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University Challenge episode pulled after disabled contestants complain about accessibility provisions

The festive edition of BBC quiz show University Challenge has been pulled from schedules after two contestants complained about the lack of provisions made for them.

The episode won’t be shown after the participants – one of whom was blind and another who was neurodivergent – complained about a lack of subtitles and audio description, the BBC said.

The broadcaster said it has apologised to those in question, as did Lifted Entertainment, the production company which makes University Challenge, which is now hosted by Amol Rajan.

University Challenge’s Christmas show features teams of distinguished alumni, which often includes celebrities, to compete for their alma mater.

According to the BBC, the production team said it could not provide subtitles, but added audio description would be available – which it was not.

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It is reported one of the contestants in question was told a minute before cameras began rolling there would be no audio description, and their captain would have to assist them.

A second request for subtitles was said to have been turned down. A BBC spokesperson said: “We can confirm that an episode in the upcoming series of Alumni University Challenge will not be broadcast because two of the contestants felt their access requirements were not sufficiently met by the production.

“We are working closely with producers to improve cross-industry access on our programmes to ensure a consistent approach is implemented.

“We would like to apologise to the individuals and teams concerned, and they have been written to personally by the producers.”

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A spokesperson for Lifted Entertainment, which is part of ITV Studios, said: “During the pre-filming briefing for this episode, two contestants requested that certain adjustments be made in order for them to be able to fully participate.

“However, following the recording, we were made aware that the adjustments made fell short of their requirements. We have spoken to the individuals involved and offered our sincere apologies.

“Having listened very carefully to their descriptions of their experiences, we agreed with the BBC that the fairest course of action was not to screen this particular edition.”

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