People still watch black and white TVs in Norfolk

Wikipedia creative commons no copyright file

A family sit around to watch a black and white TV - like 25 households still do in Norfolk - Credit: Creative Commons

It might seem somewhat old hat in the age of high-speed wireless technology and smart phones that you can watch your favourite shows on.

But there are 25 households in Norfolk who still watch black and white tellies.

While their numbers are dwindling as parts run out to repair antique sets, TV Licensing says there were still 4,450 monochrome licences in force as of March 31, 2021.

They include 17 in the Norwich area, six in King's Lynn and two in Great Yarmouth.

PA library file dated 29/01/70 of Harry H Corbett (right) and Wilfrid Brambell, in the BBC sitcom, S

Harry H Corbett, right, and Wilfrid Brambell in the BBC sitcom Steptoe And Son, originally shot in black and white before moving on to colour - Credit: PA

Broadcast historian Jeffrey Borinsky said: "To watch in black and white only these days is quite hard work. Any black and white set is at least 30 years old, has probably gone wrong by now and won't work with most Freeview boxes."

While new sets can no longer be bought, they can be bought from online auction sites for around £100.

While they might not be all singing and dancing compared to today's latest tech, viewers who eschew colour are laughing all the way to the bank when it comes to the license fee, paying £53.50 a year compared to the £159 cost of a colour license.

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Mr Borinsky thinks some customers buy a black and white license to save themselves £100, believing the authorities would not bother coming to look for them - there is no suggestion any of the Norfolk households do so.

CORONATION STREET 1970 Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear) as first seen outside the Rovers. EADT 7.12.00. P

Julie Goodyear made her debut at the Rovers Return in Coronation Street in 1970 as colour TV was gaining a foothold in the nation's living rooms - Credit: Granada TV

"I think they're not bothering to chase them up because it's more trouble than it's worth," he said.

He said the number of black and white licences would continue to decline until it was scrapped.

Colour television images were launched by the BBC at the Wimbledon tennis tournament in July 1967.

Licences for colour TVs were introduced the following year, costing £10 - twice the price of a black and white one.

In March 1969, there were only 100,000 colour TV sets in use in the UK. By the end of 1969 this had doubled to 200,000 and by 1972 there were 1.6m.

Latest figures show there are around 26m licenses, along with around 50,000 prosecutions a year for license evasion.