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Channel 4's Paralympic Games coverage sets record for most disabled presenters

Channel 4 has revealed that Clare Balding and The Last Leg’s Adam Hills will lead the presenting team for its Rio 2016 Paralympic Games coverage.

As part of its ‘Year of Disability’ commitment to increase both on and off-screen representation of disabled people, the broadcaster’s line up will feature the largest number of disabled presenters seen together on UK television.

Almost two-thirds of the team will consist of disabled presenters such as Breaking Bad actor RJ Mitte, broadcaster Sophie Morgan and former marine commando JJ Chalmers.

They will be joined by presenters from Channel 4’s 2012 Paralympic Games coverage including British wheelchair basketball player Ade Adepitan and ex Royal Marine Arthur Williams. Rounding off the presenting team is Formula One presenter Lee McKenzie and former Olympic champion Jonathan Edwards.

Popular comedy talk show The Last Leg will be placed at the centre of Channel 4’s prime time schedule during the Games and will be filmed live in front of a studio audience at the Olympic Park in Rio.

Hills said: "From the day the London 2012 Paralympics ended, I've been in training for Rio. I've been working on writing better jokes, hosting as many shows as I can, linking to ad breaks as seamlessly as possible.

"It's been a long, hard road, of blood, sweat and tears - but now I'm ready to try to set a personal best at Rio."

Channel 4’s head of TV events and sport, Ed Havard, described its coverage of the Rio Paralympics as “one of the most ambitious live broadcasts in Channel 4’s history”.

“We’re not only delivering the most comprehensive and innovative coverage of the Games ever, but also bringing entertainment to the heart of the coverage by transporting the whole of The Last Leg production to Rio and broadcasting the show live from the Olympic Park,” said Havard.

He added: “We’ll be setting another record by bringing together the largest team of disabled on-screen and off-screen talent ever seen on UK television.”

Clare Balding said it was “a privilege to return to Channel 4 for the Paralympics and build on our Bafta award-winning legacy of the 2012 Games, which helped shift Para sport from the margins to the mainstream - and transform perceptions of disability”.

Channel 4’s coverage will include both opening and closing ceremonies as well as nearly 120 hours of live sport and a daily morning highlights show of the previous day’s action.