Figures released today by TV Licensing reveal after nearly 46 years of colour transmissions, 183 black and white TV Licences are still in force in Leeds.
Across the UK, more than 13,000 households still have a black and white TV in use.
Despite the historic switch to digital television last year, and an increase in the sale of flat screen televisions, tablets, laptops and smart-phones over the Christmas period, some homes in the UK just cannot bear to part with their trusty black and white television sets.
The number of black and white licences issued each year has, understandably, steadily been declining. In 2000 there were 212,000 black and white TV Licences issued, but by 2003 that number had shrunk to 93,000 and in 2006 the number was less than 50,000. At the start of 2013, just 13,202 black and white licenses were in force across the UK.
Lucy Baird, TV Licensing spokesperson for the North of England, said: “It’s remarkable that with the digital switchover complete, 41 per cent of UK households owning HDTVs and Britons leading the world in accessing TV content over the internet, more than 13,000 households still watch their favourite programmes on a black and white telly.”
Iain Logie Baird, Associate Curator at the National Media Museum and grandson of John Logie Baird (the inventor of the television), said:
“The National Media Museum has hundreds of black and white television sets in its collection and I’m not surprised that people are still using them. Millions of black and white sets were made, and for several years the largest factory in Britain was the Baird Television works here in Bradford. The cabinets on many of these are ‘retro’ in their design, making them conversation pieces even when they aren’t switched on. It’s a bit like owning an antique car. But perhaps most importantly, the television set has acted as a family gathering place in the home for decades now, well entrenched in our culture, and for a few who appreciate this fact, the old set can still hold a deep sentimental value.”
According to this year’s figures, Leeds leads the way in black and white penetration across the North East, followed closely by Sheffield and Bradford.
Some black and white TVs may require a colour licence if they can receive and record programmes in colour, for example when using a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) connected to a black and white TV.
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. A TV Licence is needed if you’re watching or recording programmes at the same as they’re shown on TV, and can be bought online in minutes at tvlicensing.co.uk.