I love commedy and one of my favourite series is Only Fools and Horses. You can’t help liking that loveable rogue Delboy and his long suffering brother Rodney. I am blind so can not see the screen, consequently I am sometimes left wondering why my family or friends are laughing (the dialogue may have ceased but something hilarious has occured of a purely visual nature).
All that changed when I received a Samsung television as an early Christmas present. The TV works with audio description which can be activated from within settings. Audio description is, in essence voiceover during periods of silence or when something is happening, on screen which a blind person could not pick up from the dialogue. To take an example, I was recently watching an episode of Only Fools and Horses, the one in which Rodney takes it into his head to date the wife of a gangster who is about to be released from Parkhurst maximum security prison on the Isle of White (yes only Rodney could be so stupid)! As those of you who are familiar with Only Fools and Horses will know Del is mistaken for Rodney by the newly released gangster. On first watching the episode without audio description, I had only a vague idea that Del was receiving a beating, however with AD I could hear that Del had thrown his coat into running water and that a passing policeman had taken one look at the fight and decided not to interveen! The addition of audio description makes a very funny programme even funnier.
In the UK Sky, the BBC and other broadcasters must ensure that at least 20 per cent of their programmes are audio described. Let us hope that the percentage increases as the technology makes the enjoyment of watching/listening to television so much more enjoyable for me as a blind person.
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