back to article BBC Trust candidate defends licence fee, says evaders are CRIMINALS

The Government's choice for BBC chairman defended the licence fee, criminal penalties for non-payers, and digital "education" initiatives before MPs today. BBC executives will have been delighted by what former Pearson director Rona Fairhead told the DCMS Select Committee (if you have Silverlight installed, you can have a look …

  1. Andrew Moore

    Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

    I'd only agree with that if they dropped the adverts...

    1. Ben Liddicott

      Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

      Why? The BBC is full of adverts. Mostly for itself, but still.

      1. Ted Treen

        Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

        "...The BBC is full of adverts. Mostly for itself, but still..."

        Too many words.

        "The BBC is full of itself."

        There. Fixed it for you

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

        If you can't tell the difference between adverts and trailers then you prove yourself unqualified to comment.

    2. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

      Here in France there is a licence fee (which is added automatically to local taxes unless you can prove that you don't have a telly) *and* the channels it supports carry advertising.

      You don't know how good you've got it.


      1. Dr_N

        Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

        And 95% of the locally produced shows suck cul.

    3. NoneSuch Silver badge

      Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

      I'd like to see an "Ignorant Opinion" license fee. The nations debt would be paid off in two years just by members of the House of Commons.

    4. Daniel Hall

      Re: Licence fee to ITV and Channel 4...

      I doubt it will be long before someone finds an excuse to have ads on all BBC channels.

      I barely watch live TV because of them, usually record a show and watch later,

  2. Omgwtfbbqtime

    BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

    Science and Natural History?

    Someone better let Discovery know.

    1. Spasticus Autisticus

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      I've not seen a decent documentary on The Discovery Channel for years, it's full of odd Americans doing odd things to each other or themselves. While BBC 4 does some marvellous documentaries on all kinds of subjects.

      I really don't like the sound of this new girl though, if she deals with the liberal wussies that seem to run the BBC (and get rid of that idiot Katz who's wrecking News Night) then I'll think better of her.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      You mean the stuff that the BBC doesn't co-produce with Discovery, those Discovery-only productions with titles like "What if a Giant Asteroid the Size of the Moon Came from Outer Space and Hit the San Andreas Fault?"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      Somebody better let me know. Horizon used to be excellent, but has long since degenerated into repetitive mush.

    4. Rikkeh

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      Have you *watched* Discovery recently? It's all reality shows disguised as documentaries.

      Even Shark Week (originally designed to get people to respect and understand sharks rather than fear them) has descended into a "docufiction" about a prehistoric shark eating a pleasure boat (no, really!).

    5. Tiny Iota

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      Surely you mean the If-they’re-doing-it-in-Alaska-that’s-good-enough-for-us Channel.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...??????? Who says?

      And National Geographic, TLC, WNET (PBS) and any number of other providers of "quality" TV.

      (Although "quality" TV IS rather an OXYMORON). Let's not forget the documentaries that are privately produced either.

      The BBC certainly does not have a lock on the production of quality TV. Don't they produce Eastenders?

      Before the downvotes begin, I don't care for most television regardless who produces it.

    7. Graham Marsden
      Thumb Down

      @Omgwtfbbqtime - Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      No, someone should tell the people making documentaries for the BBC that they shouldn't copy Discovery et al and make an hour-long broadcast that could have been done in 20 minutes if it wasn't for all the padding, repetition and trailing of what is coming up...

    8. SkippyBing

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      It also doesn't explain a lot of the sub-ITV stuff they do like Home Under the Hammer, Scrappers and Mrs Brown's Boys.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

        "It also doesn't explain a lot of the sub-ITV stuff they do like Home Under the Hammer, Scrappers and Mrs Brown's Boys."

        Are you seriously implying that programs like Flog It cannot match the "sheer greatness" of Dickinson's real deal? Pull the other one, it's less painful.

    9. bex

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      I suggest you look at the discovery channels listings then get back to me

      1. CmdrX3

        Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

        Discovery hasn't discovered anything in quite some time other than Jim Bob Jr from Alibami And Tim Tom McGoober from Georgi have TVs and want to know what life is like in Alaski. History has found out that the only history we need to know about is buried somewhere in a storage locker and that the Ice Age involves trucks driving up and down on it. As for National Geographic... I honestly just have not the words. Oh yeah and the BBC can shove their licence fee up their Khyber pass.

