More than 20 black and white TVs still in use in Northampton as BBC One in colour hits 50

As BBC One celebrates its 50th anniversary of colour TV this week, TV Licensing has revealed that households in Northampton are still watching TV programmes on black and white TV sets.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 3:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th November 2019, 3:02 pm
Image by Radio Times.

There were 24 black and white TV licences in force in Northampton at the end of September 2019, down six from the previous year.

Across the UK the number of black and white licences has declined considerably over the years. There were 6,586 black and white TV licences in force at the end of September 2019 - a fall of 575 compared to the same time last year. In 2000 this figure stood at 212,000.

The figures show that despite the rapid growth of smart TVs, smart phones and tablets to access TV content, a surprising number of households still appear to enjoy the nostalgia of monochrome TV sets. They remain popular with collectors with vintage and portable TV sets regularly traded online.

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A licence is still needed to watch live TV and stream BBC programmes on iPlayer on a black and white TV or monitor and costs £52. But, if they are used to download BBC programmes on iPlayer or to record any live TV, then a colour TV Licence is needed.

Rachel Roberts, spokeswoman for TV Licensing in the Midlands, said: “When BBC One launched its colour TV service in November 1969, there were only three channels available.

"Fast forward to 2019, and more than half (53 per cent) of TV households have, in some way, an internet connection to their TV and access to hundreds of channels.

“While only accounting for a very small proportion it’s interesting to know that some households still like to watch their favourite shows on a black and white telly.”

BBC One launched its full colour service on 15 November 1969. The new service was also extended to ITV, bringing them in line with BBC Two, which had been offering colour programmes - including Wimbledon, the Olympic Games and The Eurovision Song Contest - since 1967 under controller, David Attenborough.

Programmes showing in colour on the 15th included Star Trek and Dixon of Dock Green, The Harry Secombe Show and Match of the Day, plus the feature film The Prisoner of Zenda.