The Audio Describers

Episodes

First
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
2015050420160329 (R4)

Matthew Sweet enters a whole new cinematic world that sighted people know little or nothing about - audio description. It's the voice in your ear that tells you what's happening if you can't see the pictures.

The audio description profession has its own stars, its own virtuosi. How do they allow visionary cinema to exist beyond the realm of vision? This is cinema for radio.

Matthew meets the men and women who do this work - the invisible co-stars of the world's greatest actors, invisible collaborators of the greatest writers and directors.

In fact, the practice of using evocative and poetic language to bring moving pictures to life has a much longer tradition. In early 20th-century Japan, Benshi narrators would interpret - and often elaborate on - Western and home-grown films for Tokyo audiences. The art form continues today.

In Edwardian Britain, film explainers would bring an aural addition, often with musical accompaniment, to silent films. Matthew Sweet finds this tradition is also alive and well - at a film festival in Scotland.

Producer: Dom Byrne

A Blakeway production for BBC Radio 4.