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The Bay introduces deaf character

Nadeem Islam
Nadeem Islam Image credit: radiotimes.com

The third season of ITV drama The Bay, which started earlier this week, introduced us to the Rahman family which includes a member with severe hearing loss.

Jamal Rahman is played by deaf actor Nadeem Islam, in a new interview with Radio Times he spoke about how his new role. 

Islam believes there is still work to be done if the entertainment business wants to represent the deaf community., “We’re not there yet, still baby steps,” he said.

“It’s a long process, but definitely, it’s so important to have deaf representation in mainstream TV. Right now, there’s about 900,000 deaf people out there in the UK.”

Islam added:  “So signing, people who can sign, there’s about 400,000 of those. But really, the biggest thing for me is to have that representation there, you need to have that representation for deaf people, and it’s fantastic. To have deaf people in the story, it’s amazing. It’s great to have that there.”

In the drama Rahman makes a connection with Erin Shanagher’s DS Karen Hobson. “[Erin] was just a bundle of joy to work with, she was amazing,” Islam said. “She just took it all on, she really embraced it and just took on the sign language and was just fantastic, and we really bonded and connected over that, and that’s rare to find.

“Finding the time to do those things, and obviously we’re acting, we’re filming, we’re on-set, sometimes we had to just stop, put the handbrake on, take a bit of time to make sure that the signing was right, so that when we were starting to film, it was there.”

All the cast and crew received a BSL video with hearing loss training before filming started because due to regulations with face masks it was impossible for Islam to lip-read.

He explained: “When I arrived on-set I saw all these people with masks on, but then people started signing like, ‘How are you?’ People were signing to me – it was great, it was fantastic. We just developed a relationship really quickly with each other.”

The Bay is on ITV, Wednesdays at 9pm and available to download on the ITV Hub.