Deaf news: Deaf contestant set to appear on BBC2’s Mastermind

Posted on April 18, 2012

A profoundly deaf contestant is set for an appearance in the famous black chair on this Friday’s edition of BBC2’s Mastermind.

In a fantastic blog on the Action on Hearing Loss website, the producer of the show, Jon Kelly has explained the adjustments made in order to include Mary on the show.

In her application, she made it clear that she could not hear the spoken word, and her mother was allowed to lipspeak the questions to her at the auditions, which she passed.

For the studio recording of the show, the producers took inspiration from how Mary would watch the show at home, and Mary was allowed to read the questions (in the same way as she would read subtitles) on an autocue at the same pace as host John Humphrys’s verbal delivery.

Mary was also given a written breakdown of everything that would happen on the day of the recording to ensure she knew exactly what to expect.

Although Kelly says “my view is that we did nothing that was above or beyond our duty. All our shows should be inclusive and deafness should not be a barrier to something as straightforward as being on a quiz show,” this blog should be read by everyone working in television. It is an excellent example of how taking a positive and inclusive approach to access can reap dividends.

The BBC’s diversity unit, as well as the producers of the show should be congratulated.

Now, let’s all keep our fingers crossed for Mary in Friday’s show!

By Charlie Swinbourne, Editor

The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne. 

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