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Thread: TV Licensing adverts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Nottingham, UK

    Default TV Licensing adverts

    I suppose that we can get nostalgic about TV Licensing, considering the fact that a licence was just 15 in the mid 1970s, and around 45 in the mid 1980s, give or take a few years and pounds.

    We don't have as many TV Licensing adverts on TV these days as we used to many years ago - I am not saying that we don't have them anymore, but they don't look quite as patronising as they used to.

    I am certain that lots of people remember the "Columbo" one from around 1977 - I don't personally of course, but I am certain that it made it onto the Charley Live video which was released in the late 1990s, and I believe that it would have been repeated into the 1980s. Most people would regard it as a PIF rather than an advert these days, but as they are scheduled in the same way as adverts are, especially on ITV and Channel 4. Just like PIFs, they did look scary back then, didn't they? If you have a fully paid licence, then you have nothing to worry about - it's as simple as that, I believe.

    Cue a man in a specialist van with aerials on top, checking to see whether number 29 So-and-So Avenue has a licence or not, usually wearing headphones and a remote control device.

    I also remember the "get a TV licence - it's cheaper than a big fine" slogan in the 1990s, and the one on the bus where the person who was listening to his personal radio had two headphone sockets in his radio - something they don't have in real life.

    Of course, my family was fully licenced with colour and black and white TVs in several rooms for decades - and TV Licensing knew that of course. We had a bit of a dilemma a few years ago during the overlap of moving from one address to another, but that was soon "ironed out" when we told the authorities about the situation. I did transfer the licence to my new address rather early.

    This is not a thread about whether you were caught without a TV Licence, but to talk about the menacing and sometimes scary adverts that were on in the past. I don't know, but the TV Licensing thing feel very much part of British culture. Even Coronation Street did storylines a few times over the years such as the Duckworths in 1984.

    Were these adverts scary or just a laugh at the end of the day?
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Rhondda Valley

    Default Re: TV Licensing adverts

    Did these TV detector vans actually work? All they had to do, was see how many houses were in a street, then check against the data base of registered licences. The BBC, or whoever was using these vans, have never explained how it's done.

    The one advert that seemed scary, to me has a young boy, was where they would seem to be using a hammer and chisel to break and enter to check on somebody using a TV without a valid licence. I don't think they could, and still can't, without a court issued warrant.

    I knew of several people who had a black & white licence for a colour TV for a year or so, before paying the full colour licence. One of the dodges, was to pay cash, then tell them a false address complete with postcode. Check in the telephone directory for name and address, memorise telephone number and check before hand at post office for postcode. This could only be done if you could take the TV from the shop with you. I myself, would not have had the nerve to do this.
    Who cared about rules when you were young?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Nottingham, UK

    Default Re: TV Licensing adverts

    The vans did seem to be hi-tech even for the 1970s and 1980s, but I bet that most of them were just jazzed-up Transit vans with various components inside - didn't the GPO look after TV Licence regulation prior to TV Licensing being an organisation in its own right? Just before BT was founded, I think.

    I have been watching a lot of television over Christmas (mostly The Queen, Top of the Pops and the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures), and as my own TV Licence that I inherited from my parents is renewed on 31st January each year, I thought that I would start this thread about what affects my life (and everyone else's for that matter).
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: TV Licensing adverts

    I have two highly technical articles about TV detector vans. The first is a Commer and the second a Leyland Sherpa. Both contain real working detection equipment that uses two antennas on the roof and a cunning piece of trigonometry to pinpoint a TV to an accuracy of a few feet.

    These vans are relics of the analogue era. I'm doubtful that modern vans have working detection equipment for digital TVs in them.

    There is EU legislation for how much EMI electronic devices can produce and no exception is made for TVs in order to enable them to be easily detected by detector vans. The article about the Leyland Sherpa even mentions how new (early 1980s) TVs produce far less EMI and are hard to detect with the old van. TVs made after 1994 are strictly limited how much EMI they can produce so will be even harder to detect even with more sensitive equipment.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default Re: TV Licensing adverts

    I did hear that TV Licensing people normally just check out the addresses without a licence on the system every now & again.

    One of my college tutors used to get around things by having a play only video connected to a computer monitor, getting friends to record programmes he wanted to see.

    I presume that was technically legal, but it might take some explaining.
    The Trickster On The Roof

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