Great British Bake Off slammed for subtitles debacle with one viewer claiming 'I've never felt so invisible’

The Great British Bake Off has been criticized for its lack of subtitles as viewers with hearing impairments miss out on the show

Great British Bake Off 2021 contestants
(Image credit: Channel 4)

The Great British Bake Off has been slammed by viewers as many fans are unable to enjoy the beloved series because of the lack of subtitles. 

Great British Bake Off 2021 kicked off just a few weeks ago and many fans have already fallen head over heels for this year's fantastic Bake Off contestants.

However, there are some viewers who have not been able to enjoy this year's series and have complained that the Channel 4 program hasn't provided subtitles for those who are hearing impaired.

This issue was raised by journalists at The Guardian who highlighted a comment left by a visually impaired viewer on their Great British Bake Off Live Blog

The viewer said, "Week three of no subtitles on Channel 4, (plus E4, More4 4Seven, and Film4) so I'm sadly going to bow out of this series of Bake Off for the first time since Series 1, Episode 1."

"Much as I love this liveblog, it's just too difficult to try and lipread (the 30% or so that is face to camera!) and keep up with the banter here so I'm going back to my book and will rejoin in 2022. If they've fixed the problem by then." 

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The viewer then thanked the journalist for raising the issue and sadly admitted that they had "never felt so invisible." They added, "A big thank you to both Scott and Michael for raising the issue on social media. I've never felt so invisible. And frankly angry, knowing that if Bake Off went off air to the whole of the UK rather than just the millions of us Deaf, hearing and sight-impaired there'd be hell be pay. Questions in the house, even!" 

The viewer admitted they'd found a silver lining and commented that at least they had managed to read multiple books during this time. "Never mind. It's very much a first-world problem and on the plus side, I've read more books in the past three weeks than in the previous three months so really I should be thanking Red Bee Media and Channel 4!" 

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On 9 October 2021, Channel 4 released a statement on their site about their subtitles issues and revealed that this was a technical glitch that meant that many of their shows are unavailable for those with hearing or visual impairments. 

The statement read, "We are really sorry that viewers still can’t watch our programs with subtitles, audio description, or sign language support. We know how important these access services are to you."

"We have always been committed to supporting viewers with hearing or sight impairment very seriously, and realize how frustrating it is that you can’t enjoy your favorite programs."

"The reason we can’t currently provide access services is because of the severity of the incident on Saturday 25 September 2021. When we transferred to our emergency backup, the system that was meant to provide access services, also failed."

"Our engineers have been working around the clock to fix the problem. It is a priority for Channel 4. However, it is a complex process and will take some time."

"However, when access services are fully restored, Channel 4 will make sure that all the programs that you have missed will be available to watch with subtitles, audio description, and sign language support. Thanks."

It is unknown exactly when Channel 4 will be able to get its audio and visual services back online and whether all viewers of beloved shows, such as The Great British Bake Off, will be able to watch their favorite programs.

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.