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10 households in Southsea still watching television on black and white TV sets

New figures released today by TV Licensing show that after more than 50 years of colour transmissions, 10black and white TV Licences are still in force in Southsea, with 109 still in force across Hampshire as a whole.

According to this year’s figures, London leads the way with 1768 black and white licences, followed by West Midlands with 431 monochrome licences and Greater Manchester with 390 monochrome licences.

Among counties in the South East of England Hampshire had the third highest number of black and white viewers after Essex (140) and Kent (133), followed by Sussex (107) and Bedfordshire (84).

The top three towns and cities in Hampshire with the strongest preference for black and white viewing are Southampton (37), Portsmouth (12) and Southsea (10).

Nationally, 7,1611 UK households are still watching television via black and white TV sets, rather than enjoying modern classics like The Bodyguard, McMafia and Killing Eve, in full colour.

Despite an increase in the use of smart televisions, as well as tablets and smart-phones to access TV content, a surprising number of UK households are spurning 21st Century technology in favour of nostalgic monochrome TV sets.

The number of black and white licences issued each year has, however, steadily been declining. In 2000 there were 212,000 black and white TV Licences in force, but by 2003 that number had shrunk to 93,000. By 2015, the number had dipped below 10,000.


Cody Want, spokesperson for TV Licensing London and South East, said:

“Over half of the UK’s TVs now connect to the internet1, so it’s pretty interesting that more than 7,000 households still choose to watch their favourite shows on a black and white telly.”

“Whether you watch EastEnders, Strictly or Question Time in black and white on a 50-year-old TV set or in colour on a tablet, you need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record programmes as they are broadcast. You also need to be covered by a TV Licence to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer, on any device.”


Jeffrey Borinsky, a London-based television and radio technology historian, added:

“There are hundreds of collectors like myself who have many black and white TVs. Who wants all this new-fangled 4K Ultra HD, satellite dishes or a screen

that’s bigger than your room when you can have glorious black and white TV!”

“30 years ago you could still buy black and white TVs, mainly small portables, for as little as £50 and it’s interesting to know that some of people still have them”.

A licence is needed to watch or record live TV, on any device including a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, and to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.  Find when one is needed at


Black and White TV Licence – Top Lists

UK-Wide Mono licences in force Sep 2018
1. London 1768
2.West Midlands 431
3. Greater Manchester 390
4. West Yorkshire 281
5. County Antrim 165
6. County Tyrone 157
7. Merseyside 152
8. Essex 140
9. Kent 133
10. South Yorkshire 123


London and South East Mono licences in force Sep 2018
  1. London
  1. Essex
  1. Kent
4.    Sussex 107
5.    Bedfordshire 84
6.    Hertfordshire 78
7.    Surrey 71
8.    Buckinghamshire 63
8.    Berkshire 63
9.    Suffolk 35
10.  Oxfordshire 30


  1. TV Licensing: Mono licences in force, 30 Sep 2018
  2. 2018 Ofcom Media Nations report

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