Below, you can read an interview with Bob Duncan and Dawn Marshall, the Producers of Close Up, our new series of in-depth interviews with well-known Deaf people.

You can also watch it in BSL in the video on the right, signed by Dawn Marshall.

The first episode of Close Up, featuring Doug Alker will be shown online and on this website from Monday 4th May at 8am. Don't miss it! 

You can see a behind the scenes film by clicking here.

What is Close Up?

Close Up is a series of in-depth interviews with well-known figures in the Deaf community.

It's inspired by a BBC programme called Face to Face which took a personal approach to looking at famous people. Close Up does the same.

Basically, it’s trying to find out what makes the person tick? What are the events or experiences in their lives that have made them who they are today?

What is different about this series?

We believe that there have never been programmes before that gave Deaf people the opportunity to really look inside themselves and share so many of their innermost thoughts with the audience in BSL. 

Close Up is free to ask them any question about anything and it’s up to them how they answer. How they answer will tell us quite a lot about what they are like as people.

What was the biggest challenge in making it?

There were two really big challenges. One was that the new digital technology was something we hadn’t worked with before.

But this presented new opportunities. For example, our studio director, Ted Evans, suggested we use the new generation of 4K cameras.

These offer such high-resolution pictures that we were able to crop a quarter of the image to get close-ups of the interviewees at key moments of the interview.

We feel this brings a very intimate - ‘close-up’ - feel to the programmes.

What other challenges did you face?

The other big challenge, as always, was what to leave out. The programmes had to be no longer than 28 minutes. But some of the interviews ran continuously for over an hour.

So it was very difficult to select what we thought would give the best 28-minute account of somebody’s life, when all four of our interviewees have achieved so much. We do hope younger people will learn a lot from these interviews.

We want these programmes to expand Deaf people’s understanding of our own traditions and history, and respect the vital work that people like Doug and Lilian have done, without which we wouldn’t be where we are today. 

What surprised you?

We were pleasantly surprised at how readily our four subjects agreed to take part, because they knew this was something that hadn’t really been done before.

We were not so much surprised as really knocked out at how much all four of them - Doug Alker, Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq, Lilian Lawson and John Smith - gave to their programmes.

The main thing is there were lots of little surprises in every interview. But we don’t want to spoil those surprises.

People will just have to watch the programmes and discover some surprising things for themselves!

Close Up will be shown on TV from 8am on Monday 4th May 2015, with the first episode featuring Doug Alker. The next three episodes will be shown on 11th, 18th and 25th May. All episodes will also be available online here on the BSL Zone website from the date of broadcast onwards.