    10. Sirius Lee

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      It's desperately disappointing these people are so disingenuous. A quick look at the list of 'Science & Nature' channel programs listed this morning (2014/09/10) on iPlayer shows that of the 22 programmes 18 are nature series and one of them from the 1950s and two are old David Attenborough series. Of the four non-nature 'science' programmes one is about the scary 'dark web', one about the 'romance of the Indian railways' (science, really?), one is by the long deceased Fred Dibnah (RIP) who climbed tall chimneys for a living and one about modern gadgets.

      This listing is not unusual and has been the way of the BBC for a long time now. The BBC no longer does Science. It does some nature. To be fair while the recent track record is poor there have been some notable exceptions: Bang Goes the Theory (vs Big Bang Theory); the two three part series by Jim Alkalili (Periodic table of the elements/Electricity); the three part series by Michael Mosely on Pain, Puss and Poison; the two series by Brian Cox and the couple of Horizon programmes hosted by Jem Stafford were all good. But that I can list them easily and were talking about, maybe 40 hours of programming it's not a great showing.

      Where is the real science? What happened to Horizon (mainly repeats or programmes 'diving into the archives'), Connections, Tomorrows World? Other channels seem to do it OK. Even Quest shows more new science stuff than the BBC (no not just endless re-runs of How's It Made).

      So if I want more science in my viewing diet I *have* to look elsewhere.

      1. DiViDeD

        Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

        "So if I want more science in my viewing diet I *have* to look elsewhere."

        Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but don't try looking in the direction od Discovery Science Channel. It seems the term 'science' only applies to weapons, gadgets and 'did you ever wonder how they make baseball bats?'

        Of course when science content is determined by admen and arts graduates we're stuffed before we start.

    11. chrspy

      Re: BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

      All the reasonable quality programmes that Discovery show were originally produced by the BBC!!!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

    Seriously considering cancelling it. Last week I watched 1 programmed, and it wasn't even one they made 1 new episode of Family Guy on BBC3.

    99% of their programming is no interest to me. I have no interest in soaps or reality TV, or the One Show, it's all total toss.

    I notice you don't need a TV licence to use iPlayer, so I might just cancel, and on the offchance there is something worth watching, catch it there. Right now, I feel dirty paying BBC £144 a year for them to piss it away on celebrity crap like Strictly Come Dancing.

    It seems like the Idiocray future is getting nearer and nearer...

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Quality tat

      What kind of quality is a matter of opinion. I still get threatening letters despite not having wasted my time watching shit in years.

      So someone is getting a result.

    2. Ken Darling

      Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

      Couldn't agree more. Gave up my license / television viewing when the BBC decided the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony was new and simultaneously broadcast it on BBC1 (sorry BBC One) and BBC News.

      And quite honestly I haven't really missed it at all. Nor has the rest of the family.

      It turns out we were watching out of habit rather than because there were outstanding programmes worth watching. Yes, we've watched iPlayer a couple of times - Dr Who and Great British Bake Off - but, just like normal television, we wouldn't miss it if we couldn't watch it... Indeed, the DVD player's implementation of iPlayer will be decommissioned at the end of the month, so I suspect the television's version will die shortly afterwards. No great loss.

      Amazon Prime Video will give us more choice and better choice at half the cost.

      This is the digital age; time the BBC introduced digital viewing cards. No pay, no view. I'd support that for iPlayer, too.

    3. BongoJoe

      Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

      We've got rid of ours years ago. And we don't miss it.

      For TV dramas there's always Netflix or even the iPlayer applications of the various channels.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

        I havnt watched anything on the BBC for ages. It has nothing of interest. I used to have sky and there were a few shows I watched on various channels but zip on the many BBC channels. I would like to see the tv tax disappear and I can guarantee a few of the BBC channels would go too because they offer nothing.

        Occasionally I have this discussion with someone and they tell me that it produces wonderful content because they are one of the few who watches something on it or is old enough to still think in only 3 channels. But if it was so good it would survive on its own without needing this tax. The last time I watched something on there was The Worricker Trilogy and I have no idea what I watched before that on the BBC.

