Mainstream quiz shows do not typically work for deaf people. A new gameshow is changing that – and is on the hunt for contestants
A groundbreaking quiz show celebrating the unique skills of deaf people has proven a hit with viewers – and is looking for contestants to take part in a new series.
Sign2Win is one of the latest shows to be launched by the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust (BSLBT), which commissions TV programmes made in British Sign Language.
Its slate includes drama, comedy, chat shows and documentaries, with deaf programme makers involved behind the scenes, and deaf actors.
Quiz shows have proved a bugbear for deaf viewers, with questions often based on audio cues like music, or buzzer rounds demanding quick-fire answers which lose immediacy with a picture-inscreen sign language interpreter.
In response, BSLBT executive producer Julian Peedle-Calloo dreamt up Sign2Win – the trust’s first gameshow – which prioritises the strengths of deaf people, and draws on popular games from deaf club parties and events.
“It’s absolutely unique and different,” said BSLBT head of operations Caroline Fearon. “There’s nothing comparable in the mainstream environment.”
Peedle-Calloo explained how most quiz shows exclude deaf people, who miss out on ‘incidental learning’ – snippets of information overheard or picked up in chat. Paired with barriers in mainstream education, it means deaf people often lack the general knowledge of hearing peers.
We are proud to have created an engaging game show which belongs to the deaf community
In addition, gameshows are based on ‘hearing culture’ inaccessible to deaf viewers or participants.
“We started thinking about what a deaf game show might look like,” said PeedleCalloo. “What if the questions and answers were based on deaf history and culture, what if everything was delivered in British Sign Language, and what if the strengths of deaf people were prioritised?”
Sign2Win, which has a £1,000 cash prize, includes spelling rounds, where contestants have to guess words fingerspelled in video clips played at different speeds, and picture-led questions featuring famous deaf people and landmark deaf community events.
“We are proud to have created an engaging game show which belongs to the deaf community,” said Peedle-Calloo.
Sign2Win broadcasts monthly on Film4 and Together TV, and streams online at bslzone.co.uk. Series 2 will be out later this year.
Main image: BSLBT
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