Channel 4 subtitles return after fire



Channel 4 said subtitles would be restored on several high-profile platforms and programs after a hiatus of several weeks.

He said “intensive engineering work” meant live text descriptions would start to return for viewers on Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview.

The Great British Bake Off and The Last Leg will initially earn subtitles.

Deaf charities had called for urgent action after a fire at a broadcast center affected transmissions.

Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said it had received around 500 complaints about the Channel 4 outage, which cut captions, audio description and sign language services.

Channel 4 said Freesat viewers will still be unable to access the subtitles, as it distributes content on that platform “in a different way that is not addressed by this change.”

Viewers of its website and on-demand service All 4 are now expected to start seeing captions on flagship shows after switching to a backup system, the channel said.

Hundreds of hours of Channel 4 programming were affected by the outage, which began when fire extinguishers destroyed hard drives at a west London broadcast center on September 25.

The incident at the center, owned by Red Bee Media, affected other broadcasters like the BBC and Channel 5, although their services were restored earlier.

The RNID hearing-impaired charity warned this week that “12 million deaf or hard of hearing people in the UK have felt left out and increasingly angry that the closed caption and signed content system is flawed “.

On Friday, the National Deaf Children’s Society said it wrote to Ofcom “asking them to intervene to resolve this totally unacceptable delay.”

Channel 4 said it has worked with RNID to keep deaf viewers up to date.

Despite moving to a back-up system, Channel 4 said audio description and sign language services “will remain unavailable until we switch to the new system under construction and testing.”

Along with issues with accessibility services, other issues have plagued the Channel 4 network since the September 25 incident.

The wrong episode of the Married at First Sight UK reality show was mistakenly played on E4, drawing criticism from loyal fans who expected to see the series finale.

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