Sue Perkins said she hopes more emphasis is placed on audio description in films so that “everyone experiences the wonder of cinema equally.”
The comedian and television presenter, 53, lends her voice to the upcoming fantasy film Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, starring Chris Pine, Michelle Rodriguez, Rege-Jean Page, Sophia Lillis and Hugh Grant.
Audio description is a form of storytelling that provides information about key visual elements, such as expressions, movements or body language, for blind or visually impaired viewers, communicated through a personal headset.
Perkins, who started doing voiceovers for animation and video games and provided some audio description of the action during her time on The Great British Bake Off, told the PA news agency she enjoyed recording the storytelling for the film.
“I really hope they make more of it and that more importance is given to it… You are a small cog in the wheel but you are contributing to the value of making cinema more accessible,” she said.
“If cinema can’t be accessible we’re really screwed because the imagination, after all, is for everyone.
“I think right now, perhaps more than any other time in my life, we need storytelling, entertainment, and the expansiveness of the human imagination, and the idea that those things aren’t available to everyone saddens me.
“I know people who are blind and the idea that there are audio descriptions that are really enriching for them, and of course the film itself has amazing textures of sound and music within it that transport you, but then you get the voice that describes all the particularities of movements and character and stuff.
“It just means that everyone can have that complete cinematic experience that, truth be told, people like me take for granted.”
He also reflected on the importance of wheelchair accessibility in cinemas and enhancing the experience for those who are blind, deaf or need extra accommodations.
“I think they are all very important additions to ensure that everyone experiences the wonder of cinema equally,” he said.
The film adaptation of the famous RPG follows a handsome thief and a band of unlikely adventurers who embark on a heist to recover a lost relic.
Things go dangerously wrong when they run into trouble with the wrong people.
Perkins said she was proud to reveal that she played the game a lot in her youth and still occasionally dabbles.
“People like me have been cast rather negatively as kind of a nerd, but it’s just a great way, when you’re little, which is when I first got into it, to explore the realms of your imagination and it’s fun,” he said.
“The movie is great in the sense that it doesn’t denigrate that community, but it really supports the enjoyment of playing D&D by giving people who aren’t interested or unfamiliar with that world a really fun movie.
“I think the world of magic in particular is incredibly carrying at the moment, the idea that you can literally conjure another reality.
“And that’s what cinema really does at its best… it takes you from the monotonous or the sad or whatever into a whole new plane.
“And with Dungeons and Dragons, of course, you’re literally doing that, they’re launching portals to other realms, they’re using their various tools of spells and awesomeness to enhance or change reality.
“It’s adorable, you go into that dark space and you should be transported, you should be fascinated.
“I think it can be quite sad outside the cinema at times, so I try to spend as much time in there as possible.”
Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves hits theaters on March 31st.