Why we're here:
This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

BBC One Idents

Out with the old: The BBC One hippos.

After more than a decade of paddling around in circles, the BBC One hippos are finally going into retirement.

The 2006 BBC One "Circle" idents, of which the hippos were a part, were widely criticised for being a waste of money. In addition to the hippos, the £1.2m campaign featured lawn circles, a helicopter landing on top of the Bishop Rock lighthouse and dogs jumping through hoops to name but a few variants.

This time it looks like the BBC has sought to avoid any accusations of profligacy by asking a GCSE Media student to create the new BBC One "Oneness" idents for the price of a sherbert dip.

There are currently three variants of the new ident - Clevedon Sea Swimmers, Avonmouth Exercise Class and Llantrisant Wheelchair Rugby Team. As the campaign progresses there should be around 20 variants of the BBC One "Oneness" ident.

In with the new: The Clevedon swimmers.

Of course the BBC didn't really ask a GCSE Media student to create the new films, but commissioned documentary photographer Martin Parr for the task instead. The 64-year-old's brief was "to capture an evolving portrait of modern Britain in all its diversity" for 2017.

Parr said: "To have the chance to makes stills and film these diverse groups of people, but sharing the same interests or roles all over the United Kingdom is a real privilege."

Charlotte Moore, the Director of BBC Content, said: "What better way to demonstrate this than by commissioning Martin Parr, one of the most celebrated documentary photographers of our time, to create idents from a series of portraits that reflect and represent the rich diversity of communities living in the UK today?"

Over the years there have been some truly iconic television idents. The Yorkshire Television chevron emerging from the darkness to a booming rendition of "Ilkla Moor Baht 'At" immediately springs to mind. Channel 4's colourful flying blocks is another.

In contrast, the new BBC One "Oneness" idents are cheap and chatty in the extreme. Filmed as a single shot and with poor quality audio, they really do look like the sort of thing a teenager would knock up for their YouTube channel.

Penny pinching and pathetic.

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Freeview: A BBC Ploy to Protect the TV Licence Fee


Last week, as quite regularly happens, a Twitter follower shot us a question along the lines of "Is it true that Freeview was introduced partly as a means of protecting the BBC TV Licence fee?"

Yes it is.

Introducing a brand new, revolutionary (at the time) television platform might seem counter intuitive to anyone seeking to protect the archaic TV licence system, but there was method behind the madness.

Freeview came into being in 2002. It was a joint venture between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, BSkyB and transmitter operator Arqiva.

Greg Dyke, who was the BBC Director General between 2000 and his resignation in 2004, was one of the key players in the development of the new technology. He was adamant that Freeview should be cheap, simple and available to as many people as possible.

Dyke realised that if the market was flooded with cheap "dumb" digital receivers, which lacked the ability to block television signals from individual users, then it would be virtually impossible to establish some sort of Freeview pay to view model later on.


He revealed his thoughts in his book, Inside Story.

"Freeview makes it very hard for any government to try and make the BBC a pay-television service. The more Freeview boxes out there, the harder it will be to switch the BBC to a subscription service since most of the boxes can't be adapted for pay-TV," he wrote.

"I suspect Freeview will ensure the future of the licence fee for another decade at least, and probably longer," he added.

The TV licence is effectively a poll tax that every viewer has to pay, irrespective of the channel they decide to watch. If Freeview had introduced "smart" digital receivers, with the ability to block out those channels people hadn't paid for, then you can be fairly confident that viewers would have argued that the TV licence, which exclusively funds BBC services, was obsolete.

The BBC wanted to avoid that situation at all costs, because people would then have the option of refusing to pay for its services. Given recent turbulence at the Corporation, you can be fairly confident that millions of viewers would have stopped paying.

Every year the BBC is handed billions in TV licence fee revenue, irrespective of how sordid its scandal or woeful its output. It will protect that market advantage to the death.

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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Secretary of State Answers TV Licensing Parliamentary Questions


We often mention that anyone that doesn't need a TV licence is under no legal obligation at all to confirm their circumstances to TV Licensing.

Even so, we're pretty sure that there must be some people hoodwinked into believing that TV Licensing - with its caustic correspondence and pretentious air of authority - has the right to demand information from TV-free folks. It really doesn't, as we keep on saying, but you don't need to take our word for it. Here's what the Secretary of State said on the matter in response to a recent Parliamentary written question:
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Rob Flello, Labour, Stoke-on-Trent South:
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what legal powers TV Licensing have to compel an occupier who does not have television receiving equipment to notify TV Licensing that no television licence is required.
Matthew Hancock, Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport):
  • There are no legal powers to compel an occupier to notify TV licensing that no TV licence is required. All TV Licensing letters ask people who don’t need a licence to get in touch in order to update their records.
______
Mr Flello, who clearly has some constituents pissed off with TV Licensing, also asked the following question:
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Rob Flello, Labour, Stoke-on-Trent South:
  • To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, whether she has received any representations about the tone of letters sent by TV Licensing to occupiers who do not have television receiving equipment but who choose not to notify TV Licensing of that fact.
Matthew Hancock, Minister of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport):
  • We have received one representation about the tone of letters sent by TV Licensing to an occupier who did ​not have television receiving equipment but who chose not to notify TV Licensing of that fact.
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Only one person has complained to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport about the tone of TV Licensing's menacing enquiries? We find that hard to believe.

It's about time we upped that number, so instead of complaining to the BBC - which is a total waste of time, as it thinks TV Licensing is entirely justified to act in the manner it does - why not write to the DCMS instead?

The address is:
Department for Culture, Media & Sport
100 Parliament Street
London
SW1A 2BQ

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