Viewers watching Channel 4’s The Last Leg were treated to an unexpectedly powerful moment from co-presenter Alex Brooker.
Two of the three presenters of the show have a disability and it is being broadcast live from Rio during the Paralympic Games.
Last night Brooker, who was born with hand and arm deformities and wears a prosthetic leg, was asked about Alex Zanardi.
Zanardi is a former Formula 1 driver who lost both legs and nearly died in a motor crash. Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of the crash and in the last two days the Italian has won gold and bronze medals for handcycling at the Games.
Brooker started to talk about what Zanardi meant to him and the poignancy of his tribute stopped viewers in their tracks.
“I’ve been disabled all my life and I’ve complained about it when I wanted. And I come on here now and I’m celebrating my disability and I’m confident. But I’ll never fully be completely ok with it.
“And people at home will watch the Paralympic Games and able-bodied people will be inspired by it.
“But as a disabled man, he inspires me. I’ve overcome a lot of issues with my disability over the years and as I move into later life I’ve got new ones. I wonder how I'll cope when I have a child, how I'll hold my child for the first time. These are the things that I think about and I worry about.
“To see somebody like that talk the way he does, to me it means the world.
“It inspires me and makes me proud to be disabled and that epitomises the Paralympic Games.”
Brooker had tears in his eyes as the audience reacted to his speech with thunderous applause.
Viewers also praised the presenter for his honesty.
The Last Leg has again been a triumph during these Games. @alex_brooker's unexpectedly poignant tribute to the great Zanardi a case in point— Owen Gibson (@owen_g) September 15, 2016
— Sylvia Lynch (@SylviaLynch) September 15, 2016
Brooker later tweeted to thank people for the overwhelming reaction to his speech.
Thankyou for the nice comments about tonight's @TheLastLeg. Will be gutted when the Paralympics are finished.— Alex Brooker (@alex_brooker) September 15, 2016