Young girl sitting in front of a television set.

Update on Channel 4 subtitles

Published: 27 October 2021
Last updated: 16 March 2023

After a long outage, subtitles have now been restored on many Channel 4 programmes. However, signing and audio description are still not available on the broadcaster’s channels.

We remain deeply concerned about the scale of the technical failures experienced by Channel 4 and the length of time taken to fix them. These problems have caused deep upset and frustration among people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or partially sighted.

Channel 4 did not have strong backup measures in place, and it should not have taken several weeks to provide a clear, public plan and timeline for fixing the problem.

We expect Channel 4 to meet – or exceed – the timings it has set for restoring all its subtitling and other access services.

When this is done, Ofcom will review the equipment and facilities that Channel 4 had – and now has – in place, so that lessons can be learned.

We will consider what action might be required to make sure broadcasters do not find themselves in this situation again, and that subtitles, signing and audio description remain reliable even when problems occur with the infrastructure used to provide them.

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