Our Productions

Speechless



  • 1996
  • Channel 4

Short Stories Strand

Ben is a school boy whose stutter is so bad he won’t talk in class. The teachers now avoid asking him questions and the other kids have started bullying him. Now he refuses to go to school, his school work is suffering and although only still a boy, he already feels branded by society.

No one knows exactly what causes stuttering; genes, breathing problems and stress have all been blamed. But most researchers agree that for chronic stutterers there is no cure. Now McGuire has proved them wrong with a revolutionary therapy combining special diaphragmatic breathing exercises developed by an opera singer and basic psychology.

Most stutterers have very low self-esteem, breaking down these negative thoughts is a vital part of the treatment. “Stuttering is 70% psychological and 30% physical”, says McGuire, “having an extensive follow up programme adds to the psychological component of our course”. But most of McGuire’s followers believe it’s also his dogged determination to see them succeed that made the difference.

Often branded by both themselves and society as ‘misfits’, we get an insight into the debilitating world of the stutterer. Even the simplest task like catching a bus or buying a paper can turn into a nightmare. It’s a disability that drives some to suicide.

By the end of the film the stutterers face the biggest challenge of their lives – Speakers’ Corner. Amidst the political ranting and raving stands a group who are just happy to speak. Each one bravely tells of how they found their voice.

Publicity

“I was amazed at the courage shown by Ben and his fellow stammerers in talking in public in the street – something most of us with normal speech would dread” Margaret Wooder, Cornwall

“It is difficult not to be deeply moved, and when fourteen year old Ben has to introduce himself to fifty strangers in a busy high street, orders a cappuccino in a café and stands on a soapbox in a shopping mall – you’ll find yourself cheering him on from the edge of your seat. I certainly was” Radio Times

“Deeply moving; see this and you’ll never make stammering jokes again” Time Out

“This sensitive film follows David McGuire’s intensive four day course, aimed at helping stutterers” Daily Telegraph

Links

www.mcguireprogramme.com
www.stammering.org

Credits

  • Narrator:
    Jeremy Harding
  • Photography:
    John Davey
  • Music:
    David Poore
  • Editor:
    Jane Copland
  • Producer/Director:
    Jane-Marie Franklyn