Me and My Brother – a documentary to make us think

Does anyone remember Jeff Brazier? He’s probably best known for being Jade Goody‘s ex, but may now achieve more notoriety for the documentary, Me and My Brother, in which Jeff attempts to change the life of his brother, 24-year-old Spencer, who has cerebral palsy.

Me and My Brother - Jeff Brazier - image - inspiremagazineuk.wordpress.com

Spencer’s mental ability and IQ are unaffected, but he has limited use of his hands and difficulty communicating with those who don’t know him. Jeff’s aim was to make his brother more independent, thus releasing him from the restricted life he had come to lead at home, spending all day alone with his mum who he relied on.

But it certainly wasn’t an easy ride, for either of the brothers, with hostility and emotions running high and Jeff often was pushing Spencer in the wrong way.

I understand what Jeff was trying to do, and in that situation, where Spencer was often resistant to accept help, it can’t have been easy. However, there was a real sense that Spencer was only reluctant to step outside of his comfort zone because of how he had been made to focus on his disability, leading him to feel frustrated.

Yes, he does have some physical limitations, but that’s not who he is. Because of his disability, those around him assume he’s sad, lonely and incapable of living a full life. But in the week he was left alone while his mum went on holiday he excelled in living independently. Spencer just wants to be able to do things in his own time, on his own terms, and achieve for himself.

Eventually the process enabled Jeff and his family to step back and realise that Spencer has aspirations and dreams of his own, which he can achieve by himself, with a little love a support. Lets hope this message translates into wider society.

You can still watch Me and My Brother on BBC iPlayer.

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December 19, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Entertainment.

8 Comments

  1. Emma MT replied:

    I was at a surprise party for Stacey Solloman on Saturday night and Spencer was there. He looked fab was surrounded by loads of gorgeous girls and seemed to be having a great time. I don’t think there’s much that can hold him back now! Go for it Spence! You’re an inspiration

    • lizransome replied:

      Brilliant! I was wondering what celeb party Spencer and Jeff had been to during the programme. I hope Spencer and the documentary help to dispelled the notion that people with disabilities are unable to do “normal” things and party like everyone else.

  2. Jan replied:

    “Spencer just wants to be able to do things in his own time, on his own terms, and achieve for himself.”

    Great analysis and quote! The key is just that, that Spencer decides about his life ‘on his own terms’ and his own comfort level, not someone elses!

    You gave a great review of this documentary, which I hope to get the chance to see. Nevertheless, I can understand some of Jeff’s way of thinking as well. From the few things that I’ve read regarding this doc before I’ve actually seen it, Spencer in many ways doesn’t see himself as disabled….and I think to many non-disabled people, that’s hard to understand, and can be a bit of a complex issue.

    I do hope regardless of the opinions of both Jeff and Spencer, that the doc at least helped both of them to see each others point of view and most importantly, to have some peace with each others differences of opinions!

    The thing that is most frustrating for disabled people, is the big misconception that disabled people don’t want to have fun and do all of the same things as everyone else does: socialize, drink, date, marriage, kids, sex, work, travel, etc.

    Enjoyed the review Liz, thanks! 🙂

    • lizransome replied:

      Thank you, I really appreciate your comments. I hope that one day people with disabilities will be seen in the same way as people without, their disabilities won’t be an issue, everyone will be equal and regarded with the same respect. And we’re getting there, slowly but surely!

  3. Anne Carignan replied:

    Very inspiring documentary! Nice post, keep it up!

  4. Review of “Jeff Brazier: Me and My Brother” | Indigo Jo Blogs replied:

    […] I just finished watching this programme on iPlayer; it features a BBC presenter named Jeff Brazier trying to bully his younger brother Spencer, who has cerebral palsy, to make something of his life and cut the apron strings with his mother. At the start, Spencer had almost everything done for him by mother Jeanette, including washing and, apparently, dressing, and spent most of his time sitting in front of the computer playing games. The programme was focussed on the celebrity brother, however, who did most of the talking (by necessity), and so everything had to be seen to be done by him. And it didn’t work. (More: Inspire Blog.) […]

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