Channel 4 sparks outrage as it confirms subtitles, signing and more services won't return for a whole month

CHANNEL 4 has sparked outrage after it confirmed that subtitles, signing and audio description won’t be returning for at least a month. 

Following an outage that began three weeks ago, the network’s subtitling system failed when a fire suppressant system destroyed hard disks at a broadcast centre.


Understandably, the outage has angered deaf, hard of hearing and visually impaired viewers, with over 500 complaints already filed to Ofcom. 

Hundreds of viewers have since taken to Twitter to air their frustrations with the mishap.

One wrote: “Sixteen days now and still no subtitles on Channel 4 and 5."

Another fumed: “Perhaps hearing people should try watching TV with the sound off and see what it’s like for us hard of hearing and deaf viewers.”

Someone else argued: “The fact that something like this can happen in 2021 and knock out subtitles for months is wholly unacceptable.” 

As a result, the channel is building a new system from scratch and said it will fix the problem more quickly than its current prediction of mid-November if it can.

In a statement, the broadcaster said: “Channel 4 would like to apologise to viewers for not currently being able to provide access services. We realise how frustrating this is for over viewers.”

The broadcaster will begin to offer subtitles for its biggest shows like The Great British Bake Off and Gogglebox on its online catch-up service All4 from this week. 
The channel, however, cannot provide audio descriptions or sign language services at all. 

An Ofcom spokesperson said they remain “extremely concerned” by the impact on people who rely on the services.

They added: “Channel 4 did not have strong backup measures in place and it should not have taken several weeks to provide a clear, public plan and timeline for fixing the problems. 

“We now expect Channel 4 to meet the timings it has set for restoring these vital services.” 



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