      2. wowfood

        Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

        Haven't touched a license in a long time. I never watched much live TV before, and I don't really watch any live TV now. If there's anything I want to watch it's usually on crunchyroll or netflix. I made sure to contact them when I first moved in to tell them I didn't watch TV, but since I live in a flat I'm wondering how long it will be before I get the threatening "We know you have a TV and we know you're watching it" letters. I imagine they'll start in november time.

    4. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

      Stopped paying the license fee fifteen years ago for exactly this reason. Haven't missed it at all.

      1. chrspy

        Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

        But you're still paying even more annually towards the commercial channels - which presumably you can't get - every time you go shopping .......

    5. CJatCTi

      Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

      We only watch things via the iPlayer after it has been broadcast - but that is only 1 or 2 program max a week. So we don't have a license or an aerial connected to our TV, and for many younger people broadcast TV is an irrelevance.

      I do think it's stupid you can watch the iPlayer with out paying.

      When I lived in a mobile home - they wouldn't provide a licence as I didn't a postal address for it, just my work one & it wasn't there.

      The licence system is a mess.

    6. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      Re: Seriously considering cancelling it...

      You, can't. They won't let you do that!

    7. chrspy

      Re: BBC content is no longer worth the Licence Fee.

      BUt don't forget you'll still be paying towards all the commercial channels every time you go shopping .......

  4. flearider

    why must will still pay ?? I don't watch much telly but still have to pay £150 in this day and age ??

    yes I could go the I don't watch live telly and get away with it route ..but being forced to pay so the bbc can spend money on dribble ..oh and lets not forget about how much wages some of them get at our expense.. let em put adverts on to pay .. and within 6 months there would be a 40% reduction in staff they don't need ..

    rant over ..

  5. PaulWizard
    Thumb Down

    Of course!

    While working at Pearson she thought the BBC doing educational material was bad, now working for the BBC she thinks it's great. What is the going rate for an articulate puppet nowdays? I think we should have a reforendum on ditching the BBC tax, but we won't be given that chance cos they have no chance of winning that vote.

    1. ideapete

      Re: Of course!

      Stop slandering articulate puppets who work for a living, the lady doesn't qualify totally mediocre Beebette

  6. John Savard


    The telly tax in Britain is a flat tax, and means that poor people can't afford to have a TV set, which, in countries without such a tax, is often their only means of entertainment. Plus, lately, the tax has been applied to computer equipment because it can be used to watch streaming video, which cripples the adoption of technology, and forces companies to intrusively monitor employees.

    There should never have been a telly tax, just as the government should never have gotten in the business of collecting tithes for the Church of England.

    1. Technological Viking

      Re: Evil

      Worse yet than the fact that it's a flat tax, the argument for continuing the flat fee in the first place is that it can further people and propel them out of their squalorous lives! Tail-eating logic being fed by disingenuous leeches to pants-on-head regulators that will eat it up.

      Then again, I'm American and am pretty offended by the way our federal government leverages our local law enforcement against us using our money to force the locals to do something they didn't want to originally... Glass houses and all that.

      1. Russell Hancock

        Re: Evil @Technological Viking

        I read that as feral government - i think that may be more appropriate on both sides of the Atlantic!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Evil

      Most poor people have a Sky subscription, in addition to a TV license. Affordability is not usually the problem as such. It's priorities. The fee is affordable, but it may not be the most important thing for the money to go towards.

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime

        Re: Evil

        True, most of them would drop Sky before Benson & Hedges.

    3. Craigness

      Re: Evil

      The license is for the tv signals, not the equipment. It won't affect technology adoption except by idiots who don't read the details, and we're better off with them not using technology.

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. rhydian

        Re: Evil

        "A better idea would indeed be to fund the BBC with a tax on cable, satellite, and other subscription TV services."

        That's as sensible as the guardian columnist that argued that all broadband connections should be taxed to support newspapers.

        Why should the BBC be paid for by people who have decided that they'd rather watch something else?

  7. JaitcH

    Fairhead also defended criminal penalties for non-payers - and over 70 sent to jail.

