During February a campaign on S4C is drawing attention to the Welsh language Audio Description service available, free, on most television sets. The service allows the blind and partially sighted to enjoy S4C programmes independently with the assistance of commentary.
Ten percent of the Channel’s programmes offer this service and currently include Cefn Gwlad, Teulu, Rownd a Rownd, Llais i Gymru, Sam Hughes: Cowboi Penfro, Dudley ar Daith, Bro: Papurau Bro, 'Sgota gyda Julian Lewis Jones and Cofio.
One viewer who benefits from the service is Rhian Evans, 67, from Carmarthen. Rhian was 18 years old when she was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. Her eyesight deteriorated gradually and by the age of 32 she was almost completely blind.
The Audio Description service means she can follow popular S4C series.
"In the past, I've started watching a series knowing that my friends are sure to talk about it, but have become frustrated and turned off the TV because I was not able to follow the story. But the Audio Description service allows me to watch popular programmes and join in the conversation with my friends," says Rhian, who until her recent retirement worked for Llyfrau Llafar Cymru producing audio books for the blind.
"The problem is that many programmes begin with scenes and music and things happening, but no dialogue. The Audio Description commentary sets the scene for you between the bits where people talk.”
The commentary may include descriptions of continuity in the plot, visual expression, body language, costume and scenery.
“It definitely makes a difference when I go about choosing which programmes to watch," adds Rhian.
Rhian was recently interviewed about the Audio Description service on S4C’s weekday magazine programme Wedi 3. You can watch the footage on the Audio Description website
By changing the settings on your TV you can receive the service completely free of charge. For more details contact the S4C Viewers' Hotline on 0870 600 4141 (Calls should cost no more than 6p per minute from a BT landline) or visit the Audio Description website