More than 7,000 people across the UK still watch television in black and white, half a century after the advent of colour programming.
London has the largest number of black and white sets at 1,768, followed by West Midlands with 431 monochrome licences and Greater Manchester with 390. In total, 7,161 UK households have not switched over to colour transmissions.
The figures were released by TV Licensing “in what appears to be a reminder that anyone watching television must by law have a TV licence”, says the BBC.
The TV Licensing spokesman, Jason Hill, said: “Over half of the UK’s TVs now connect to the internet so it’s interesting that more than 7,000 households still choose to watch their favourite shows on a black and white telly.
Regular colour broadcasts “began on BBC Two in July 1967 with the Wimbledon tennis tournament”, says The Guardian. The number of black and white licences issued each year has since been in steady decline since. In 2000, there were 212,000 black and white TV licences but by 2003 that number had shrunk to 93,000. By 2015, the number had dipped below 10,000.
It is no longer possible to buy a new monochrome television set, though many are still offered for sale on sites such as Gumtree and eBay. The television and radio technology historian Jeffrey Borinsky said: “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?
“Thirty 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.”