    My late Mother lost much of her sight and aged 90 she was long without a TV set when a Thug from the TV licence gang banged on her door.

    He stated she was stealing TV signals and she should pay or go to court. Extremely upset and overwrought, being alone, she shut the door in this guys face.

    Sure enough, it proceeds to court. The only evidence in her defence was a video showing every corner of her house. No TV!

    Case dismissed.

    1. Chris Parsons

      Re: Fairhead also defended criminal penalties for non-payers - and over 70 sent to jail.

      I wonder who the curmudgeonly, low-life dipshit was that down voted you?

      1. rhydian

        Re: Fairhead also defended criminal penalties for non-payers - and over 70 sent to jail.

        The same bloke that used to drive the "TV Detector Van" around my local town.

        Said "TV Detector Van" was a long wheelbase Transit Minibus (you could see the seats through the tinted windows FFS)

        1. Number6

          Re: Fairhead also defended criminal penalties for non-payers - and over 70 sent to jail.

          The tale goes that in certain cities with a line of houses down a street, back gardens/yards that backed onto an alley, more back gardens, houses, street etc, the trick was to position someone at the end of the alley where he could observe all the yards, then drive a van clearly marked as a TV detector van slowly down the road. Then the guy at the back would observe all the men running out of their houses to hide the TV in the shed and note which houses they were. Then the team could go knock on the door, go out to the shed and find the still-warm TV (remember they had valves in back then), demonstrating that the TV detector van was so good it could detect the location of a TV even when switched off and hidden.

      2. Oninoshiko

        Re: I wonder who the curmudgeonly, low-life dipshit was that down voted you?

        probably the guy who got the door shut in his face!

    2. AlbertH

      Re: Fairhead also defended criminal penalties for non-payers - and over 70 sent to jail.

      My 89-year-old Father had two thugs from "TV Licensing" force their way into his home. They went from room to room looking for the non-existent TV, then accused him of "hiding it". They made the mistake of presenting their name badge "credentials" which my Father had the presence of mind to photograph on his mobile phone. He only got them out of his place by dialling 999 and asking for the Police....

      When they left, he found that his wallet (left on his bedside table) was lighter by £40.

      The two clowns were arrested later the same day, and each blamed the other for the theft. They both admitted "forced entry" to the premises without Warrant. Both are serving "18 months" (they'll be out in 6, of course), but the Police made sure that others in the prison were made aware of their former "jobs"!

  8. Number6


    It's a great shame that prosecuting the BBC for the behaviour of their licence department isn't really possible. Those who don't have a TV get harassed regularly and are sent bits of paper that accuse them of being criminals (with a get-out in the really small print at the bottom). Somewhere I still have the red "final demand" letter they sent me a few years ago with the "pay up in seven days or else" threat in big, unfriendly letters. I'm still waiting for the "or else". Even telling them you don't have a TV doesn't work, they still keep coming back.

    1. Oldgroaner

      Re: Harassment

      I have had an amusing few minutes each month for several years when I receive the latest scum-mail from Crapita -- it goes in a cycle, reaching a climax of 'what to expect when you're in court' and then bathetically subsides to the initial communication. Provides me with one useful fire-lighter per month.

    2. proto-robbie
      Big Brother

      Re: Harassment

      Irrespective of the need for a state funded TV channel, I can't see why this could not be dealt with by the usual tax system, rather than a separate TV Licensing organisation, which last year guzzled £100M collecting the Beeb's £3.7 billion. Much simpler, cheaper and nicer for the Chancellor to pay the Beeb directly (less the £100M of course).

    3. Christoph

      Re: Harassment

      The BBC are so totally incompetent that they cannot seem to grasp the idea that there are many people in this country who do not have a television set and do not want a television set. I know several other people who do not have one.

      They have been harassing me for years, even to threatening to "come back with a warrant" - which would involve them perjuring themselves to the magistrates to get that warrant.

      I do not want their product. Why should I have to put up with their arrogant, ignorant, incompetent salesmen continually harassing me to try to get me to buy their product? They make spammers look good!

