With 2011 finally behind us, we thought today was a good time to reflect on some of our more notable articles from over the past 12 months.
We have to skip all the way back to 1st April for our first notable article. With almost comedic timing the joke is very much on the BBC, with them having to confirm what most of us knew already - TV detector evidence has never been presented for scrutiny in open court. The BBC rarely do simple answers to simple questions (more later), so after they refused our initial Freedom of Information Act request we had to escalate matters to an internal review. As the name suggests an internal review is conducted by one of the BBC's own pet poodles, but deviating from the party line James Leayton Gray found it in his heart to allow our request. Since the publication of our article many people have commented on the BBC's reluctance to present detection evidence in court. The consensus is that the BBC do not want their technology, or serious inadequacies thereof, to be scrutinised in the public gaze. In a nutshell there are serious flaw with their detection technology, so they won't put their money where their mouth is.
In May we published a guest article called What Happens When You Don't Buy a TV Licence? The article, penned by the author of the I Hate the Jeremy Vine Show blog, brought in thousands of visitors this year because it addresses a lot of TV Licensing misconceptions in one place. It explains exactly the treatment you can expect if you fail to renew your TV licence, however legitimate your reasons.
June was a busy month for us with no less than a dozen articles hitting the press. It was the month we had the audacity to ask the BBC how many TV Licensing employees had been convicted of criminal acts in the course of their work. The BBC responded that eleven employees had be convicted of theft/fraud related offences committed under the guise of TV Licensing. The BBC subsequently confirmed to us that a TV Licensing call centre employee had been convicted of defrauding customers over the phone, although that is the first time we have mentioned it here. Citing data protection laws the BBC refused to name their TV Licensing crooks, so we dutifully published most of their names anyway.
Cheeky TV Licensing PR man Fergus Reid, a fan of whiskey according to his Linkedin profile, decided it would be a hoot to sign up for our email updates. Unfortunately we didn't see the funny side, so promptly deleted him.
Also in June we encouraged our readers to write to the BBC's Watchdog programme to complain about the overzealous enforcement tactics of TV Licensing. More than 300 people have downloaded the template letter we produced, so hopefully the BBC's mail sack is overflowing with TV Licensing critical comment.
The arrival of July saw the publication of our second most popular article of 2011. We published a witness statement given by a TV Licensing employee who was applying for a search warrant. TV Licensing man Chris Christophorou came out with some absolute howlers in his sworn statement, which somehow managed to sway the Magistrate into granting the warrant. To this day we still haven't worked out what a "97% confidence factor of a possible broadcast" is, other than TV Licensing bullshit designed to (successfully) hoodwink a legal layman.
The power of the camera was exemplified in August, with news that a TV Licensing visiting officer fled at the merest sight of a tripod. Bizarrely the silver-haired TVL man seemed unfazed by the sight of a masked man answering the door and didn't flee until the threat of being photographed.
In September we heard that TV Licensing man Gary Catterick had been convicted of raping a vulnerable pregnant woman. Remarks in a Northern Echo article led us to believe that Catterick had raped his victim during his TV Licensing rounds, but the BBC denied that when we posed them the question. Not that we believe much of what the BBC says!
We also asked the BBC to go against the grain and clarify some common TV Licensing misconceptions. True to form the BBC refused to answer, so we successfully asked TV Licensing directly.
If there's one thing we despise more than TV Licensing even it's censorship of the web, so we really had our hackles up in November with news that Capita are airbrushing TV licence critical content from the web. Our discovery arose when we noticed a lot of anti-TV licence videos had been removed from YouTube, so we asked the BBC if they were responsible. The BBC denied any involvement, but helpfully volunteered the information that Capita, their main TV Licensing contractor, were responsible for the mass deletions. Not sure who we're most pissed off at - Google for caving in to a private company with no legal authority, or Capita for having the arrogance to ask them.
That leads us to December with the astounding announcement that the BBC has renewed Capita's TV licence operations contract. This took us totally by surprise, given the fact Capita's workforce absolutely hate them and the TV viewing public absolutely hate Capita's workforce. We also thought that the bad smell left behind by criminal TV Licensing employees, mentioned earlier, might give the BBC a fresh perspective or rehiring Capita. Obviously not.
We're going to be just as busy in 2012 so if you like the work we do, making a stand for legitimate non-TV users against TV Licensing, then please show your support by following our progress on Twitter.
Wishing all our readers a very happy new year!