Live coverage of the King’s Coronation to be made accessible in TV first
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has worked with two of the country’s biggest television channels, BBC and ITV, to ensure coverage of the Coronation of King Charles III is inclusive and accessible to the two million people living with sight loss across the UK.
A television first in the UK, ITV will be providing live audio description (AD) on their coverage of the Coronation – something that’s never been done before. Meanwhile, the BBC will be leading their broadcast with a separate bespoke coverage for viewers who are blind or partially sighted through the channel’s red button function.
The coverage of the Coronation will start on ITV at 11am on Saturday 6 May. ITV viewers will be able to switch the audio description* on in the usual way by pressing the AD button on the remote control.
David Padmore, Director of Accessibility at ITV said: "This is a historic occasion for us at ITV, not only because it is the first Coronation we have televised, but also because it will be our most accessible live broadcast event to date. We're thrilled to have two accessibility firsts for ITV during the ceremony - live British Sign Language translation on ITV3, and live audio description on the main ITV1 broadcast channel coverage - as well as subtitling on all Coronation programming. We hope this will make ITV's Coronation coverage truly inclusive for all."
BBC coverage of the Coronation begins at 7.30am on BBC One, BBC Two and iPlayer, with accessible commentary starting at 9am. On BBC One, viewers will need to press the red button on the remote control to access the enhanced commentary. The special programme, providing full coverage of the Coronation, will be presented by Petroc Trelawny, the British classical music radio and television broadcaster and a presenter on BBC Radio 3. There will also be signed coverage on BBC Two.
Petroc said: “The day will be one of spectacle, and it seems absolutely right that we find a way to ensure as many people as possible get to enjoy it. That is why I will be providing accessible commentary on the red button, for the more than two million people living with sight loss in the UK.
“The commentary will include all the day’s key information – who is marching, what the choir is singing, the rich history of the occasion, the names of foreign heads of state and King’s guests. We will be on air for nearly six hours, and we hope our marathon broadcast will extend the tradition of ensuring that the coronation can be enjoyed by the widest possible audience.”
Sonali Rai, Broadcast and Audio Description Manager at RNIB, said: “We’re delighted that ITV and the BBC have gone to such efforts to make the King’s Coronation broadcast accessible for viewers who have sight loss.
“In the UK, audio description has never been delivered on live content before so this is a fantastic development and one which sets a clear precedent of how TV can unite audiences and embrace inclusivity.”
To find out more about audio description of the King’s Coronation, visit www.rnib.org.uk/news/the-kings-coronation-to-be-broadcast-with-live-accessible-commentary-and-audio-description/.