be dyslexic.”
Carol and Dean are mother and son
Carol, who also has a daughter that isn’t featured on the show, is Dean’s mum on the Channel 4 series. As Carol’s daughter is from Yorkshire, it is likely that she is from the same area and brought her children up there.
Paul McClean is in the Stroke Association charity advert
You might recognise Paul from the Stroke Association advert based on rebuilding lives. He had to relearn how to read and write following a stroke in 2016, and we see him going through this journey on The Write Offs.
Paul is an ambassador for the Stroke Association charity and calls himself a “creative chap with a beard”. He is an ex-teacher and former actor, and is now a father.
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Emily Dickenson’s journey on The Write Offs
Full time mother-of-two Emily is from Huddersfield, 23, has opened up about how she cried when she couldn’t read the signs at a train platform. It happened during a trip to London, which was the last time she left her home town by herself. On the show, she reveals how she wants to stop relying on her partner.
Emily, who has a six-year-old Leo and four-month-old daughter Elena can’t read to her son or read his school reports. She is the first to arrive at the restaurant during the 1st episode, where they are paired up and given reading maps and signs to get to the Peak District, where they cook up a feast with Sandi Toksvig.
Tommy Dawkins never cooked before the show
Great-grandad Tommy Dawkins, 67, from Stoke-on-Trent, had never cooked before because he was scared of it going wrong. He lives with his wife Jean, 63, and is a retired factory worker.
Once, Tommy bought superglue instead of leather cleaner to clean a stain on his car seat, and another time, he drove to Leicester instead of Leeds to see a match played by the football team he supports – Port Vale – however he missed the match.
He now has an MBE for giving talks about illiteracy. During the show, his main aim was to write a letter to all the people who have helped him during his journey.
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Meet Viv White
Mother-of-three Viv, 53, from South London, struggles with dyslexia. She works in kitchens and has tried not to do jobs that involve reading and writing. Viv grew up in a household with 12 people, and she admits she didn’t go to school as much as she should have. During an interview with the i paper, she said:
I’ve learned I’m not alone when dealing with dyslexia. When people struggle to read, people just need help and patience. Now as I learn to read and write, I can feel my self-esteem coming back.
Benny stars on The Write Offs
While some of the other Channel 4 stars have spoken publicly about their appearances on The Write Offs, Benny could not be found on social media.
We can’t wait to watch the group of eight on their The Write Offs journey!
WATCH THE WRITE OFFS ON CHANNEL 4 AT 9.30PM EVERY TUESDAY