Channel 4 has said that subtitles, sign language and audio description may not return to its channels until the middle of November.
The broadcaster said in a statement that it is still facing “significant problems” after its output was repeatedly disrupted following a technical issue that arose last month.
Red Bee Media, which handles playout services for Channel 4 and 5, previously revealed that the “activation of the fire suppression system” last month at its broadcasting centre triggered audio and picture problems.
— Channel 4 Press (@C4Press) October 19, 2021
Following the incident, Channel 4 said multiple times that the technical issues had resurfaced.
On Tuesday, Channel 4 said in a statement that a “number of hard disks in a variety of systems were severely damaged” during the initial incident.
“We immediately activated our emergency back-up system, and while our channels are back on-air, we are still trying to fix some significant problems,” the statement added.
“One of these is not being able to provide access services – subtitles, audio description or sign language support – for programmes broadcast since the incident.
“We know that this is incredibly frustrating for you and your families who rely on these services to watch your favourite programmes.”
Channel 4 said it has begun to trial new methods of delivering subtitles during some programmes and subtitles are being added to some programmes such as Gogglebox and the Great British Bake Off on its All 4 streaming platform.
However full access to subtitles, sign language and audio description “might not be available until the middle of November”, the broadcaster said.
“We know that this will be incredibly disappointing to everyone, but we do need to get this right,” it added.