First British Sign Language channel launches on ITVX, broadcaster says

The first British Sign Language (BSL) channel globally has been launched on ITVX, the broadcaster said.

ITV’s new streaming platform will host a station that only has signed programming and be regularly updated with new and archive programs.

When it begins, Emmerdale and Coronation Street omnibus episodes, Cilla, Alan Carr’s Epic Gameshow, Vera, Lewis, and The Saint will be available in BSL.

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Royal National Institute for Deaf People associate director Teri Devine said the organisation is “thrilled” by the move and added: “Building in accessibility from the start is important and should be the norm, and we look forward to seeing ITV expanding its access services across the remaining platforms.”

ITV’s director of accessibility, David Padmore, said: “We’re committed to placing great accessibility at the heart of ITVX and our offering at launch represents significant progress on ITV Hub.

“Our ITV Signed Channel gives us a fantastic platform for showcasing our rich archive of signed programmes.”

The streaming platform will have subtitles for over 90% of its on-demand programmes when it launches with over 10,000 hours worth of content.

For live TV streamed on ITVX subtitles will be available to around 80% of viewers.

Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards – London
Alan Carr’s Epic Gameshow will be offered on the new British Sign Language channel (Matt Crossick/PA)

Subtilties will also be offered on 20 ITVX themed channels, which give the experience of watching a scheduled channel with curated shows.

ITVX is working on getting access for Freeview, YouView, Freesat and Chromecast customers.

The broadcaster said subtitle issues will be resolved in the first half of 2023.

Audio description is available for around 20% of content and all new ITV dramas, it also said.

ITVX launches on December 8.