Introducing our Big Brother correspondent – Michelle Hedley!

Posted on June 17, 2013

When we realised that a deaf housemate had strolled into the Big Brother house, we thought we’d better appoint a fan of the show to keep our readers updated about his progress! Here, Big Brother fan and this site’s newest correspondent Michelle Hedley tells us what we can expect over the next few weeks…

As someone who has watched Big Brother from the very first series in 2000, I tuned in with excitement on 13 June to see who this years housemates were.

Halfway through, an added dimension came into the programme from my point of view as Sam Evans, aged 23 from Wales, was introduced and informed us that he was deaf.

As a deaf person who doesn’t use BSL myself, I was delighted to see that he wasn’t the usual type of deaf person we see on television. Being someone who is severely deaf but not a BSL user (I was not allowed to learn sign language at school but taught orally, rightly or wrongly) I am forever being told, oh you cant be that deaf if you don’t sign!

It IS possible to have speech, and to not sign even with my hearing loss. Watching Sam in the first few moments was like watching myself, which was very strange but exciting. I did wonder though how he would cope with the group situations as I know from personal experience this can depend heavily on other peoples co-operation and consideration.

I also wondered, as he seems to mirror my own hearing loss, how I might feel if he struggled in the house. I also hoped that the editing would not reflect badly on him and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that people will not vote for him out of “sympathy”, or even vote him out because of it.

As a regular BB viewer I have been asked to compile updates for you all to keep up with Sam and how he gets on in the house. Please be aware that as I am deaf I am reliant on subtitles! Big Brother is not as accessible as it could be, although greatly improved on previous years.

We all know how accurate live subtitling is (!) and also the camera has the habit of being not on the speaker but the housemates to see their reaction. I will try to be as factual as I can, although some things may be my own opinion. Big Brother operates their highlights programmes a day behind, thus everything I report on will be what happened the previous day.

The Live Feed (which is on a 20 minute delay sometimes through the day) is shown on the current day, but is not subtitled – thus I rely heavily on lipreading and I also use a thread on Digital Spy which has updates for people who are unable to view the live feed or are at work etc. Sometimes we see things on the Live Feed which never make it into the highlights show.

I intend to only report on the highlights due to the lack of subtitling elsewhere. If you want to see more, then check out the Digital Spy and channel 5 websites!

Michelle is a Geordie originally from Tyneside, now living just inside the border of Northumberland. She loves discovering music and also has a love of the theatre, especially musicals. She’s a fan of science-fiction, watches anything on TV that is subtitled, and is now reliving her childhood renting DVDs! She is also a geocacher, and is on Twitter as @Shelle02

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