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.

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Saturday, 20 November 2021

TV Licensing Goon Assaults

TV Licensing goons were assaulted 173 times over the last 3 years, according to information obtained exclusively by the TV Licensing Blog.

Using the Freedom of Information Act we asked the BBC to provide the following information: "1. The number of times TV Licensing agents (visiting officers, enquiry officers, enforcement officers or whatever name you use for them today) reported that they were assaulted in the course of their employment with TV Licensing.

"2. The number of times members of the public or the occupiers of private dwellings reported that they had been assaulted by TV Licensing agents."

The BBC's Rupinder Panesar, a name very familiar to us here at the TV Licensing Blog, disclosed the following information in response (BBC Reference RFI2021454):
  • In 2018 there were 72 physical assaults against TV Licensing goons;
  • In 2019 there were 60 physical assaults against TV Licensing goons;
  • In 2020 there were 32 physical assaults against TV Licensing goons;
  • In 2021 (to 31st August) there were 9 physical assaults against TV Licensing goons.
There are a couple of important points that we must highlight in relation to this data.

Firstly, the BBC has interpreted "physical assault" as "all forms of physical contact" that TV Licensing goons "perceived as a threat to their safety".

That does not mean all of these incidents actually happened, were significant, were reported to the police or resulted in further action against the alleged perpetrator.

We have seen cases in the past where TV Licensing goons have falsely screamed assault when the occupier of a property has used their legal right to physically escort them off the premises. We are also aware of several TV Licensing goons who have fabricated a tissue of lies simply because they did not like the attitude of the occupier of a property they had visited.

Secondly, the number of incidents in 2020 and 2021 are seriously impacted by TV Licensing's reduction in operations due to the covid-19 pandemic.

In response to the second part of our request, Mr Panesar confirmed that the BBC was not aware of any incident where a TV Licensing goon had assaulted a member of the public or occupier of a private dwelling they had visited.

We should clarify that that does not mean no such assaults have happened. Experience tells us that Capita, which holds the TV Licensing operations contract, is not always as candid as it should be when it comes to airing its dirty laundry to the BBC.

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BBC Cannot be Trusted: Fresh Calls to Scrap TV Licence

The BBC cannot be trusted.

That's not only our view, but also the view of a growing number of Conservative MPs, including Philip Hollobone.

Speaking in a recent House of Commons debate on the BBC TV licence, the MP for Kettering said: "In 2017, the BBC agreed to take over the funding of free TV licences for over-75s in return for increased income from increases in the licence fee and other commercial funding streams.

"The BBC's behaviour since, in abolishing free TV licences, shows that it cannot be trusted. For its disgraceful treatment of pensioners, will the Secretary of State use the funding review in 2022 to scrap the licence fee altogether and let the BBC compete on a level playing field with other broadcasters?"

The Secretary of State, Nadine Dorries MP, replied: "I thank my Honourable Friend for his question. On the charter review, the mid-term review does begin - and we will start discussions - next year. The charter renewal, which is the point at which the future of the licence fee will be decided, does not take place until 2027.

"As I have just said, in those discussions the editorial perspective and a number of layers and things recently highlighted during the response to the Serota review are all under consideration, and my Honourable Friend's comments have been noted."

Ms Dorries added that it was her priority is to "secure a settlement that delivers value for money" while making sure the BBC can continue to provide "very high quality services".

She said: "I have been having constructive discussions with the BBC and I believe that we are close to reaching an agreement."

Several prominent campaigners have come out in opposition of the BBC's decision to renege on its promises to fund the over-75 TV licence.

Former England cricket captain Ian Botham, now a crossbench peer, said: "This is a scandal no-one is talking about it and it can't be right that our oldest are on the front line."

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Sunday, 14 November 2021

Almost 9,000 Viewers Claim TV Licence Refunds After Bilsdale Transmitter Fire

The BBC has confirmed that almost 9,000 viewers in the north east of England have claimed a TV licence refund as a result of the Bilsdale transmitter fire.

Television, radio and mobile communications services were disrupted when fire broke out at the 314 metre high guyed tubular steel mast on 10th August 2021.

The original transmitter, which was owned by telecommunications giant Arqiva, was a prominent feature on the North Yorkshire landscape. Originally constructed in 1969, the fire-damaged structure was demolished in early October when Arqiva determined it was beyond repair.

The Bilsdale transmitter services 570,000 homes in Teesside, County Durham and North Yorkshire, of which more than 10,000 are still without a signal more than three months after the fire.

In defence of Arqiva, it has not been a straightforward task to restore service to those homes due to the dangerous condition of the fire-damaged mast and permissions needed to install a temporary replacement in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

The 95 metre temporary replacement mast is now in operation, along with new temporary relays at Loftus, Thirsk and Arncliffe Wood. The existing relay at Eston Nab has been modified in order to supplement service to remaining signal blackspots.

In an effort to make amends Arqiva sent £50 Currys vouchers to the 16,000 homes that were still without a reliable service by the end of October. This is in addition to the TV licence refunds on offer to those worst affected by the outage.

A BBC spokesman said: "Following the incident at Bilsdale, we continue to assist customers to claim refunds or licence extensions, and nearly 9,000 households have already done so.

"If a household has been unable to receive TV coverage for a month or more, and are also unable to view BBC programming through BBC iPlayer, and satellite and cable platforms, they will be able to claim a refund or be offered a free extension to their TV licence, depending on their TV Licensing payment plan.

"The small number who remain without services will need to contact TV Licensing to claim a refund or licence extension for the third month."

Arqiva has established a website dedicated to those viewers affected by the Bilsdale transmitter fire.

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