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A black and white issue.

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Eddie Mair | 10:43 UK time, Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Michael Buchanan reports on this on Friday, and writes for the Blog:

"Forget your plasmas, interactivity, even your remote controls. Instead revel in the pleasure of watching television in black and white. Matthew Stevens is one of only 30,000 people in the UK who have a black and white tv licence.


He doesn't watch TV at this angle though he lives in a small flat which is one of the reasons he has this set, which he dug out of his mother's loft. (Doesn't Anne Robinson look even more scary in black and white?) He says the TV makes everything look more classy - even the rubbish. Clearly he's never watched I'm a Celebrity...

Even smaller than Matthew's screen is this one,


which belongs to Kirsten Hearn:


Its almost invisible in her London flat. And though she says it can be a total pain to have to tune it, Kirsten's perfectly happy with it as she's blind and merely listens to the TV. And being blind she pays only half the £47 licence fee."


  • 1. At 10:55am on 30 Dec 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Do black and white films come across in color on b&w TVs?

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  • 2. At 11:00am on 30 Dec 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    We'd thought of installing b and w to save a bit of money ..... and still have one such set somewhere. It must be about 25 years old, but works perfectly.

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  • 3. At 11:01am on 30 Dec 2008, Thejestersang wrote:

    I still have my sepia licence. Three bob a year, and it's lousy value for money.

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  • 4. At 11:04am on 30 Dec 2008, Stewart_M wrote:

    Have you read on the TVlicence what it says about Digiboxes and black & white TV's.?

    I suspect the long term aim is to phase out the B&W licence.

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  • 5. At 11:08am on 30 Dec 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Stewart, since I doubt there is a b and w set capable of being fitted with freeview, I think the digital age will toll the death knell for such sets and therefore, by default, the reduced licence fee.

    A dastardly plot? ;)

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  • 6. At 12:54pm on 30 Dec 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Just checking that the Blog is still alive ...... ;)

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  • 7. At 1:06pm on 30 Dec 2008, gossipmistress wrote:

    I had a black and white until about 6 years ago. I wonder whether the people shown above have the same hassle I had from TV licensing - condescending letters 'reminding' you that if you were now watching a COLOUR TV you should replace your licence with a COLOUR licence etc etc

    My sister and her family have no TV and still get letters all the time!

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  • 8. At 1:59pm on 30 Dec 2008, vainly_here wrote:

    I think it's pretty bad that blind people have to pay anything for a TV licence.
    Before acquiring a colour TV I never bought a video recorder because the NTVLRO isisted on charging for a colour licence. What a con.

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  • 9. At 4:34pm on 30 Dec 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    gm 7, I don't have a house and keep getting those letters.

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  • 10. At 4:35pm on 30 Dec 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    Does Matthew have a license for that color picture on the wall behind him?

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  • 11. At 4:51pm on 30 Dec 2008, artdealer wrote:

    But he needs some kind of digital receiver to get the b&w Sweeney repeats :)

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  • 12. At 12:31pm on 31 Dec 2008, funnyJoedunn wrote:

    NO 8

    I totally agree that people who are registered as blind should not have to pay for a TV licence. I can't believe they still do.

    Last year I moved into local council accommodation which has what is known as 'preserved rights'. This means that as long as I live at this address I only pay a nominal fee (seven pounds fifty per year for my TV licence). This is due to disability.

    However, this concession for me only came to light when the government withdrew this privilege for people in supported living (quietly) permanently in October 2008. Apparently no more 'preserved rights' on a TV licence can ever be claimed again. The ones who already have this right-keep it. However if you move to another address, they lose it. I only learned about my concession when I received (out of the blue) a phone call from a council official informing me that the government intended taking away this privilege and the council were checking who already had this right. Not only did I get the concession and preserved rights granted, I also got all the licence fee I'd paid the previous year and all that I'd paid in advance for next year. I never knew such things exsisted.

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