Six black and white TVs still in use in Tamworth as BBC One in colour hits 50

Wednesday, 13th November 2019

As BBC One celebrates its 50th anniversary of colour TV this week, TV Licensing has revealed households in Tamworth are still watching TV programmes on black and white TV sets.

There were six1 black and white TV licences in force in Tamworth at the end of September.

Across the UK the number of black and white licences has declined considerably over the years. There were 6,586 black and white TV licences in force at the end of September 2019 – a fall of 575 compared to the same time last year. In 2000 this figure stood at 212,000.

The figures show that despite the rapid growth of smart TVs, smartphones and tablets to access TV content, a surprising number of households still appear to enjoy the nostalgia of monochrome TV sets. They remain popular with collectors with vintage and portable TV sets regularly traded online.

A licence is still needed to watch live TV and stream BBC programmes on iPlayer on a black and white TV or monitor and costs £52. But, if they are used to download BBC programmes on iPlayer or to record any live TV, then a colour TV Licence is needed.

Rachel Roberts, a spokesperson for TV Licensing in the West Midlands, said: “When BBC One launched its colour TV service in November 1969, there were only three channels available. Fast forward to 2019, and more than half (53%2) of TV households have in some way an internet connection to their TV and access to hundreds of channels.

“Whilst only accounting for a very small proportion it’s interesting to know that some households still like to watch their favourite shows on a black and white telly.”

BBC One launched its full-colour service on 15 November 1969. The new service was also extended to ITV, bringing them in line with BBC Two, which had been offering colour programmes – including Wimbledon, the Olympic Games and The Eurovision Song Contest – since 1967 under controller, David Attenborough.

Programmes showing in colour on the 15th included Star Trek and Dixon of Dock Green, The Harry Secombe Show and Match of the Day, plus the feature film The Prisoner of Zenda.

To find out more about milestone moments from the BBC, including the 50th anniversary of BBC One in colour, visit

About TV Licensing

If you use or install television equipment to receive or record television programmes as they are being shown on TV or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, you need to be covered by a valid TV Licence. Viewing television without a licence risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. A colour TV Licence currently costs £154.50. A black and white TV Licence currently costs £52.

TV Licensing aims to make it as easy as possible for people to buy a TV Licence, which is why there are many different ways to pay.

  • Online – people are now able to pay online at by Direct Debit or with a debit or credit card.
  • Direct Debit – monthly, quarterly or annual Direct Debit payment schemes are available and can be set up online at
  • Over-the-counter at any Post Office*.
  • Debit or credit card over the phone.
  • By post – send a cheque made payable to TV Licensing to: TV Licensing, Darlington, DL98 1TL

*Over-the counter services are provided by the Post Office in the Channel Islands.

To find out more about paying in weekly instalments over the counter, online, by SMS or by phone on the cash payment plan, call 0300 790 6078 or visit

This article was supplied to Tamworth Informed by TV Licensing Regional Press Office.