John Bishop praised for 'moving' challenge to learn sign language for deaf son

John and Joe Bishop explore the deaf community. (ITV)
John and Joe Bishop explore the deaf community. (ITV)

Comedian John Bishop has been praised for a moving documentary that saw him learn British Sign Language for his deaf son, and perform a signed stand-up show.

John & Joe Bishop: Life After Deaf aired on ITV on Thursday, telling the story of how John's son Joe lost his hearing from an autoimmune condition and the ways that the family's lives have changed as a result.

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Part of it included the father and son learning BSL together, and the documentary was followed later in the night by a stand-up show entirely in BSL that Bishop had been training to take part in.

Joe Bishop is progressively losing his hearing. (ITV)
Joe Bishop is progressively losing his hearing. (ITV)

Viewers were impressed by the comedian's efforts, with one person tweeting: "Such a moving story to tell @JohnBishop and Son Joe #LifeAfterDeaf you both should be so proud of this documentary. You will of give so much knowledge understanding and hope to others."

Another viewer agreed: "Brilliant documentary. Joe and John Bishop. Joe is amazing. 60 per cent hearing loss/tinnitus/dizzyness from 16 years old. Good luck to you Joe - you’ve been through so much and have so much to look forward to. Inspirational."

The documentary also prompted viewers to share their opinions that BSL should be taught as standard in schools.

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One person tweeted: "This John Bishop program is very good.. Sign language should 100% be a basic in our schools."

Someone else agreed: "This John and Joe Bishop program is amazing. Never mind French, teach children sign language in schools. I have recently become deaf in one ear after years of struggles so feel like it may be a good time to get more fluent in sign language and also teach my children."

The Bishops shared their emotional story of spending 10 years feeling like they needed to "fix" Joe's hearing, before recently coming to the realisation that they needed to embrace being part of the deaf community.

John Bishop attempts a stand-up show in BSL. (ITV)
John Bishop attempts a stand-up show in BSL. (ITV)

One viewer tweeted: "Best moment for me was the realisation that Johns son Joe doesn't need fixing. Amazing to have an introduction to the deaf community and challenges in #LifeAfterDeaf and #johnbishop"

However, deaf viewers had one complaint - that ITV had not subtitled the stand-up show later in the evening, making it difficult to watch.

One person wrote: "I’m deaf, don’t know BSL, currently watching John Bishop ‘New life after Deaf’ stand up show….. but there’s no subtitles…. WTAF @ITV #itv"

Someone else commented: "Very disappointed that there were no subtitles on John Bishops Life after Deaf Stand up on the 11 pm full showing. As a deaf person I rely on subtitles..ITV let deaf people down tonight and how very apt with the showing of a deaf programme."