    4. Craigness

      Re: Harassment

      I've had no license for 7 years. They used to send a letter every year, asking me to help them keep their records up to date. I told them I don't care about their records and they left me alone. What does one have to do to get a visit?

      1. Dr Paul Taylor

        Re: Harassment

        I get a letter about once a month, alternately a "reminder" in black print and a "demand" in red. I ignore them all. It is unsolicited mail. I don't reply to the pizza leaflets to tell them that I don't eat pizza, so why should I reply to the TV licensing authority? I am not their customer, I don't want to be on their database. At least while it is a criminal issue there has to be "proof beyond reasonable doubt" but if it is decriminalised then administrators will be able to impose penalties without due process.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Harassment

      Not owned a TV since 2005, when I went bankrupt and decided I couldn't afford the telly-tax. Got used to life without a TV, and now, don't actually want one any more.

      Queue mothly letters from Capita. When they got no terrified response off me, queue monthly visits from their 'inspectors' who tried to tell me that I had a PC, and since the PC could access the BBC programs online, I needed a licence. Asked him to show me where it said that, in the law. Even pulled up the law for him on that very same PC. He went away empty handed.

      It got so much, with monthly visits, I sought, and obtained a restraining order. They can't write to me or visit for a period of 3 years, unless they have actual evidence that I am operating a TV receiver. Sadly that 3 year period is now almost over, so I'm expecting them back with a vengeance.

      Capita act like this, because they are a private company, that gets paid a substantial bonus for every 'evader' they get to pay up, and a slightly smaller bonus for every 'evader' they get convicted.

      Anonymous so as not to anger Capita's goons even more.

    7. Chris Parsons

      Re: Harassment

      Some woman from the TVLA wrote to me when I explained that the principle of common law in this country was innocent until proven guilty. She said that she understood that was the case, but experience had shown that most people who said they didn't have a licence were liars, so they had to check. I replied saying that I thought her tax declarations were most likely dishonest and I wanted to come to her house to check her books, and I never heard from them again. Bastards.

  9. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    I wonder what it is she's been smoking.

  10. jason 7

    The in a reputation for quality it lost a long time ago.

    Most of their output isn't even written or designed for the UK License payers. It's mostly created for worldwide export.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Rikkeh

        Re: The in a reputation for quality it lost a long time ago.

        They are in a huge bind though- on the one hand they won't be legitimate if they're unpopular, given how wide the licence base is (hence programmes like Strictly, Mrs Brown's Boys etc). On the other hand, to be legitimate as a public service broadcaster, they've also got to go with highbrow stuff for the artsy liberals and take risks for the "it must correct market failure" people.

        The problem is, finding something that ticks all these boxes at the same time is pretty much impossible and so people who firmly occupy one corner of the triangle will always criticise the programmes that pander to either of the other two corners and not their own.

        Any Government of recent years however should note that the Beeb and the Licence Fee are far more popular than they are- fewer than 25% of the population voted Tory and support for the licence-funded BBC has never dropped below this. I'd argue that, until these different levels of support change round, any governmental dismantling what's become a cornerstone of modern Britain won't be legitimate.

        That being said, the Licence Fee people are nuts- unable to accept that you don't own a TV. The only way to deal with them is to respond to their Kafkaesque nonsense with Dadaist replies.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't watch live TV.

    Have never received a demand.

    Programmes are largely crap and the pay is off the scale. They can shove it.

    1. Bleu

      ... but do you watch

      dead TV?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Criminals? Where

    In the UK if you do not watch or record live TV then you have no legal requirement to purchase a TV license.

    The BBC calling these people "criminals" is an insult to many voters.

    The BBC have WASTED hundreds of millions of pounds of licence payers money.

    The BBC have been involved in covering up criminal activity.

    There is suggestion that the BBC invented the chemical weapon news story, as reported by RT news, this leads me not to trust the BBC news.

    Overall the BBC to me is not an organisation that is fit in my opinion to be funded by such a tax, in fact i would recommend people detune their televisions and use free online content on demand and services such as netflix to watch better content legally without the requirement of a license.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Criminals? Where

      Yes, but the BBC doesn't call 'these people "criminals"'. The people it calls criminals are those who do watch TV without a license.

      So your argument basically falls at the first fence.

