Whatever happened to… Film 4 outdoor screenings at Somerset House?

Image courtesy of www.wonderlandmagazine.com
Image courtesy of http://www.wonderlandmagazine.com

Those with a long memory will remember from two years ago when NDCS campaigns made a fuss about the lack of subtitles in the outdoor screenings for the prestigious Film 4 outdoor screenings at Somerset House. This followed a complaint to NDCS by a deaf young girl and her parents. So whatever happened next?

Well, sadly, not a huge amount. We met with Channel 4 earlier in the year who explained that they’ve still not been able to find a way to show films with subtitles. Part of the problem is apparently that Film 4 show lots of ancient films for which a subtitled version has never been made. A bigger problem is the perception by the organisers that hearing members of the audience will complain and make a fuss. How far this assumption has been tested remains unclear.

A small step of progress was made this year when it was agreed that a pilot would be done involving a palantypist in a separate area of the audience for deaf people. RNID have been involved in this pilot and I’m waiting to hear the results of it. The hope is that a palantypist will be available in future on request to any deaf young people who want one.

It’s not ideal, far from, and we still want to see full access. However, with our attention focused on our Sounds good? campaign for better acoustics, we didn’t have the capacity to make a huge fuss about it this year. But it remains an issue that we’ll be continuing to keep an eye out for…

What are your thoughts on the matter and the way forward?


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