Last week Channel 4 announced the list of contestants who would be competing for the ultimate ‘Star Baker’ on the 14th series of the iconic show. Within the line-up, the Great British Bake Off announced its first Deaf contestant, participation officer, Tasha Stones. Indeed, this is wonderful and hugely important for the deaf community. The announcement, which increases deaf representation, falls within the annual International Week of Deaf People. Tasha’s presence on the highly popular show will allow children and young adults of the deaf community to be inspired by such deaf role models.
Tasha will not be alone in her baking journey; she will be joined alongside her BSL interpreter Daryl. Daryl will play a vital role within the show as his presence will ensure that Tasha has the same access to the same things that the other bakers are provided with. It was great to see Daryl being introduced to Bake Off at the start of the opening episode. Indeed, this gesture highlights Channel 4’s dedication to equal rights. BSL interpreters enable Deaf BSL users to efficiently communicate with non-BSL users. Professional BSL interpreters can bring a nuanced approach to communications that written communication can sometimes lack. Ultimately, Daryl will facilitate effective communication and will ensure that Tasha and her hearing contestants will be able to understand each other. Daryl’s presence illustrates Channel 4’s aim to make sure that Tasha does not feel isolated among her counterparts.
There are 87,000 deaf people across the United Kingdom who use BSL. Through having Tasha on the show, the millions of people who tune in will be able to get a deeper insight into the creative language of BSL. Not only will more people be able to observe the language, but we also hope that Tasha’s presence will inspire people to make a start on their BSL journey.
Tasha safely got through to next week’s round after impressing the judges with her robin cake. The cake was immaculately designed and really highlighted Tasha’s eye for detail. According to the experts, Tasha’s obscure choice of a tahini buttercream was executed to perfection and even got a “I don’t like that texture…I love it”. We look forward to tuning in next week (Tuesday 3rd October) and hope that Tasha’s success continues.