16 BSL on Television

English Notes
BSL Video

BSL on Television

During the past twenty five years there have been some programmes using sign language on all channels of national television. In addition, some regional independent channels regularly broadcast interpreted news and occasionally broadcast special programmes. Deaf interpreters are used by some television companies.

Among the main programmes are:

SEE HEAR!: (BBC1 - 30 mins) This is a news and information programme primarily for Deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers. It is shown on a weekday and repeated on Tuesdays in the Deaf Zone.  The content includes: entertainment (particularly the Christmas show), reports, discussions, events and personalities. The programme is presented in BSL, with subtitles and spoken English translation.

Early morning signed news is currently shown on television (BBC 24, SKY News, etc).

SIGN ON: (Channel 4). Until 1996, Tyne Tees produced a current affairs series for Channel 4.   The programme topics included: education, telecommunications, equal rights, law and involvement in politics, young Deaf people, and BSL.

In 1997, Sign On was replaced by a series of deaf children's programmes called 'The Vibe'. After three or four series, it was succeeded by ‘VEE TV’ which was aimed at young deaf people.

Apart from these programmes, Deaf people can press 888 on Teletext to get subtitles for a large number of television programmes. For most programmes the subtitles change rapidly because of the speed of speech, but they do make it possible for some Deaf viewers to follow the thread of regular programmes.

With Digital TV, Deaf people can easily turn the subtitle option on and it will display subtitles. A large number of programmes are now subtitled as a result of the Communications Act (2003).



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