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Semtex451

    Really good science programmes? My shiney metal ass, name them, name one?

    Now, if only there was an El Reg channel, called Vulture Central

    1. Lionel Baden

      Tomorrows world was ok.

      All its replacements are complete shite, e.g. gadget man ?!?!?

  15. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    I regulate you: Instant superiour content!

    an unregulated TV market involves a race to the bottom

    I can't even fathom what the "unregulated" adjective has to do with a "race to the bottom". Yes people want to watch low-brow stuff and this includes BBC "science". But so what?

  16. rhydian


    "It ensures independence, universal service for a universal fee and ensures creative freedom"

    Independence? The telly tax simply ensures loyalty to the government of the day, not independence.

    Universal service? I'll give them that, but its only as a hangover of being given the best spectrum and the best transmitter sites back in the day (Radio/TV) or OFCOM licence requirements (TV EPG listings). DAB coverage is still far from universal despite their latest transmitter roll outs.

    Creative Freedom? Then why are so many of their programmes (especially daytime) so formulaic and identical to those produced by commercial rivals?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re: Independence?

        Rotherham has probably rendered that defence irrelevant.

        PC public sector institutions find it difficult to hold other PC public sector institutions accountable. It was Andrew Norfolk (at a hated 'Murdoch paper') that pursued the story.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Re: Independence?

            Are you for real?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not bad value really

    That £145 sounds like a large amount of money - until you compare it to the alternatives. It would buy you stuff all on Sky, for example (and you'd still have to sit through adverts). There are some very valid questions about the licence fee, not least the criminal aspect of not paying it rather than a civil liability, but it still delivers far better quality for the cost than any other arrangement I've seen.

    1. rhydian

      Re: Not bad value really

      So many people make the sky argument/comparison but miss the basic fact.

      I don't *have* to pay Sky/VM/BT to watch live TV

      I *have* to pay the BBC.

      1. Lionel Baden

        Re: Not bad value really

        I don't *have* to pay Sky/VM/BT to watch live TV

        I *have* to pay the BBC.

        Wrong ! take down your Arial, put up a sky dish. done. No BBC payment needed.

        Since moving into a new build we were told that it would cost about £200 about to get a arial put in. Said no thanks, told the license fee people that I cant get the signal anyway. they asked if they could inspect the property at some point to which i agreed, never heard from them since.

        1. rhydian

          Re: Not bad value really

          "Wrong ! take down your Arial, put up a sky dish. done. No BBC payment needed"

          The equipment (dish, receiver/decoder) is equipment being used for receiving live television broadcasts, therefore by law it needs a licence.

          I could have the decoder plugged in to my TV and use it as a media server with no problems. The second I plug a dish in to it (or technically an internet connection) and watch a live broadcast from anywhere its licence time.

        2. Brenda McViking

          Re: Not bad value really

          Sorry Lionel, it's you who are wrong.

          If you watch ANY television programmes as they're being broadcast even without an aerial, if you don't pay the BBC telly tax, you're breaking the law.

          That includes internet streaming, sky programmes via satellite dish, periscope into the neighbours living room - any equipment which can recieve a broadcast (an aerial is just one type of such equipment, your dish is another), and it doesn't have to be a BBC broadcast either - which is why it is so ridiculous.

          Personally, if you watch sky through a dish, I'd buy a TV licence if you don't want a fine. And next time, don't pander to their inane requests - there is only one reason for them, and that is to use against you in court - they serve no other purpose whatsoever.

          1. Lionel Baden

            Re: Not bad value really

            Fair enough :)

          2. AlbertH

            Re: Not bad value really

            If you watch ANY television programmes as they're being broadcast even without an aerial, if you don't pay the BBC telly tax, you're breaking the law.

            If I watch either by satellite or by interweb, it is NOT "live" - there is a huge delay, so I'm (effectively) watching a recording. It's exactly the same reason that digital CCTV cannot be used for traffic enforcement actions - the "infringement" cannot be "recorded contemporaneously".

    2. king of foo

      Re: Not bad value really

      I disagree.

      £145/12= £12 per month

      That's extortionate when compared with "non live TV" alternatives Amazon prime and Netflix costing HALF THAT.

