Bexhill residents living in a black and white world

HIGH DEFINITION programmes and 3D televisions may be all the rage but new research has found a host of families are still relying on their old black and white sets.

Figures released this week by TV Licensing shows that although the number of people using black and white televisions is dropping – there are fewer than 12,000 across the UK – some people are quite happy with their old fashioned apparatus.

There are currently 10 black and white television licences in force in Bexhill despite it being nearly 48 years since channels started transmitting in colour.

And Bexhill is not alone. Nearby Hastings has nine such licences, St Leonards another ten and Eastbourne a dozen.

Hastings of course is hailed as the birth place of television thanks to the early work of John Logie Baird.

The inventor’s grandson, Iain Logie Baird, is now associate curator at the National Media Museum in Bradford and said he believed there are still nostalgic television viewers who are more than happy with their out-dated sets.

He told the Observer: “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.”

And it seems his comments are backed up by this week’s figures.

Indeed, London boasts more than 2,000 black and white licences currently in use.

The cost of a black and white TV Licence remains frozen at £49 until the BBC Charter Review planned for 2016.

A colour licence costs £145.50, which perhaps explains some people’s willingness to stick with the former as difficult financial conditions continue to impact on household spending.

Emma Cowlard, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said the number of people relying on the older sets was dropping each year.

She said: “These figures show, even in the digital age, more than 11,000 homes still watch their favourite programmes on black and white televisions.

“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.”