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As colour TV turns 50 new figures reveal how many people in Great Yarmouth are still watching in black and white

PUBLISHED: 16:25 27 June 2017

The Wimbledon Tennis Championships marked the beginning of regular colour television in the UK. Photo: TV Licensing

The Wimbledon Tennis Championships marked the beginning of regular colour television in the UK. Photo: TV Licensing

TV Licensing

As colour TV turns 50 new figures reveal more than 8,000 households across the UK still watch programmes in black and white - and eight of them are in Great Yarmouth.

According to TV Licensing large urban areas hold the majority of black and white TV licences, with more than 1,500 in London followed by 377 in Birmingham and 276 in Manchester.

Almost 70 postcodes dropped out of the index in the past 18 months, including four in East Anglia.

Mark Whitehouse, TV Licensing spokesman, said: “It is striking that in an era of HD TV and spectacular true-to-life pictures, there are still more than 8,000 viewers, including eight in Great Yarmouth, content to watch spectacular programmes like The Night Manager and Planet Earth in monochrome.

“Whether you watch 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.”

MORE: Great Yarmouth woman still enjoys black and white television

While the figures reveal there may be life in the oldest TV equipment yet, BBC statistics indicate emerging technologies are changing the way many of us watch TV.

Fewer than 500 families had a colour TV set in 1967 when Australian John Newcombe took the Wimbledon Mens’ title in 1967.

However more than nine million people tuned in to watch Andy Murray contest the title last year.

A colour licence costs £147 and a black and white licence costs £49.50.

Black and white TV licences - the top 20

London 1596

Birmingham 377

Manchester 276

Glasgow 176

Leeds 138

Liverpool 131

Nottingham 105

Belfast 90

Sheffield 80

Omagh 80

Bristol 74

Bradford 68

Leicester 65

Coventry 59

Luton 53

Edinburgh 50

Dungannen 49

Cardiff 48

Bolton 47

Woverhampton 45

A history of colour TV

TV Licensing has published the National B&W Index to mark the 50th anniversary of colour broadcasts on BBC Two, which were first aired on 1 July 1967.

The Wimbledon Tennis Championships marked the beginning of regular colour television in the UK, with David Attenborough, then controller of BBC Two, announcing the channel would initially broadcast in colour about five hours a week.

Just a handful of colour sets were in use at the start of colour transmissions, but by 1968 most BBC Two programmes were in colour and by 1977, sales of colour TV licences had overtaken numbers of black and white licences.

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