Baby Charlotte

Baby Charlotte

The first time she pulled herself up by her hands was the last time Charlotte Cleverley-Bisman would ever use her limbs.

Charlotte became the unwitting national face of meningococcal B when she lost her legs and arms to the disease. This hour-long documentary charts the path of the Waiheke Island tot since her discharge from hospital.

Her courage and ingenious adaptation to a life without limbs is captured in this acutely personal portrayal of Charlotte and her family.

Charlotte’s parents – Pam Cleverley and Perry Bisman – have endured every worst nightmare in the year since their daughter became a quadruple amputee. Baby Charlotte illustrates their hopes, their fears and the monstrous changes to their lives since their daughter succumbed to this deadly disease.

Until she became ill at seven months, Charlotte had enjoyed robust good health. But within hours of the first tell-tale signs of a meningitis-type rash appearing on her skin, she was dangerously ill. In the end, amputation saved her.

Charlotte astonishes and inspires those who come into her orbit. Her achievements and frustrations, along with those of her family, are conveyed in this story of a child who is already on to her fourth set of artificial legs – and not yet two years old.

Baby Charlotte is a timely and intimate illustration of the meningitis debate.  The sequel to Baby Charlotte followed Charlotte in  Charlotte: A Life Without Limbs and Charlotte: My Story which screened in 2013.


Promotional Trailer

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Production Details

Year of screening: 2005

Producer: Cass Avery

Exec producer: Andrea Lamb

Network exec: Sue Woodfield

Director: Karen Mackenzie

Researcher/Editorial Consultant: Geraldine Johns

Writers: Karen Mackenzie, Cass Avery

Online Editor: Andrew Mortimer

Offline Editor: Margot Francis

Production manager: Lornelle Henry

Production coordinator: Karen Bunting

Camera: Mike Monten

Additional Camera: Peter Mayo, Murray Milne

Sound: Terry King, Jan McKinley, Eugene Arts, Dave Madigan, Andy Thomas, Ant Nevison

Narrator: Hillary Barry

Music: "Song for Baby Charlotte" written & performed by Ben Kara

Graphics: Blair Walker

Production accountant: Liz Goddard

Financial Controller: Glenda Paterson

Funded by:  NZ On Air & TV3