Jen Dodds: Cinemas need to listen – it shouldn’t be this hard to book a ticket for Star Wars with subtitles (BSL)

Posted on February 1, 2016

As I’m sure everyone knows, the new Star Wars film hit cinemas everywhere just before Christmas. As my son really loves Star Wars, I thought it was a good opportunity to take him on a surprise trip to see it.

To watch Jen sign her article in BSL, click play below – or scroll down to continue in English!

I’ve never booked cinema tickets in advance before – I usually just turn up – but as it was such an important film, I thought I’d better make sure we had tickets. So, I looked online and was pleasantly surprised by the long list of subtitled screenings that I found; definitely a rarity!

Even better; my local Vue cinema was advertising a subtitled screening of Star Wars, so I booked our tickets 2 or 3 weeks in advance – I’m organised, aren’t I? – and looked forward to it.

Then… 2 or 3 days before we were due to watch the film, I saw a tweet from my friend saying he’d popped into the same cinema to buy his own ticket for the subtitled screening of Star Wars, only to be told that it wasn’t going to be subtitled after all!

He asked to see the manager, who said he was sorry, but the information on Vue’s website was wrong. He was gutted. I was too, albeit grateful that he had tweeted.

Confusingly, Vue’s website still said the screening would be subtitled, so I thought I’d better email them to check. They didn’t reply.

Time was running out, so I tweeted Vue to ask what was going on. They didn’t reply.

I checked their website again; it still said the screening was going to be subtitled.

Getting stressed, my friend and I debated what to do. I tweeted Vue again.

No reply.

I felt so powerless, stuck behind a big old communication barrier.

My partner, who’s hearing, offered to phone them instead. I don’t like relying on her, but reluctantly agreed. She phoned Vue’s main helpline, who said they didn’t know whether our local screening had subtitles or not. Realising their website might be wrong, they made some enquiries.

Eventually, they came back and said sorry, the screening wasn’t going to be subtitled. The information was indeed wrong. I was given a refund and 3 free tickets, which was nice, but I’d have preferred a few subtitles.

Anyway, we didn’t have much time left, so my friend and I decided to book tickets for a subtitled screening of Star Wars that was being shown by a different cinema chain. It was further away, but at least it was available and it was better than nothing!

Then, on the day of the screening, yourlocalcinema got involved. After a chat with the original, local cinema, they told me that the screening WAS going to be subtitled after all!

My friend and I weren’t interested, though. The cinema had lost our trust, and I didn’t want them to have my money because they’d stressed me out to the point of tears (and I’m quite a tough one, me).

It was a small thing, I suppose, but it wasn’t really. We have the right to enjoy life, to take our kids to the cinema, to watch films ourselves.

And, I know that I’m certainly not the only deaf person this has happened to; it happens all the time! I know other deaf people have arrived at the cinema only to find the subtitled screening is actually on at a different time, so they’ve had to buy new tickets. I know deaf people who’ve arrived to find the film they want to watch isn’t going to be subtitled at all.

Like my friend and I agreed, I can never fully kick back and relax at the cinema until I see the first subtitle appear on screen. After that moment of victory, I can breathe a sigh of relief.

Come on; it’s 2016! There must be a solution.

Surely, there must be a better way.

Jen Dodds is a Contributing Editor for The Limping Chicken. When she’s not looking after chickens or children, Jen can be found translating, proofreading and editing stuff over at Team HaDo Ltd ( On Twitter, Jen is @deafpower.

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