The BBC have admitted that the lady who does the sign language for deaf children on cBeebies was actually trapped in the corner of the screen and has been frantically waving all this time to try and attract attention.
‘It was horrible,’ said Susan Waterford. ‘I don’t know how to sign or anything so I just waved my arms around randomly, hoping someone would notice – pulling strange faces occassionally and nodding to the outside of the TV set where I wanted to be.’
A direct translation of the gestures being made by Ms Waterford apparently had Konnie Huq of Blue Peter saying ‘Fish car never never harpsichord love banana’. ‘We thought it was an item on the surrealists,’ said one deaf viewer. But Ms Waterford’s situation was eventually understood when other deaf viewers contacted the BBC to complain that her language made no sense and that they found her random gestures to be something of an insult to their disability.
‘It was like the BBC were just putting a token figure in the corner to wave her arms about to just look as if they were doing something for deaf people,’ said a spokesman for the Royal National Institute for Deaf People. ‘The majority of viewers with perfect hearing just ignored her, even when she started doing obscene hand gestures, waving her joined index finger and thumb at the viewer or repeatedly raising her middle digit to the camera. That wasn’t what Bob the Builder was saying at all.’
A spokesman for the BBC insisted that the mistake had been a one-off, adding that the Corporation had a good understanding of deaf issues and that their generous provision for deaf people was regularly publicized on the radio.