      Sky is not a fair comparator as a premium is charged for sport and movies, and exclusive content from the likes of hbo that would never be broadcast by the BBC.

      I used to watch BBC breakfast before work and of course the news, and the f1 before they sold most of it to sky, but now I don't watch any BBC content. I should cancel. The BBC should be VERY AFRAID - I hadn't realised it was possible to stop paying, and I won't be alone... crap I don't watch vs BOTH Netflix and Amazon prime for the same money? No brainer.

      1. Just Enough
        Thumb Down

        Re: Not bad value really

        So you have a problem comparing the BBC to Sky, but are fine comparing it to Amazon and Netflix?

        Amazon and Netflix ;

        - do not produce current affairs, news 24/7

        - do not produce national and local radio

        - have a tiny fraction of UK produced output

        - have a tiny fraction of original content

        And the premium for Sky sport; whose fault is that? Sky created a market where the likes of the Premier league can charge millions for games. If it wasn't for Sky collecting millions from mugs, and then bidding up the rights for the games to silly money, then no-one would have to pay a "premium" for Sky Sport.

        1. king of foo

          @irrelevant response

          You do not need a TV licence to listen to the radio just like you don't need one to go for a dump.

          And I wasn't comparing content, but...

          UK produced original content like "strictly come wanking"? Actually, that I'd watch. On channel 5.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC attitude

    is that anyone who uses iPlayer only (for non live TV) is dodging the license also, which obviously is incorrect, and says much about them

  19. John Robson Silver badge


    "There are five per cent of people who don't pay - so the funding available to make those quality programmes is less by £200m (sic). The criminalisation does ensure the payments are made."

    5% of people don't pay - fair enough. How many of those watch live TV broadcasts.

    I don't pay, but then I don't watch live broadcasts either, so that's £145 you can take out of the £200m. Neither do a couple of colleagues at work - so that's another couple of fee's you're overestimating the shortfall by.

    Remind me of the Hollywood Mafia.

  20. HMB

    Crap > Distinctive Programming

    "BBC produces quality TV that the market can't [comrade]."

    Having watched some PBS stuff on Netflix it seems clear to me that it's unfortunately true that the BBC does excel in certain areas. The PBS stuff was good, don't get me wrong, but no one on the PBS documentary about Nikola Tesla tried to explain that shooting power wirelessly through the sky would be an RF nightmare, let alone the possible damage caused by the energy leaking from the system. I'm sure the 'beeb' would have.

    But then, it also produces shows that seem to just be re-jigged variations of commercial formats. Why are we all being forced to pay for those?

    Seems to me like the BBC is trying to give us just what the market does and then some extra good bits on top. Though when it comes to rationalising this crazy payment system that goes against the core belief of our nation of operating a free market economy, only the extra good bits on top get used to defend the BBC.

    I'm sick of being treated like an idiot by these people.

    As if to prove my point, I find myself reaching for a BBC clip to prove my point! (Have I Got News For You clip)

  21. Infury8r

    Arrogant BBC

    The arrogance of the BBC is clearly demonstrated when you want to buy a 'new' licence non-consecutive with an old licence via its preferred route - its website. For example, if you've been away on holiday or business.

    It refuses to allow a start date in the future; it insists the start date be consecutive.

  22. Mephistro

    (if you have Silverlight installed, you can have a look here)

    Or better yet, remove Silverlight!

  23. Christian Berger

    I'd gladly pay for the BBC...

    .... but they won't let me. The only thing I can get is hugely overpriced BluRays from BBC video.

    1. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: I'd gladly pay for the BBC...

      When they recently repeated the "I Claudius" series I missed quite a few of them, When I tried to buy a box set of DVDs from the BBC they were not available.

      Do I have to search for a torrent?

  24. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The BBC's commercial success

    > the BBC produces quality TV that the market can't...

    Yes, it can. But 60% of it's TV budget goes on BBC1 - one single channel. And that channel screens the same sort of ratings-chasing content that any commercial broadcaster with a guaranteed £1.4Bn a year to spend on a single channel and no need to make a profit from advertising, would make.

