See Hear: Looking behind the Curtain of Silence

In 1973 BBC Two’s Horizon – which celebrates its 50th birthday this month – made its first documentary about deafness. Some forty years later it serves as a fascinating time capsule of attitudes to deafness at the time.

“In our loquacious society, the deaf are linguistic lepers,” notes the commentary from the Curtain of Silence.

“Rarely can we be bothered to make that little extra effort in talking to them, trying to understand them. We give them the jobs we don’t want. Having struggled into our world of speech, their opportunities are very limited.”

But without teletext subtitling and in-vision signing 40 years ago, deaf audiences had little chance of knowing what was being said about them.

Read more:


What the interpreter did was beautiful… I could not have coped without them