‘Simply not good enough’ Channel 4 savaged as subtitles won’t return until November

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The channel’s subtitles, signing and audio description has been removed due to a fault which has now lasted for three weeks. Ofcom has received more than 500 complaints as deaf, hard of hearing and visually impaired viewers have to go without being able to enjoy Channel 4 shows. Now, the organisation has spoken out after the announcement access to such services may not return until mid-November.

Mike Hobday, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said: “It is simply not good enough that Channel 4 has said they will not solve the subtitling issues until at least mid-November.

“This is almost two months. If there was no sound on TV, there would be a huge outcry.

“Channel 4 have been celebrated as champions for disability, but they are now failing deaf young people who simply want to watch TV with their friends and family.

“The delay in resolving this problem is completely unacceptable.

“Ofcom must now take strong regulatory action.”

It comes as Chanel 4 announced to its 992,000 Twitter followers on Monday the serious technical issue was ongoing.

It read: “As you may already know we’re still experiencing problems from a serious technical issue and we’re really sorry that not all our systems are working properly yet.”

In an update on Tuesday, Channel 4 assured viewers the issue is being worked on.

It said its “engineers have been working around the clock to find out what went wrong and how we can fix it”.

It continued: “Unfortunately, at the moment we cannot provide audio description or sign language services at all.

“These services were irretrievably lost during the incident and we won’t be able to restore them until we move to the new system we are building.”

Taking to Twitter, Saint Hels Bels commented: “I’m so disappointed with @Channel4 as a hard of hearing household we rely on #Subtitles & feel completely ostracised. I thought C4 was all about inclusivity?”

The Second Hand Shop asked: “Mid November? Really? It’s not just Channel 4, it’s all channels that are connected to @Channel4.

“What’s going to happen to all the programmes that we’ve missed #deaf.”

Nigel Marriott echoed this, writing: “As someone who depends on subtitles, this failure by Channel 4 is just mind-boggling.

“Why can’t they get an auto-subtitler as an interim measure?”

Vinchenzo55 penned: “#FPBE @Vinchenzo55 @Channel4 #Subtitles statement “We cannot rush this…Something like this needs to be installed slowly to ensure our channels don’t come off air”.

“For deaf people, your channels have already come of air. If #Deaf people were in the majority, it would have been fixed by now.”

“Absolutely shocking.. I hope @Channel4 will be able to have all the shows we have missed on @All4 with subtitles so we can catch up?!?” Charlotte argued.

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