David Proud 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. David made history becoming the first regular disabled cast member in the BBC One continuing drama EastEnders.
David was born with spina bifida, although it was not conclusively diagnosed until he was five years old. He attended a mainstream primary school and was able to walk and participate in most activities, although he needed plastic leg splints. His condition deteriorated as he grew older and during secondary school he began to need to use a wheelchair. However, he refused to transfer to a special school and continued attending his local secondary school. Despite needing to take time off for two major operations to his spine, David passed nine subjects at GCSE, and passed two A levels at grade D.
David 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 David 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 David 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).
Since Desperados, David has obtained the services of a mainstream agent and has gone on to be involved in various other projects. 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. David is most well known for his character Adam Best in BBC One EastEnders. In 2012 David appeared in The Whitby Davison production of Best of Men, a BBC drama about the life of Dr Ludwig Guttmann set in 1945. He also appeared as guest Lead in BBC Doctors.
David 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. He played Graeme in NFA (No fixed Abde) starring Patrick Balladi. David played Holocaust victim Ernst in the 2008 short Hunger House. He also spends time working with 104 Films behind the camera gaining experience in Producing, he has been involved in the filming of Sex Drugs and Rock and Roll and We are the Freaks.
Writing has become a major part of David's work as his debut play FriendZone was featured in Rikki Beadle Blair's new writters festival at the Theatre Royal Stratford East in 2012. A segment of a play David is co developing called Reconcilled with Genevieve Barr attracted critical praise at a performance at the Waterloo East Theatre in 2012 with critics praising Proud for his "chilling sensitivity" in the gritty Thriller. David has written and produced a BFI funded short film called Wheels of Fortune which was shown at the 2012 Cannes International Film Festival and other festivals arround the world. David is currently developing various projects for both stage and screen.
In 2011 David was invited to recieve the Freedom of the City of London due to his work with several charities.
When not working David plays GBWBA National League Basketball and describes himself as the biggest film geek in the world.