Press release: Doctor Who fanatic launches mission

Living Paintings

Press release: Doctor Who fanatic launches mission to bring the Time Lord’s adventures to blind people

23rd June 2021

Louis sitting on a chair in front of a Doctor Who poster and holding a tactile picture.

Louis is aiming to raise £15,000

Louis, from Bradford, has been blind since he was 18 months old. Now aged 19, and about to finish his first year at University, Louis has teamed up with Berkshire based national charity Living Paintings to bring the iconic imagery of Doctor Who to life for people living with sight loss. “I’m a big fan of the show Doctor Who, but I have yet to really meet the weird and wonderful characters, aliens, monsters and devices from the show because I can’t see them.  I asked Living Paintings to help and they said ‘yes’.  Together we aim to produce a series of tactile and audio books that will let me see in my own way, images of the different Doctors, Daleks, the Tardis and so much more”.

Times are tough and the charity, which offers a free postal library of Touch to See books currently benefiting 2,000 blind children across the UK, don’t have the funds to implement this project, so inspirational Louis today launches a fundraising campaign to make his dream a reality.

Liz Davies, Publishing Manager at Living Paintings said of the project:

“To have the possibility of creating the world’s only tactile and audio book series about Doctor Who for blind people is incredibly exciting and so we are delighted that the people at Doctor Who have given us permission to create 3 Touch to See books. The universe of Doctor Who is an immensely visual extravaganza that we will capture and share with blind people. Through evocative tactile pictures coupled with atmospheric and descriptive audio guides, plus music and sound effects – we’ll bring the spectacle of Doctor Who to life, hopefully with a little help from some of the Doctors, their companions and adversaries too!”

Derek Jacobi reading in studio

Sir Derek Jacobi is supporting Louis

Louis’ efforts are supported by previous Doctor Who Master, Sir Derek Jacobi:

“Louis’ idea is excellent! Having portrayed The Master, in the wonderful TV series Doctor Who, I love the idea of blind and partially sighted children and young people being able to enjoy the visual spectacle of the show just as sighted people do.”

Living Paintings’ Chief Executive, Camilla Oldland says:

“I’ve had the honour of watching Louis grow up with our special Touch to See books and it touches my heart to know what a difference our work has made in helping him to become the inspirational young man he is today.

This will be the most amazing project but what is so special about it is that Louis has taken on this incredible challenge to raise the money to make it possible. Even more incredible is that this isn’t just for him – he wants other blind people to benefit too and we can make that happen through our free postal library.  We are proud to have Louis as our friend and here’s to him raising the money we need.”

A young man feeling a tactile picture of Paddington

Close your eyes and now imagine you can’t open them again – this is how it is

Louis on his love of Doctor Who and his visual impairment:

“If I could sum up what I think is the most important thing about my campaign I would ask a sighted person to just imagine – close your eyes and now imagine you can’t open them again.  This is how it is and now you want to read a book or watch Doctor Who. How are you going to do that? How important is reading a book to you?  As a sighted person how would you feel if that was taken away from you and you couldn’t read anymore?

Then you discover Living Paintings and the books are full of characters you’ve heard about and imagined all the time, they’ve been on TV, you’ve listened to the audio books, you may have had the books read to you and you never quite understood what they looked like and now, because of Living Paintings you do.”

On hearing Louis’ wonderful idea, Living Painting sprung in to action, gaining appropriate permission form the BBC to proceed with the project, planning for not one book but three; each featuring tactile images of The Doctor in various incarnations along with many other characters (like the Daleks) from the cult TV show. The books will be accompanied by an audio soundtrack for which they hope to enlist the help of one or more of the fabulous actors to take on the iconic role since the programme first launched in 1963.

Louis goes on to say:

“Doctor Who has such a long history of being a family show and Living Paintings is all about family which is why I thought the two would go well together.

The books will help blind people really meet the amazing characters and bring them to life. The books will help us open our eyes.”

Louis is raising the money via a Crowdfunder campaign.

Read more about Louis’s story, his experience as a blind person and as a member of Living Paintings library here.

Watch Louis’s campaign video here.

Notes to editors:

A close friend of Living Paintings for over 20 years, Sir Derek Jacobi has lent his voice to many Touch to See books, giving his support to our campaigns. Sir Derek’s voice can be heard on the audio accompaniments for our Theatre Book for Blind Teenagers, our Key Stage 2 History range for children, picture books and our art collections, garden and city tours for adults, amongst many others.

Living Paintings was founded in 1989 by former art history lecturer, Alison Oldland, MBE, who remained its active Chairman until her death in 2008.  Her daughter, Camilla, has led the charity for over 30 years and continues to uphold her mother’s vision for the charity and develop it to meet changing needs.

Living Paintings national charity is a publisher with a purpose. Our aim is to transform the lives of blind and partially sighted children, young people and adults by providing them with equal access to the visual world of pictures, books and learning.  Our purpose is to put their life chances on an equal footing with the sighted people around them.  To achieve this we design, create and publish multi-media, Touch to See books for all ages that provide unique access to the images that colour and inform all our lives. These include raised tactile pictures accompanied by atmospheric, educational and entertaining audio guides. The audio guides, often narrated by famous people, help fingers explore the tactile images, tell the stories of the pictures and describe their features. In this way, the senses of touch and hearing combine to create a different way of seeing. By including colour images of the topics, our books can be shared with sighted friends, family and classmates.

Our unique Touch to See books help blind children learn to read, support students in school, inspire lifelong learning and promote social interaction and positive well-being.  They are provided completely free of charge from our postal library so all visually impaired people across the UK, no matter where they live or their financial circumstances, can borrow them and gain a feel for the visual world.

Around 2,000 blind and partially sighted children currently benefit from Living Paintings library. Membership of the library is free and there are thousands of books available for borrowing by all ages, families, teachers, and carers.

Library membership can begin at pre-school age and continue through school to teenage years and on into adulthood.  Living Paintings helps at all stages of life.

A survey of child library members conducted in 2020 revealed that 99% of them have improved confidence and interest in learning thanks to Living Paintings and 98% of them experienced increased confidence in reading.

The charity is funded entirely by voluntary donations.  Its work is achieved with the help of hundreds of volunteers. These include many well-known names such as Sir Derek Jacobi, Lord Julian Fellowes, Joanna Lumley, Michael Sheen, Martin Clunes, David Walliams, Hugh Bonneville, ESA Astronaut Tim Peake, Bill Bailey, Sir Robert Winston, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Pearl Mackie and Warwick Davies who have all lent their voices to the audio descriptions.

Doctor Who is a British science fiction television programme broadcast by BBC One since 1963. The programme depicts the adventures of a Time Lord called “the Doctor”, an extraterrestrial being who appears to be human. The Doctor explores the universe in a time-travelling space ship called the TARDIS. Its exterior appears as a blue British police box, which was a common sight in Britain in 1963 when the series first aired. With various companions, the Doctor combats foes, works to save civilisations and helps people in need.

For further information about Living Paintings and the service they provide please contact Camilla Oldland, Chief Executive on 01635 299771, or David Beal, Trusts and Foundations Manager at or on 07305397446.

A mobile phone sitting on a wooden table top and wrapped in earphones displays the Living Paintings website.


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