Deaf Dramas To Become A Success On TV?

Deaf awareness week is now over, but the issues surrounding deaf people are not. Britain is now slowly warming to subtitles at the bottom of the screen. So is it now time for drama’s in sign language? For deaf people, the recent influx of foreign drama has been great news. They are screened in their original language with good quality “open” subtitles rather than via a button on your remote control. In comparison to regular subtitle service, which is often criticised as poor (and sometimes missing altogether) by deaf people.

Early sign language drama’s in the UK often featured mostly deaf actors, was mostly signed and had little spoken dialogue. They appealed to a core deaf audience who wanted to see themselves represented on screen in the same way as hearing people. BBC Drama commissioner Ben Stephenson tells See Hear that there is no barrier to a drama being made in British Sign Language (BSL), as long as the script is good enough. He says:

“If someone came with a script like that and it was really good, I think we would probably leap up and down with excitement, because it’s really hard to find great scripts.”

More recent drama’s for deaf people has a 50:50 balance of speaking and signing, a good soundtrack and a mix of deaf and hearing actors. It appeals to a much wider audience as a result. Making sign language and deafness part of the story, but not the whole story, which is said to be the key to deaf drama’s future success.

Here at More Than Mobility we think that with a good balanced script, deaf dramas could most definitely be a hit!

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