David Proud

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David Proud
Born (1983-03-14) 14 March 1983 (age 34)
Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 2007–present
Spouse(s) Amy Joy (m. 2016)
Website http://www.davidproud.co.uk

David Proud (born 14 March 1983) is an English actor. He was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. He only began his acting career during his early twenties, having previously believed that it would be impossible for him to have a career in that field. His first professional acting role was as a wheelchair basketball player in the children's TV series Desperados. He has since appeared in three independent films.

Proud has received critical praise for his comic acting ability. In June 2009 it was announced that he will become the first disabled actor to play a regular disabled part in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. He plays the character Adam Best, son of Manda Best, in April 2010 it was announced that the character had been axed by Bryan Kirkwood.[1] In 2011 made his writing debut with a short film "Wheels of Fortune" in which he co wrote and co starred with his close friend Jason Maza[2]

In 2011 Proud was granted the Freedom of the City of London due to his work with several charities.[3]

Proud was named in the Shaw Trust Power 100 as one of the 100 most influential people with a disability for 2015.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Proud was born with spina bifida, which was diagnosed when he was five years old. He was able to walk with the use of plastic leg splints and participate in most activities, and attended a mainstream primary school. During secondary school he required the use of a wheelchair but refused to transfer to a special school. He took time off for two major operations on his spine. He passed nine subjects at GCSE and two A levels at grade D.[5] He studied theatre at A level and was involved with school productions.[6] He wanted to take drama at university but did not believe it would be a viable career so worked as a benefits administrator for four and a half years. He then obtained his first professional acting role in the children's television series Desperados.[5]

Obtaining the grades he did in his educational qualifications, in spite of the difficulties caused by his health problems, has been described by Proud as "one of [his] proudest achievements".[5] He has written for Inclusion Now, the magazine of the Alliance for Inclusive Education, describing his attitude to his disability: "Being told that I can't do something seems to make me more and more determined".[5] Although he has described roles calling for disabled actors as his "niche", Proud has expressed hopes that as disabled actors enter the mainstream, they will receive roles where "the wheelchair isn't relevant to the character", and that they will be able to compete for 'regular' roles.[7]

Outside of acting, Proud is studying for a degree in psychology through distance learning with the Open University.[5] He has also collaborated with Jason Maza on writing the script for a new film project.[7] He is a patron for the Association of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus and launched their Fit For Success scheme.[8]



Proud was picked by BBC producer Ewan Marshall to play one of the leads in the 2007 CBBC series Desperados, a children's drama starring the paralympic wheelchair basketball player Ade Adepitan. As Proud had not had any drama training since leaving school, the BBC sent him for coaching to prepare him for television work. In the series he played Charlie Johnson, a mixed-up teenager—although Proud was 23 at the time—dealing with the impact of becoming paralysed by a spinal injury suffered during a school football match. Charlie enters the world of wheelchair basketball after being persuaded to join the "Desperados" team by their coach, Baggy Awolowo (Adepitan).[6][9]

Since Desperados, Proud went on to be involved in various other projects.[5][7] He co-presented an episode of the BBC Three documentary series Mischief, "Is it cos I is Black", in 2007. He appeared as the character Blake in the second series of ITV's Secret Diary of a Call Girl in 2008.[10]

He played Adam Best, the son of Josie Lawrence's character Manda Best, in the BBC One soap opera, EastEnders from 2009 to 2010. The show's executive producer, Diederick Santer, described Proud as, "a fine young actor with a wonderfully dry comic delivery". The BBC stated that this is the first instance of a visibly disabled, regular character on the show being played by a disabled actor.[11]

In 2012, Proud appeared in the BBC drama Doctors, and alongside Eddie Marsan and Rob Brydon in the BBC drama Best of Men. In 2014, Proud appeared in the BBC Three sitcom Siblings. In 2015, he appeared in Paul Abbott's Channel 4 comedy drama No Offence.[10]


Proud has worked with British independent film director and producer Justin Edgar on three films. He played Scott, a geeky paraplegic who makes a behind-the-scenes documentary following a group of other disabled film students, in the 2007 feature film Special People.[12][13] Proud played Holocaust victim Ernst in the 2008 short Hunger House.[14] In 2012 he also appeared in "NFA - No Fixed Abode" starring Patrick Baladi.[2] View London's film critic Matthew Turner viewed Proud's performance in Special People positively, praising his "great comic timing and a winning way with a one-liner."[13] Proud has enjoyed his film work, stating that "small British independent films are possibly the best thing you can do as an actor".[15]

In 2014, Proud filmed (in his words) "a game changing film" and "a British Film making first": as a disabled actor he took the role of a non-disabled character in a lead role on the UK feature film iWitness. He was also one of the producers of the film, which was the first time he had produced at a feature film level.[16]


  1. ^ a b Profile and news archive for David Proud] on the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Official Website, David Proud's Website]
  3. ^ "Shaw Trust Top 100 Power list". 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Proud, David (2008). "Acting on Inclusion (Inclusion Now Articles Volume 20)". Alliance for Inclusive Education. Archived from the original on 8 April 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Adams-Spink, Geoff (31 January 2007). "Disability drama breaks new ground". BBC News Online. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c Turner, Matthew. "Sasha Hardway Interview". View London. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  7. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (30 September 2009). "David Proud "touched" by fan support". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Adepitan, Ade (5 February 2007). "Wheely Good TV". London 2012. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  9. ^ a b "David Proud". IMDb.com. Retrieved 17 July 2009. 
  10. ^ Green, Kris (4 June 2009). "First disabled adult role for 'Enders". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  11. ^ Papamichael, Stella. "Special People". channel4.com. Archived from the original on 9 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  12. ^ a b Turner, Matthew (20 November 2008). "Special People". View London. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2009. 
  13. ^ "Hunger House". IMDb.com. Retrieved 9 June 2009. 
  14. ^ Reay, Cathy (August 2009). "Pride of the Square". Disability Now. Archived from the original on 28 August 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2009. 
  15. ^ "Screen Daily iWitness". 

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