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See Hear replies...

FYI, See Hear sent this long email in reply to my vlog about the changes they are making:

Hi Jen.

Yes, we are going through major changes, but See Hear continues as the only programme presented in BSL on a mainstream terrestrial channel. We are forever breaking new ground at the cutting edge of deaf television.

We still have a strong core of deaf members of the team. For the first time in five years, we have a deaf producer. We also have two deaf assistant producers, one deaf researcher and one hard of hearing researcher, so, a wealth of skill, knowledge and culture, and a strong affinity with the community. To complement the deaf team members, we have a number of hearing staff, who offer an enormously wide range of knowledge and experience of television, and who share the same enthusiasm for 'See Hear'.

Change of Slots

Television is changing, and how we view our programmes is also rapidly changing. Gone are the days of our entire audience sitting around the living room, tuning in to watch favourite programmes (like See Hear) at specific times. Services such Sky PLUS and PVRs allow viewers to record selected programmes to watch as and when is convenient for them. Self-service is becoming increasingly popular, and we believe it is time for us to change too.

All programmes within the BBC are experiencing budgetary cuts, and See Hear is no exception. We believe, after much thought, that the best way to maintain the quality of the show and still be able to make 38 programmes a year is to reduce the length of the programme to 30 minutes. We can assure you that we will be using the budget to maintain the high production values and quality that the programme is renowned for, and with this extra time and staffing we are now focusing on more investigative stories, consumer items and reality television, as you have rightly been asking for. This does take time and a lot of effort.

What is our new vision?

The move to a midweek slot on Wednesdays in September is an exciting new challenge. See Hear will remain on BBC2, one of the BBC's main terrestrial television channels. With the new time slot we will have a new audience, and will also be looking at stories of interest to the
signing community, as well as the hearing, hard of hearing and deafened who are out there.

Our lifestyles have changed - we have become much more aware of the wider world, and deaf and hearing are merging together. I do accept that for many, change is difficult. But we have to seek new ways to be exciting and challenging, and to meet and attract a wider audience.

Please bear with us whilst we take up these challenges. Over the next few weeks you will see some more fine-tuning as we develop our new ideas and bring them on stream. Two weeks ago we had some great stories in our 'Fostering and Adoption' special, and in last week's programme we had an eye-opening film about the failure of shops to provide working induction
loops to assist hearing aid users. Over the next few months we will follow a young deaf girl having a cochlear implant, and we will explore the reasons for her decision to go ahead with this life changing operation. And there will be much, much more.

See Hear has been going now for 25 years, and with these changes, we aim to continue for another 25 years - and to remain the flagship programme for the deaf.

Terry Riley
Editor- SEE HEAR


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference See Hear replies...:

» BBC breaking the law in respect of See Hear? from Grumpy Old Deafies
Earlier Jen posted a reply from the BBC in respect of BBC See Hear, and the proposed cut backs. In the comments, I left a copy of an e mail I had sent to the BBC asking the BBC... [Read More]

Comments (5)

This response from See Hear appears to be total rubbish. To quote -

"See Hear continues as the only programme presented in BSL on a mainstream terrestrial channel"

How can they say this when the recent Miss Deaf UK and Adoption programmes both had NO BSL access!? They were not presented in BSL, they were presented with hearing voice overs which were only accessible through subtitles. Total hypocracy!

"With the new time slot we will have a new audience, and will also be looking at stories of interest to the
signing community, as well as the hearing, hard of hearing and deafened who are out there."

This is a blantant admission that the programme is gearing towards hearing people. I don't believe Terry Riley wrote this email. I think his bosses have asked him to put it out under his name but really this is NOT Deaf-led programme policy!

"Our lifestyles have changed - we have become much more aware of the wider world, and deaf and hearing are merging together."

This is total rubbish. Deaf and hearing merging together?? Please! This is just an attempt to justify moving away from the core Deaf audience. If Deaf and hearing are merging together why doesn't Eastenders have a deaf character. Why isn't the 10pm News signed on BBC1. Why isn't there a single deaf presenter anywhere else on the BBC but on See Hear. Merging? Total crap!

"I do accept that for many, change is difficult."

This is patronising rubbish at it's worst. The recent protests over the direction of See Hear are not about 'finding change difficult'. But about the fact that the BBC are putting out a BSL programme without BSL! And putting out shallow, negative representation of deaf people.

Sounds like a load of hearie white wash to me.

And I should know!


Has anyone actually bothered to CONSULT and ASK about all this?

Deaf people are all clearly pissed off about, and seems to suggest that the BBC is not following the Disability Equality Duty / its own scheme. Where's the Deaf consultation.

Who is representing us at the BBC for the purposes of the DED, and how do we feed to them / they feed back? Bloody useless, since we don't even know who it is, or what information is going on. How come there is zero transparency?

If you feel this is whitewash tell See Hear that. see.hear@bbc.co.uk. They need to know that we can see it is rubbish. Deafies need to keep up the conversation. If we are all just apathetic See Hear will turn into a bigger pile of hearing rubbish than it currently is. Terry won't be working on the programme forever. He will retire one day and then who will be there to defend the Deaf audience? This response has been written by the hearing exec behind all the changes and rubber stamped by Terry, probably with a gun to his head!

Just sent this to BBC See Hear:

I'm really concerned with the response from Terry relating to the current move to mid week, plus other proposed changes to See Hear.

Since the BBC is a public body, it is obligated under the Disability Equality Duty to actually CONSULT with Deaf (and disabled) people. Please could you outline all the consultation that has taken place with Deaf people over the decision to move this programme, plus its new format.

Whatever the BBC want to do to label See Hear, whatever they perceive it as and the direction to take it in: do Deaf people actually agree? By that, I mean Deaf people in your audience, not staff at the BBC who could be puppets to the system. Where is the consultation?

In Terry's letter it states future plans for the programme, and in line with wider BBC developments. I have one question: how much of an input did Deaf (and disabled) people have in this? The law requires such an input, thus I would be grateful if you could let me know what input this was. Its not rocket science there should be a higher expectation for this, in a programme specifically targeted at Deaf people.

Furthermore, please could you give me the name of the Deaf person(s) who are involved in consultation as part of the BBC's Disability Equality Scheme?

Your DES published here:

Page 6 of the BBC's policy states:

"To take steps to take account of disabled persons’ disabilities, even where that involves treating disabled persons more favourably than other persons"

Please could you tell me how a move to Wednesday is (a) taking into account Deaf people and (b) treating Deaf people more favourably?

In relation to your action plan (page 64 onwards) It tells me that Wilf White is responsible for leading on ensuring such things as consultation happens. Please could you let me know how I am supposed to contact Wilf White?

I shall look forward to hearing from you asap.

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