The age of black and white TV licenses is not yet over – with 26 still in Ipswich

Around 9,000 still have black and white TV licenses in the UK

Around 9,000 still have black and white TV licenses in the UK - Credit: Archant

In an age of ultra-high definition smart TVs capable of browsing the internet, sometimes keeping things simple is all people ask for.

That might explain why there are still 26 households in Ipswich choosing to watch television in black and white.

Regular colour broadcasts in Britain were first introduced as long ago as July 1967, nearly 50 years ago, when then controller of BBC Two David Attenborough rushed to beat colleagues in Germany to the landmark by three weeks.

As TVs have both gained in popularity and improved in quality the issuing of black and white licences by TV Licensing has steadily declined.

But the organisation says there are still 9,000 households in the UK with monochrome sets, including those in Ipswich.

Martin Dyan, spokesman for TV Licensing, London and the South East, said: “It’s astounding that more than 26 households in Ipswich still watch on a black and white telly, especially now that over half of homes access TV content over the internet, on smart TVs.

“Whether you have the latest 4K TV or a black and white set from the 1970s, however, if you are watching or recording live television, then you do need a TV licence.”

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In 2000 there were 212,000 black and white TV licences in place across the country but by 2003 that number had shrunk to 93,000 and in 2006 the number stood at less than 50,000.

Despite the old analogue signal being switched off in stages over the last few years the older sets can be adapted with equipment which receives a digital signal, meaning they are still usable.

Jeffrey Borinsky, a television and radio technology historian, said: “There are hundreds of collectors like myself who have many black and white TVs; some of them are purists who won’t have this new-fangled colour TV in the house.

“We like the glow of valves, rich sound and wonderful warm smell of these old sets. It’s simply pure nostalgia and the joy of seeing old equipment still working in the internet age.

“Older people who grew up with black and white still love it and don’t see why they should throw away their perfectly good set to get colour they don’t even want.

Do you or a family member still watch on a black and white TV set? Contact the newsroom on 01473 324788 or email