My first experience of "talking subtitles" or audio described television programs came when I was still sighted. I was on iPlayer and noticed that there was an episode of "Walking with Dinosaurs" that I had missed on there. I also noticed that it was marked "talking subtitles" but that didn't bother me. I imagined something as inobtrusive and nuanced as normal subtitles had become. I was in for a shock. In between David Attenborough's beautiful commentary was a reedy woman's voice giving brief and perfuntory description of what was happening on screen. Sentences such as mother moves to nuzzle her young" and "young dinosaur starts to follow mother" shot across my consciousness. I tried watching for a bit with my eyes closed to see how that affected the experience. I found that there were many times when David Atttenborough's commentary and the sound effects would have been enough but this jarring annoying voice would cut across.
The sad thing was that all that was needed was a slight tweak to the original track with David Attenborough providing a fuller commentary and the show would have been perfectly accessible to the blind and partially sighted.
Instead there was this sterile undramatic voice shoehorning basic descriptions into whatever gaps could be found. I can't think of any genre that would survive this treatment without being diminished.
I'm a bit of a superhero fan and imagining 'daredevil' (might as well pick the blind superhero here) with audio description of the kind I have heard so far, fills me with dread. I'd much rather have the sound of kicking and punching WITHOUT "daredevil is trapped in the corner with multiple assailants".
Again. It could be done so much better. With a little recutting and an audio description written more like a narration from a work of fictoin could actually add to the drama in this hypothetical scenario so, say in daredevil's voice "I was cornered in an alley and they were all upon me at once. Instinct kicked in and my fists flew in every direction". Obviously the space given for the dialogue imposes some limitations but currently talking subtitles are not a creative endeavour. There's a kind of "that'll do" approach that leaves us with a supposedly more accessible program that, to my mind, isn't fit for purpose.
What does everyone else think?