Four Deaf Yorkshiremen (BSL Film)

How hard was growing up deaf? In this short film, four old deaf men try to tell the worst story about their childhood – and there’s ten pounds on the table for the ‘winner!’

Clips from the film were shown on BBC2’s See Hear programme on 23rd January, 2008. The film was reviewed by the Observer film critic Jason Solomons, and the Guardian’s Cathy Heffernan.

The film was inspired by the classic ‘Four Yorkshiremen’ sketch made famous by Monty Python, but with a new script for a deaf cast.

Written and directed by Charlie Swinbourne, made in association with Remark Production


  • Jean Boutcher 16 years ago

    It is very interesting that the British sign for
    “communication breakdown” is almost similiar
    to that of the American sign! Fascinating!

    Merci beaucoup, Joey, for sharing.

  • Harmon Menkis 16 years ago

    “Shades of a Deaf Clubroom” Enjoyed this muchissimo. HPM

  • Hey Guys 16 years ago

    I would have won the bet. My family are hearies PLUS lived in subway with full of rats.

  • Nick Vera 16 years ago


    Thank you for sharing to depict the Deaf British film. What a great irony, plot twist, and life-storying of their personal experience! In fact, I enjoyed viewing the idea of British Sign Language (BSL) to reveal with the English subtitles. I think it will be nice if Mark Wood of ASL Films or Wayne Betts/Chad Taylor of Mosdeux do the Deaf American verisons of Poker game or tales of deaf club reflections in the film. Essentially, the film will remain to save our culture and language for our future generations forthcoming in ASL by according to George Veditz’s carrying over for the years due to the effect of oralism widespreading.

    Almost eighteen years ago, “Gin Game” at Deaf West Theatre was the first and foremost with Phyllis Frelich and Patrick Graybill (top-notch working actors) in ASL translating with the similiar storyline with this film.

    Beside Deaf West Theatre, Lights On! Deaf Theatre was presented “Tales of Deaf Clubroom” in Rochester, NY in about 10 years ago that I missed the opportunity to see the play before I moved in the summer of 1999. The reviews among the deaf and hard of hearing community raved sharing the excellent reviews.

    I would love to see more of deaf and hard of hearing theatres every locals across the nationwide for seasonal audiences to entertain ourselves and preserve our culture and language for our future generations. Not only to the deaf and hard of hearing theatre, the films will do the same thing for us.

    Thank you again for empowering this film to share with our audience.


    Nick Vera

  • deb ann 16 years ago

    It’s so interesting to watch this video clip and I learned some of their BSL already! Thank you for sharing!

  • deafkathy 16 years ago

    Amazing and unique! Fun to watch especially with BSL, clearly understood the concept. I enjoyed it very much! Thanks for sharing.

  • LaRonda 16 years ago

    That was great, Enormously well done and very entertaining! Kudos for the choice of clips!

    ~ LaRonda

  • Donald Rosenkjar 16 years ago

    So, if the worst scenario was having hearing parents in the film. Now, consider this, is the actually worst scenario in a school that is mainstreamed, with teachers lacking in fluency of ASL and knowledge of Deaf culture? Talk about abuse and torture many of us had to endure!
    Don R.

  • Joey Baer 16 years ago

    Don R.,

    I see what you mean and yes it is probably worst having hearing parents who do NOT sign to their children. Therefore having hearing parents who SIGNS to their deaf children will be a blessing as much as those with deaf parents.

    My wife is truly blessed for her hearing parents who are able to SIGN with her. Therefore it is not bad having hearing parents after all! 🙂

    And you are correct, we should not forget those teachers who lack fluency in ASL that deprives our Deaf children our true language! That is what the film is trying to point out, growing up without a language is indeed sad thing!

  • Jac 16 years ago

    I am almost lost to try understand BSL, but a captioned was helpful to understand them better!
    It was great!

  • Debbie 16 years ago

    Fabulous!!! I can’t say more except it brings me laughters…… Plenty of laughs…. Thanks for the wonderful play…

  • sANDRA gOLDSTEIN 16 years ago



  • Dan Murdoch 16 years ago

    I saw this BSL Flim last autumn late when I received it at my email mailbox from deaf Vancouver Community (Canada). It was fantastic what storytelling of a winner had a buck of 10 pounds.

