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Cinema is ‘potty’ not to aid deaf

August 2, 2007

Calum Daly (9) was unable to see the latest Harry Potter film with friends Nicola, Megan, Matthew and Chloe, because the citys Showcase Cinemas does not provide  subtitles. (7AS0717040) Picture: ALAN STORER

Calum Daly (9) was unable to see the latest Harry Potter film with friends Nicola, Megan, Matthew and Chloe, because the citys Showcase Cinemas does not provide subtitles. (7AS0717040) Picture: ALAN STORER

A NATIONAL charity has branded city cinema chiefs “muggles” after the lack of subtitling meant a profoundly deaf boy missed out on watching the latest Harry Potter film.

As reported in the Evening Telegraph, Calum Daly (9) was devastated when he couldn’t join his pals to see the hit movie when it first came out because Showcase Cinemas, in Mallory Road, Peterborough, doesn’t offer subtitled screenings.

Calum, of Towngate East, Market Deeping, even hand-delivered a letter to bosses, saying he was “very upset” his friends could follow the film, but he couldn’t.

The William Hildyard School pupil needs captions to understand thes tory.

His incensed mum, Jill Medlock (47), a campaigner on deaf issues and secretary of the Peterborough and District Deaf Children’s Society, is determined to bring about a change in policy.

Now, she has a heavyweight backer to champion the cause – the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID).

Brian Lamb, of RNID, said: “Showcase is missing a trick by failing to install subtitling kit, which costs the same as a disability ramp.

“Youngsters such as Calum, grandparents treating kids on school holidays, and everyone who loves the big screen but sometimes struggles to hear what’s being said, would all be chuffed to bits.

“This week alone, there are more than 190 subtitled screenings of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

“With nine million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK, it’s not just Calum who wants subtitles.

“The RNID calls on Showcase to stop behaving like muggles and join the 230 UK cinemas who show films with subtitles every week.”

He said one in four UK cinemas provided the service and branded Peterborough a “blackspot”.

Mrs Medlock, who said the nearest cinema offering subtitles was in Ipswich, said Calum had received a letter from Warner Bros and had been contacted by the director of Showcase Cinemas, who assured her he would respond to Calum’s letter within 14 days.

She said: “This gives me more confidence in pursuing and succeeding with a legal case if we need to.”

Wanda Whitson, spokeswoman for Showcase owners National Amusements, based in Massachusetts, USA, said: “We are reviewing equipment currently available on the market, and also new technology that will become available in the near future.”

http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news?articleid=3074629

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