Sign of success for South Tyneside man as he picks up TV award

Alex Duguid
Alex Duguid

A South Tyneside man described as a “shining example” in his community has been honoured at a prestigious TV awards ceremony.

Alex Duguid was presented with the Outstanding Achievement accolade at the Royal Television Society (RTS) North East & Border Awards on Saturday night.

Alex Duguid

Alex Duguid

The glitzy ceremony was held at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead and showcases the best of television and digital media production from Cumbria and the Scottish Borders in the North to Teesside and North Yorkshire in the South.

Alex, 72, is a regular face on ITV through his job with ITV Signpost, translating popular programmes such as Emmerdale and Coronation Street into British Sign Language (BSL) so that the hearing-impaired can enjoy them.

Alex, who lost his hearing at the age of four after an accident, was honoured at the Best of South Tyneside Awards in 2014, picking up the Achieving Excellence prize.

Alex is also a member of the South Tyneside Deaf Club and an examiner of BSL as well as a children’s storyteller for ITV’s Signed Stories app, which brings popular children’s books to life in sign language.

He’s a shining example of how profoundly deaf people can make a massive impact on their community, their peers and their country.

Royal Television Society

His citation for the RTS award read: “This award honours a colleague who has made a very special contribution to television in this part of the world. Our recipient works for one of the great North East success stories — ITV Signpost produces signed translations for a whole host of commercial channels including ITV... and this man is one of its undoubted stars. For 17 years he has been one of the most recognisable faces in the homes of British Sign Language, signing everything from Emmerdale and Coronation Street to sport and documentaries.

“His commitment to serving the deaf community is second to none, and his passion for British Sign Language (and the need to both promote and protect it) is legendary. As is his work ethic — at the age of 72 he continues to work full time, making him the second-oldest employee in ITV.

“He’s a shining example of how profoundly deaf people can make a massive impact on their community, their peers and their country. Off-screen Alex is also a leading member of the South Tyneside Deaf Club, helping raise hundreds of thousands of pounds towards a permanent building in South Shields.

“He teaches BSL night classes across the North East, as well as to fellow ITV Staff, helping hundreds of people across the region communicate with the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Regularly staying late at work to teach colleagues BSL is all part of his desire to see an inclusive working environment where there is more acceptance and understanding of BSL and the needs of the deaf community.

Alex Duguid at the Royal Television Society awards.

Alex Duguid at the Royal Television Society awards.

“He’s a language assessor and a fantastic storyteller. In 2012 when ITV SignPost launched its Signed Stories App, Alex was determined to make this succeed. His passion, his enthusiasm and his knowledge for the language, what works for young deaf children and how stories can be presented and interpreted has been one of the key reasons for its success. His passion for Signed Stories is driven in large part from personal experience and a commitment to making a difference.

“He is an integral part of the work that is done at ITV SignPost, and he represents ITV and the Deaf Community at both a local and national level. We very much hope he continues to do so for many years to come.”