Channel 4 subtitles won’t be returning for a month following tech problems

"We realise how frustrating this is for our viewers"

Subtitles on Channel 4 won’t be returning until mid-November following an outage that began three weeks ago.

On September 25 the network’s subtitling system failed, leading over 500 viewers to complain to Ofcom.

In a statement shared earlier this month (October 7), Channel 4 revealed that the problem stemmed from “the fire suppression system [being] triggered at Red Bee Media, the company that broadcasts our services”.


They have now confirmed that they are building a new system, which will mean that subtitles won’t return for another month.

“Channel 4 would like to apologise to viewers for not currently being able to provide access services,” the new statement posted today (October 19) said. “We realise how frustrating this is for our viewers.”

They did, though, reveal that subtitles will be available on their streaming service All4 from this week for a number of Channel 4’s biggest shows, including The Great British Bake Off and Gogglebox.

Channel 4 logo
Credit: Alamy.

The statement continued: “These services were irretrievably lost during the incident and we won’t be able to restore them until we move to the new system we are building.”

It added: “We cannot rush this and run the risk of something going wrong. Something like this needs to be installed slowly to ensure our channels don’t come off air and to prevent something like this happening again.


“That means that full access services might not be available until the middle of November. Clearly, if we can do anything to speed up this process, we will.”

Elsewhere at Channel 4, Taskmaster has come under fire from its audience after the show experienced technical difficulties during its September 30 episode. The previous week (September 23), creator and co-host Greg Davies addressed the accidental broadcast of a censored version of the show.

Last month, then-Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement that the privatisation of Channel 4 is “needed” in order for it to “compete with the streaming giants”.