DAN and Then Barbara met Alan

DAN and Then Barbara met Alan
Barbara Lisicki and Alan Holdsworth aka Johnny Crescendo Picture by Kate Green/Getty

The drama shown on BBC on Monday 21st March 2022 was a wonderful piece of drama, but we must keep in mind it was just that a work based  on events that really took place they just probably did not happen exactly as portrayed in this programme.

A prime example of this is if you take the drama at face value then you would be forgiven for believing Barbara was single-handedly responsible for getting the Disability Discrimination Act through parliament, Barbara is a wonderful woman, she is not however Wonder Woman as she herself would be the first to acknowledge. The passing of the DDA  and all DAN achieved was a combination of hard work and effort of many disabled activists over a long period of time.

Similarly, the character Billy was not a real person, he was a mash up of a number of people who gave and continue to give their lives, so disabled citizens can gain their rightful place in society. So we can live the lives we chose, not the lives chosen for us.

Here is my humble tribute to Barbara and Alan and all those who fought and fight for civil equal rights for disabled and disadvantaged people in society.

The poem I wrote here is based on the programme, not true events. I did not join Direct Action Network (DAN) until after events depicted in this programme had pasted.

Barbara and Alan

Alan was the arrow, Barbara was the archer

Alan was the bullet, Barbara was the shooter

Each one is essential for the other if we are to hit our target

Bullseye was/is the cry, as we follow/ed their trajectory,

achieve our ultimate goals of choices and rights

Alan was our warrior, Barbara was our leader

Alan was our main man, Barbara designed our golden plan

The gains we achieve today are built on

The foundations pioneers like them set yesterday

Tomorrow we will sit on the shoulders of folk

Like Barbara Lisicki and Alan Holdsworth

aka Johnny Crescendo

It proved impossible for them to work as a couple

It proved important to us they worked well as a partnership

Imagined what our world might look life

If Barbara had never met Alan

This poem also came from watch the programme and reflecting on the commitment sacrifice DANNERS have made for our cause civil rights not hand outs.


Dan took to the streets to fight for our civil and human rights

Give us choices today and tomorrow

Back then we had little option, but to stand and sit proud

Shout out loud to gain our freedom

Freedom to break the chains that bind us

Freedom to leave the cells that imprison us

Freedom to create and live in our own communities

DAN is the name of our people

Who brought our plight into plain sight

Bringing disabled people into the public eye

With their handcuffs and chains,

they barricaded buses and trains

The journey to freedom is far from being completed

Because of DAN at least we can now travel

Like passengers and not livestock

Without DAN we might still be treated like parcels not people

Addressed, labelled sent on our way

Hopeful of reaching our correct destination

If you will allow me a little self indulgence here is a poem about what discovering DAN meant to me I called it Awakening


I remember the night I truly connected to

The Disabled Peoples’ Movement

Sitting in an audience listening and watching

Ian Stanton and Johnny Crescendo perform on stage

It was an instant awakening, I became a born-again activist

I discovered other disabled people

who saw the world from my perspective

people who did not just talk about making changes

they were willing and able to take direct action

to bring about those changes

From that day to this I have worked to create and achieve

a better way of life, where disabled and

disadvantaged people do not need to struggle to survive

in a poorly designed society

I cannot do this on my own, as the saying goes

“If you want to go fast go alone,

if you want to go far go together”

I will forever be grateful to Alan and Ian for

Opening my eyes to a world of

Positive possibilities and Dangerous opportunities

They gave me the vision to explore the vast seas

The tools and skills to build the boat in which I sail

The final poem for this post is a dedication an tribute to my inspirational comrade and friend Liz Carr who was seen in "Then Barbara met Alan"

Our Liz

Liz will always be our Carr, even though

she is a multi-media juggernaut these days

Liz is our majestic because she has always been

A Royal pain in the arse to the ruling-class

Our Liz Carr is a real vehicle for social change

Through social justice

Our Liz Carr has always been good for

The environment, she has always been all electric

She has always been up for leading the wheelchair waltz

Across the streets of old London town, leading the

Metropolitan Police in a merry dance

This London woman is not afraid to mix it in the sticks

A true advocate for living, both living life & experiencing life

This campaigner held the barricades

Long before appearing in Les Miserables on our telly screen

This talented actress whether on the stage,

on the small screen, on the big screen,

has never lost sight of the bigger picture

that every citizen has the right to

A better life with all that entails

It is only right that the last word should go to Barbara as she said in the final scene of Then Barbara Met Alan - the fight for civil rights is far from over. So watch the streets of Britain, watch this space!