Black and white television sets are almost history in North Devon

Children gather around a black and white television set watching children’s show, Andy Pandy, first shown in 1950. ©BBC Children gather around a black and white television set watching children’s show, Andy Pandy, first shown in 1950. ©BBC

Wednesday, January 8, 2014
2:05 PM

Figures reveal fewer than 10 black and white licences have been issued in Barnstaple and Bideford.

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FEWER than 10 television licences have been issued to people watching black and white sets in Barnstaple.

And figures released by TV Licensing also show that the number of black and white licences has also dropped to below 10 for the first time in Bideford.

Across the UK, the number of families watching on black and white televisions has dropped a further 12 per cent in the past year, with fewer than 12,000 sets now in use nation-wide.

The cost of a black and white TV Licence remains frozen at £49 until BBC Charter Review in 2016. A colour licence costs £145.50

The demand for black and white licences has been in steady decline since the advent of colour transmissions nearly 50 years ago.

In 2000 there were 212,000 black and white licences issued, but by 2003 that number had shrunk to 93,000.

In 2006, the number was less than 50,000 and today just 11,550 black and white licences remain in force across the UK.

According to this year’s figures, Bournemouth leads the way in black and white televisions in the South West, with 37 licences issued.

In Devon, Plymouth heads the list with 30 black and white sets licensed.

Richard Chapman, spokesperson for TV Licensing South West, said: “We may be on the brink of losing black and white sets to the history books, but older technology will always be replaced by exciting new ways of watching live.

“It’s important that no matter how you watch live TV, whether on a black and white set, or online, you’re correctly licensed to do so.”

If a video recorder is connected to a black and white television, a colour TV Licence will is needed.

Iain Logie Baird, associate curator at the National Media Museum in Bradford, and grandson of television inventor John Logie Baird, added: “Despite over 25 million people opting for a colour TV Licence in the UK, it may be some time before the black and white television disappears completely from our living rooms.

“The National Media Museum has hundreds of black and white television sets in its collection and there will always be a small group of people who prefer monochrome images, collect vintage sets or just don’t want to throw away a working piece of technology.”

Do you watch television on a black and white set? Contact the newsdesk on 01271 345056.

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