As another year draws to a close, it seems an opportune moment to reflect on some of our more popular posts for 2016.
Below, for your perusal, is a list of our top posts for each month of this year.
- January 2016: TV's Grey Area: This post was written to coincide with one of TV Licensing's regular PR campaigns about the number of black & white TV licences still in force. In it we remind readers of TV Licensing's very limited ability to distinguish between colour and black & white TV receivers.
- February 2016: Yorkshire TV Licensing Goon: It might be something to do with the recent drought of TV Licensing goon videos on YouTube, but for some reason this article did particularly well. The occupier enters into a bit much dialogue for our liking. By far the best action, as we keep on saying, is to say nothing and close the door on any TV Licensing goon that calls. Commission-hungry TV Licensing goons cannot be trusted.
- March 2016: Reckless BBC Newsgathering Endangers Public: In this article we reported concerns that the BBC News helicopter had flown dangerously close to the ground and railway line in its pursuit of the iconic Flying Scotsman steam locomotive.
- April 2016: TV Licensing's Annual Threat to Caravan Users: TV Licensing's PR harlots were busy hitting tame BBC Local Radio stations and regional newspapers with their annual threat to caravan users. This being TV Licensing, the message focused more on the terrifying consequences (not) of non-compliance than the fact that most caravan owners are already correctly licensed by virtue of having a valid TV licence for their home.
- May 2016: BBC TV Licence Voyeurs Seek Data Snooping Powers: The Government hinted in a white paper that the BBC could be allowed access to customer records held by internet and subscription TV service providers. We reminded readers of Capita's abysmal record when it comes to the protection of TV Licensing customer data.
- June 2016: The Single Justice Procedure Notice: It's Application to TV Licence Offences: This post gave an overview of the newly introduced Single Justice Procedure, which will see a lot of simply, non-contested summary offences, like speeding and TV licence evasion, dealt with by a lone Magistrate. It is for the prosecutor, TV Licensing, to decide whether or not a particular case is suitable for trial "on the papers" by a single Justice. The defendant will still have the option of a full Magistrates' Court hearing if they so wish.
- July 2016: BBC Releases TV Licensing Search Warrant Statistics: By far the most informative and amusing story of the year was the fact that the BBC, which has always been so secretive about the effectiveness of its TV Licensing enforcement regime, inadvertertly released information confirming how ineffective it really is. Figures released by the BBC confirm that only 169 search warrants were granted to TV Licensing in an entire year. The BBC didn't even realise it had released this information until it read about it on the TV Licensing Blog. If you don't read any of our other articles, this is the one to read and share with your friends.
- August 2016: TV Licensing Court Presenters Are Not Legally Qualified: In response to an email enquiry, TV Licensing confirmed that its Court Presenters - the scumbags that do the actual prosecuting - are not legally qualified or subject to formal regulation. Due to this lack of legal qualification, TV Licensing Court Presenters must always ask the court's permission to prosecute. We know, from our own court observations, that permission is not always sought. TV Licensing could have prosecuted thousands of people - many of them innocent - on that procedural error.
- September 2016: Closing the iPlayer Loophole: Implications for the BBC News Website: Legislation introduced on 1st September 2016 make it an offence to download or watch any on-demand programme service provided by the BBC without a valid TV licence. In this article we discuss the idea that videos embedded on the BBC News website could constitute on-demand programme services provided by the BBC. If that is the case, then could a TV licence be required to watch videos on the BBC News website? Very tellingly, TV Licensing refused to give us a straight answer to that question.
- October 2016: BBC Seeks New Postal Contractor: The BBC is seeking a new partner to distribute TV Licensing threatograms.
- November 2016: Not Guilty: TV Licensing Defeated After Goon's Selective Questioning: We wrote about how TV Licensing Blog reader Maddy Stuart was found not guilty of TV licence evasion by North Somerset Magistrates. Maddy told the court how the TV Licensing goon that visited her property six months earlier had been very selective in his line of questioning. Maddy was only at home on the day of the goon's visit because she was off work sick. She answered the door in her pyjamas and given the circumstances very sensibly refused to allow the goon entry. Maddy signed the goon's inaccurately completed TVL178 form to get him to leave, but that decision was to come back and bite her. Maddy's success is important because it demonstrates that the court does not always accept a signed TVL178 form as concrete evidence.
- December 2016: TV Licensing Visits Suppressed to More than 16k Properties: This is another article that came about as the result of the BBC's careless oversight in releasing sensitive TV Licensing information. A more recent Freedom of Information request shows how the BBC tried desperately to mitigate its earlier information leak. The BBC was worried people would learn that TV Licensing visits were suppressed to more than 16,000 properties with a WOIRA instruction in place. Given the BBC's concerns, we felt duty bound to write an article to draw attention to the fact.
Thank you very much to all our readers for their loyal support over the last year. We know that there are many of you that visit every day, share our articles and contact us by email or social media. We certainly appreciate all of your kind words, encouragement and contributions.
We hope you all have a great New Year and look forward to an even more productive year of BBC bashing in 2017.
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