Archives for May 2010

Wednesday 26th May 2010 - BBC2 1pm

SH Line Producer | 13:00 UK time, Thursday, 27 May 2010


On today's programme See Hear commemorates the 65th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, so Radha is at the Imperial War Museum in London, to introduce the programme and visits an interesting exhibition they have there.


However, before Victory in Europe Day was declared on May 8th 1945, the people of the UK endured years of hardship. To give us a real feel for what life during the war years was like for Britain's deaf community See Hear accompanies a group of retirees from Nottinghamshire Deaf Society on a day trip down memory lane at the EdenCampMuseum in North Yorkshire. Eden CampModernHistoryThemeMuseum uses sights, sounds and smells to tell the story of World War II through scenes and displays covering military and civilian life.  It certainly evokes some stirring memories of war time life for the visitors. By the end of the war, there were about 600 prisoner of war camps across Britain - the Eden Camp museum is housed on a POW camp site, with the exhibits in the different huts.



While Radha is at the ImperialWarMuseum she visits a temporary exhibition about war time rationing. In 1940, rationing was introduced to Britain and the exhibition illustrates how coupons had to be exchanged for food, which was in very short supply and so could only be bought in small amounts. The museum also shows that growing your own food, recycling and healthy nutrition were as important in 1940s Britain as they are today. The Ministry of Food exhibition, commemorating 50 years of rationing, will be at the ImperialWarMuseum until 3rd January 2011.



We also re visit some anecdotes about food rationing from some members of the Deaf community from a See Hear programme from 2004.


Finally, although Victory in Europe day was the 8th May for mainland Britain, over on Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, the anniversary is marked a day later, on May 9th, as this is the date recognised as the formal liberation of the island from German occupancy. Guernsey people have celebrated every year since, but many of us know very little about its wartime experiences. We join the people of Guernsey as they tell us how even the best fortifications couldn't keep the Germans out and how in 1940, Hitler's forces seized Guernsey and the other Islands, starting nearly 5 years of occupation. We also meet the signing choir who are taking part in the Guernsey Sings festival, to mark Liberation Day.

Wednesday, 19th of May BBC2, 1.00pm

SH Line Producer | 11:45 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

On today's programme Radha meets with Gloucestershire Fire+Rescue Service to investigate what particular challenges deaf people face when finding themselves in a house fire and what measures can be put in place to prevent a fire from happening.


It's estimated that between 2 and 2.5 million fires occur in the UK every year claiming around 500 lives and causing around 14000 injuries.


In order to raise awareness within the deaf community Gloucestershire Deaf Association in conjunction with Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service is running a scheme, which is offering Deaf people community home safety visits to make sure all the alarm equipment is working should there be a fire and to help plan an escape route.


Most fire alarms are audible, but there are specially designed systems for the Deaf and hard of hearing people.

The alarm system can either be linked up to strobe light or to a vibrating pad to put under the pillow.

The pad is activated by the smoke alarm and the resulting vibration is strong enough to wake a person. A light will simultaneously flash to confirm that the alarm has sounded


And if you want to find out more about the on going emergency sms trial - a service which lets deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people in the UK send an SMS text message to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the police, ambulance, fire & rescue service, please follow this link


If successful, the scheme will be fully launched during the course of the watch out!



We also hear the astonishing story of a man in Somerset who was left with irreparable hearing loss after a freak gardening accident.


When retired civil engineer Mike Watson was mowing the lawn back in May 2008 a tiny twig got stuck in his ear bursting his ear drum.

Mike was rushed to Accident and Emergency with what turned out to be the worst ear damage the doctors had ever seen.

After extensive surgery the doctors managed to reconstruct his damaged inner ear and build a new eardrum to prevent the spread of infection.

Unfortunately the damage to the ear was so severe that as a result of the injury Mike more or less lost all of his hearing in that ear.

It took him many months to recover from his ordeal and to learn how to cope and adapt to hearing in only one ear.



And we visit Café 55 in Exeter to meet deafblind volunteers in the café preparing food and welcoming Judi Spiers, BBC radio presenter to the official opening of the café.

Café 55 run by Sense in Exeter is a brand new venture to give deafblind people work experience in the catering trade. It's all about inclusion and much of the kitchen has been adapted for use by people with sensory impairments and people in wheelchairs (with tables and hobs that will raise and lower at the touch of a button). Widget menus are available for deaf customers and there will soon be simple signs depicted on the walls for hearing customers to learn some basic signs.


Café 55 gives deafblind people the opportunity to understand how business may work, but it also gives them the opportunity to interact with people from the community and from the community people to come in and meet deafblind people.


If you want to find out more about Sense, the charity for deafblind people,  and their projects, have a look at




Wednesday 12th of May BBC2, 1.00pm

SH Line Producer | 18:05 UK time, Tuesday, 11 May 2010

On today's programme we meet severely deaf actress Genevieve Barr.

In her first major TV role she takes the lead in a high profile 4-part BBC thriller called 'The Silence', in which she plays a deaf girl who witnesses a murder.


'See Hear' caught up with Genevieve for an in-depth interview to find out how the experience had been and what her plans for the future are.

Plus we get a sneak preview of the upcoming drama, which is due to hit our screen soon.

Genevieve plays Amelia Edwards, an eighteen year old teenager who has recently been fitted with a cochlear implant, enabling her to hear.