    I had repeated to watch it and studied what different between ASL and BSL. I notice that BSL is almost same to Auslan and NZSL that I visited NZ and Australia for 21/2 months.


  • J.J. 16 years ago

    Saw it before, but didn’t really understand BSL…

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Don Grushkin 16 years ago

    I’ve seen this before. I love it! Truly great humor and shows we Deaf have a Universal perspective.

    This video (and another one by the same filmmaker “coming out” — check it out on YouTube) was one of the reasons why I became convinced we need to caption our vlogs. It is not just for the Hearies or the oralist Deaf, it is for other Deaf from other countries who don’t understand our ASL (just as we can’t understand their BSL). If that video had not been captioned, would we have been able to enjoy it?


  • Connie Gough 16 years ago

    Wow… The ending is very satirical and ironical… very funny… enjoys this film very much.

  • Kim Hungerford Carwile 16 years ago


    I barracked for your brinin’ this clip from GB here about their Deaf blokes’ story.

    Yet, I’m still away from my birthplace, Aussie; I was as “happy as Larry” to see my native sign – Auslan (Australian Sign Language) again! Many of their signs were similar to our Auslan. I am still confused with two specific signs both in Auslan and ASL – WHERE (ASL sign) = WHAT in Auslan and WHAT (ASL sign) = WHERE in Auslan.

    Ta and have a fair dinkum day! Ooroo,


  • John Critser 16 years ago

    I had many visits to UK and learned BSL over the years…this clip relived many memories of my British friends..and many BSL signs that I had forgotten is now back in my vocabulary..

  • Patrick 16 years ago

    Hey, i am from hearing family with no sign language! NO SIGN LANGUAGE!! I should get my money back!

  • Terri Watts 16 years ago

    Seen this video awful long ago. I love this video really so impressive funny short film!

    Thanks bring this video here and love watch those movie again..

  • MaryLou 16 years ago

    very interesting stories about the men in old days.
    British talking was cool …
    Hoped to see other one keep good video.

  • Tara (MO) 16 years ago

    Fabulous film! So Interesting when watching how they sign in BSL, noticed a lot of mouth movements. Wow…close to the ending is very satirical and ironical…so funny! Enjoyed it very much and it brings laughters. 🙂

  • Lisa C. 16 years ago

    Interesting. Thank you for sharing the video with us.

  • debby 16 years ago

    I love it, very interesting and funny. I will share this with my family and university students where I teach ASL. My family and relatives all are hearing Some do not know sign and some know very little That’s WORSE? However, my children and grandchildren know signs and will interpret what my family talk about… but I love my hearing relatives, brothers, and mother anyway :-).

  • JeffV 16 years ago


  • Puffin71 16 years ago

    BRAVO! I love BSL film! The four deaf Yorkshiremen did act very well. Thank you for sharing…

  • Liz 16 years ago

    Dan Murdoch-

    AUSLAN and NZSL are derived from BSL, just like ASL is derived from FSL, smile.

  • Tracy A. 16 years ago

    I really enjoed the film. I liked the fact that it had English subtitles but used BSL. The actors were great and I was amazed that I was actually able to understand most of the signs even though I am just a second year ASL student. The end was classic, made me lol!

  • Hartmut 16 years ago

    The best signed film I have seen so far. Extremely well written, both in English and BSL. Superb acting by all four, both while delivering the story and reacting to the stories through facial expressions. The laconic and simple ending is perfect. Noone can predict this ending. That is exactly why it is funny. Nothing can be improved on.This provides just the right opposite to the elaborate and exaggerated stories of poverty. Any addition, like above, with rats and sleeping under the bridge, or changing to aminstreamed class with no signing teachers, will only dilute the humor.

    I could understand every BSL sign, when I watched the film the second time. And I also can follow every nuance in their facial expressions.

    This film will certainly earn the DeafOscar for short films!


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