Taika Waititi's Time Bandits under fire for lack of representation in cast

Taika Waititi's upcoming Time Bandits Apple TV series is being criticised by the granddaughter of one of the original film's actors and disability rights campaigners.

The 10-part series which has been shooting in Wellington is being admonished for its casting choices.

Abby Purvis is the 22-year-old granddaughter of Jack Purvis, who played Wally in the 1981 sci-fi film. 

On TikTok she has claimed the casting of the new show - which includes Lisa Kudrow from Friends - was "tarnishing" her grandfather's legacy by not using any people of short stature in the series.

She said is "hoping a miracle happens".

"My voice will probably never be heard because I'm simply just a girl in the middle of Scotland saying what needs to be said," said Purvis.

"This was a film that changed the times and it was ahead of the times, to be honest, because people like me weren't treated the same as they are now.

"For a generation that is so big on talking about inclusivity and diversity and making sure that everyone's heard, this whole casting choice is just absurd.

"Please can someone answer me? Can you tell me why you're tarnishing, not only my late grandfather's legacy, but the other short actors in that film... just because it doesn't fit your normality." 

She also posted footage of her grandfather as Wally in the film.

Support for Purvis was strong in the comments, with many tagging in Waititi.

So far, he has not responded online.

"I can't believe this decision. I met your grandad and Kenny baker when I was young. They were lovely guys," one said.

"Diversity includes disability - and people tend to forget about us. Thank you so much for talking about this!" another said.

Bethany Bale, the policy and campaigns officer at Disability Rights UK, told Newsweek it seemed the series was deliberately excluding disabled people.

"There's a common phrase used in disability rights campaigning - 'Nothing about us without us' - to highlight the importance of disabled representation across all areas.

"However, what seems to be happening is that what was once a story that centred a group of disabled individuals is now a story that has chosen to deliberately exclude disabled actors."

The named cast so far for the series includes Lisa Kudrow, Charlyne Yi, Tadhg Murphy, Roger Jean Nsengiyumva, Rune Temte, Kiera Thompson and Rachel House, who will all be series regulars. None of them match the "short stature" description.