When her over-protective parents (Gina McKee and Hugh Bonneville) put pressure on her to adjust to a hearing world Amelia goes to stay with her party-loving cousins, homicide detective uncle Jim (Douglas Henshall) and warm-hearted aunt Maggie (Dervla Kirwan)

Although she is enjoying her new found freedom, she is still struggling to accept that she has a place in the hearing world...And  her life is about to spiral even more out of control when she accidentally witnesses a murder.

We will be following Genevieve's career in the future on See Hear, and keep an eye on the BBC1 schedules for 'The Silence'.



And Radha went to meet Phil Graham from the Highways Agency to find out about a project aimed at improving emergency cover for deaf and hard of hearing motorists.

The new phones replace the smaller orange box-style emergency telephones that were a common sight along the Highways Agency's motorways and major A roads.

The emergency phones ring straight through to the Highways Agency Regional Control Centre, and calls are taken by one of a team of Traffic Officers based in the control room 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From there advice can be given to the caller, recovery arranged and further assistance sent to the scene if necessary.

The phones have been designed with a number of features that make them easier to use by people who are deaf and hard of hearing, disabled people and those who have difficulty communicating in spoken English.

A text facility allows deaf people to communicate with the Regional Control Centre and questions can be answered with tick or cross buttons. This test display can also be used by non-English speakers as it is available in five European languages in addition to English - Welsh, French, German, Italian and Spanish.


Not all emergency phones have the text system at present, but more will be rolled out in the future.


If you'd like further information on the new ERT's, please follow this link


And we meet a soldier who cheated death when an IRA bomb exploded next to him and damaged his hearing.

Forced to give up his dream career in the army, Mike Buss tells us his story of hearing loss, homelessness and record-breaking endeavors.


Like many ex-soldiers Mike struggled to adjust to civilian life.  He tried to join the police and the fire service but his hearing issues prohibited it. 

Losing all motivation and the will to go on he found himself eventually homeless on the streets of London.

After a couple of months of living rough in London Mike remembered reading an article about Paddy Doyle another former soldier who had broken many world fitness records.  Mike decided there and then that this would be his motivation!

He signed up for the London marathon and ended up breaking the world record for the fastest ever marathons run carrying a 55 pound pack. 

Since then back in 2002, Mike has been striving to become 'The Worlds Fittest Man' and become the record breaker of record breakers by breaking more world records than any other person before him and all in aid of military support charities.

Mike's aim is to raise £1 million by 2014.  He has achieved everything else he has set his mind to so there is every reason to be confident he will do it. 


And if you want to catch up with Mike Buss' latest challenges, you can follow his progress on


Wednesday 5th of May BBC2, 1.00pm

SH Line Producer | 13:48 UK time, Wednesday, 5 May 2010

We roll back the years on today's 'See Hear' when Memnos visits an exhibition at YorkCastleMuseum, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of the start of the Swinging Sixties...


Looking at some fantastic archive footage and lovely reminiscences from deaf people who grew up in the 1960's we find out what life was like during one of the most explosive decades in recent times.

Everything from technology, transport, social history, housing, fashion and music changed at an incredible pace.

And then of course there was the 1966 World Cup and the Moon Landing as further defining moments.


In Britain free will and freedom of expression were high on the agenda - oral contraception became available on the NHS and Ban the Bomb supporters rallied in London.


On the music scene 'Beatlemania' began in 1963 with the hit record 'Please, Please Me'. This made the Beatles one of the defining icons of the era.


Other major influence on the British fashion scene alongside the Beatles was designer, Mary Quant, one of the many designers who took credit for inventing the miniskirt and hot pants.


Deaf people all over the country joined in the fashion craze, sporting bright colored clothes, Beatle haircuts and shocking pink lipstick.

Fashion soon became a means of meeting hearing people on equal terms.


Attitudes towards Deaf people were developing in other areas of society too.

On television the BBC decided to improve its monthly programme 'For Deaf Children' and called it 'Vision On', aimed to appeal to both deaf, hard of hearing and hearing children.


To find out more about the Swinging Sixties exhibition, follow this link

or visit for more general information about this exciting decade.


And we catch up with William Roache,

Coronation Street
's 'Ken Barlow', whose soap career began in 1960 when he made his first appearance on the most famous street on television...

He talked to us about losing his hearing as a young soldier and the effect it's had on his life.

Because of a mortar bomb explosion that he witnessed while on National Service with the British Army William lost 50% of his hearing in both ears and also suffers from tinnitus.


After leaving the army aged 26 William decided to fulfill his ambition of becoming an actor.

He learned his craft at various theatres before accepting the role as Ken Barlow in

Coronation Street
in 1960.

William is the only remaining member of the original cast. He is currently the longest-serving actor in

Coronation Street
and in British soap overall,  as well as the second-longest continuous actor in the worldwide history of television serials.


William is fronting the 2010 Sound Barrier Star Awards and is encouraging people to get free ­hearing tests at Specsavers and to enter the Sound Barrier Star Awards to find the nation's heroes who are hard of hearing or deaf.


The awards are an opportunity to nominate a special person who has achieved inspiring feats despite the challenges that come with impaired hearing.

Closing date for nominations is Friday 18th June.  

The winner will be announced at a National Awards ceremony on Wed 22nd September.


For more information please follow this link












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