Sometimes you understand why the BBC is such good value. There was a documentary on BBC4 on Monday night that made me go, ‘Bloody hell, they’re good at what they do, aren’t they?’
Called Life and Deaf, it was a masterpiece of low budget programming. It followed the activities of a group of people from St John’s Deaf Club, including a football team consisting solely of deaf players.
There was no V/O, but there were subtitles to the fly on the wall filming. One of the first things that became apparent was that most of the subjects a/ had a wicked sense of humour, and b/ swore like troopers.
One thing you need to see at some point in your life is deaf people backseat driving when their mate is making a hash of a straightforward parking job. Insanely funny. An absolute hoot and a half.
It wasn’t all sweetness and light though. A young woman was in the throes of deciding whether to have a cochlear implant. Her mum, who was also deaf, was against it. She was worried her daughter would align herself to Hearers and spurn her old Signer friends and family. What was intriguing here was the fact that during the arguments, they both signed over each other in the way that speaking people do during a row. You also didn’t need to be adept at signing (or need to read the subtitles) to see that things got more and more emphatic and bad tempered.
The footie players made it through to the league final in a blaze of good natured swearing, but lost out. Unlike the England team, they didn’t burst into tears.
However, a happy ending played out. A deaf couple was expecting a baby, and they knew it was going to be a boy. On the father’s side, all boys born in his family were deaf, so the expectation was that the new sproglet would be too. Both of them were unconcerned about this, being firmly of the ‘If he has two of everything he should have we’ll be happy’ school of thought.
Well, the little tyke arrived, and did have two of everything it should have. Including fully functional ears. All together now. Awwwwww!
Just goes to show you don’t need a huge budget and a mass of CGI to make engaging television programmes, just a bunch of interesting people getting on with things.
Oh yes, I mustn’t leave you on tenterhooks, must I? The young woman had the implant, and it worked exactly as it should, right out of the hat.