On Thursday 22nd September, ITV showed John and Joe Bishop: Life After Deaf a one-hour film which followed John and Joe, as they embark upon a journey to understand more about the Deaf community and learn British Sign Language together.
Opening up about the 12 years since Joe became partially deaf, John and Joe met people across the Deaf community who can not only relate to the miscommunication and misunderstanding they’ve faced but can also offer them alternative perspectives on what it means to be deaf.
Since the episode aired at 9pm on Thursday night, Signature the UK’s leading Awarding Organisation for British Sign Language qualifications has reported a 210% increase in users visiting their centre finder. Over 9,000 people have visited the Signature website looking to follow the example set by John and Joe in looking to learn Sign Language with Signature.
The documentary has been extremely well received, with a wave of support coming in from Deaf and hearing people commenting on the courage that John and Joe have shown, with the realisation that Joe’s hearing loss is likely to be permanent and that Sign Language could be the way they need to communicate in the future.
Lindsay Foster, Executive Director at Signature said “John and Joe’s documentary was very insightful and wonderful to see on mainstream television.
It showed how, as a family they came to terms with Joe’s hearing loss, John honestly admitting he wanted to ‘fix him’ and these are the sort of conversations and thoughts that will be happening across the country. I hope the documentary will help people to have conversations about hearing loss and the support that is available. It was great to see the way the deaf community welcomed Joe so warmly, this is the community that we see on a daily basis in our centres and teachers to our board and consultants.
The difference already being made by this documentary is clear, since 9pm last night we have seen over 9,000 people, a 210% increase, trying to find Signature centre, …somewhere that they can learn BSL properly.
It shows by raising awareness and airing these programmes on mainstream TV that they do make a difference, if all the people visiting our website go on to learn a little bit of BSL we will create a more inclusive society.
I want to congratulate John and Joe on passing their Signature qualifications, I really hope they both continue to learn and progress with us. And good luck to Melanie who has just started learning.
If people are looking to learn, we urge them, please don’t choose an unregulated course that claim to teach BSL at affordable prices. Unfortunately, more and more of these courses are being created with incorrect signs or unqualified teachers. If programmes like this are to make a real difference, we people need to choose a qualified teacher and centre to do their learning.
We understand not everyone will be able to afford to complete a full qualification, which is why we have created BSL for Beginners at an affordable £9.99. Delivered by Deaf teachers and native BSL users with many years’ experience of teaching BSL and can be used as an introduction to the language.”
Missed the show? You can watch it on ITV player here: https://www.itv.com/hub/john-joe-bishop-life-after-deaf/10a2217a0001