    Sure, the other £1Bn of the TV budget goes to making some nice (and low-cost) documentaries. Most of which consist of electronic mood music, a slightly well-known "personality" on a metaphorical and often physical journey ("I want to find out about ... so I'm going to ... to meet someone who can tell me - presumably because I can't just phone them") that might just tell the GCSE crowd something they didn't know before.

    There are also a few (remaining) arts programmes that might just, on a good day, give the Sky Arts 1&2 channels a run for their money. But once you get past these middle-brow contributions to the intellectual wellbeing of the entire nation, there's not really that much left. (Unless you like Celebrity Antiques Road Trip)

    Except that is, for the BBC's two secrets to its success. The things that makes it stand out, virtually alone, from every other TV enterprise on the planet: it's guaranteed income, come good times or bad and it's lack of commercial breaks interrupting the shows. Without those features, it would be indistinguishable from any other broadcaster, no matter how many episodes of Dr. Who it made.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The BBC's commercial success

      There are other countries with a government funded TV channel, where public service programs, culture, documentaries etc, funded from general taxation instead of a separate FLAT licence fee. Funding public service broadcasting from general taxation is a much FAIRER system than in UK. One example is BRAZIL. There the poor are a much larger proportion of population than in the UK and the Brazilian Government know they will be onto a loser trying to extract TV tax off the poorer segments of society, expecially in the huge favellas.

      1. DiViDeD

        Re: The BBC's commercial success

        Direct funding by the government might be considdred fair. However, here in Oz we have the dear old ABC, either a hotbed of right wing neanderthals, or a den of thinly disguised communist sympathisers, depending on what colour of government is currently cutting its funding and demanding job cuts, better programmes and a better press for our current gov.

        ABC homegrown programmes are generally dire (with a few surprising exceptions), and the only way they can fill the schedules every night is BBC programmes supplied at reduced rates by Auntie.

        Having seen how government funding can stifle a tv channel, I have to give my vote to the Beeb.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. license "evaders"

    As everyone knows, the TV license is the modern version of the Poll Tax.

    Should be abolished to punish "Sneaky Uncle Beeb" for the Savile and other atrocities and for covering up rampant pederasty in it

  26. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Big Brother


    wait until you get rid of the TV and dont pay the licence......

    You thought mad John "break ya legs" Turner the loan shark was into harrassment when you did'nt pay him his 25 quid a week, hes got nothing on the licence enforcers..

  27. Richard 126

    Haven't had a tv in 20 years, still regularly get harassed approx every 2 months to get a license with threats of court action. Inspectors always get the door closed in their face. Never yet proceeded to court action. Wonder what it costs the BBC to harass me and people like me and if it is actually worth doing?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > Asked whether she was concerned by the BBC's own polling that suggested one in five "wouldn't miss the BBC" and one in four don't think it's value for money, Fairhead responded by telling MPs they should look at the full part of the glass.

    So, erm Fairhead's response is, in actual fact, "Ignore them.".

    He'll fit right in.

  29. Stuart Grout

    Streaming is a better & cheaper alternative

    I gave up on broadcast TV years ago and apart from a few quite friendly visits from their investigation people it's been no bother. When they knocked on the door they were quite surprised when I just invited them in and showed them around. They haven't been back since.

    Now I subscribe to Netflix for around £70 a year and could subscribe to Amazon Prime for a similar amount at the same time. This would give a better range of film and video than you ever get from the BBC for comparable costs.

    I can't say I miss the BBC in the slightest as I very rarely even bother with the iPlayer.

  30. DavCrav

    Not Establishment?

    "I wouldn't count myself as an Establishment figure and I am independent of mind and of view. I represent the audience," she had insisted earlier."

    Hmm. [clickety] Rona Fairhead, born Rona Haig, went to Yarm Grammar School (est. 1590), then St Catharine's College, Cambridge. President of the University Law Society, and a double first in law. MBA from Harvard, stints at Morgan Stanley, BAe, ICI, Pearson and the FT.

    If she isn't an Establishment figure, who is?

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Not Establishment?

      Nobody has ever considered themself to be part of "the Establishment". It's one of those things, like "conventional wisdom" or "politically correct", that you only mention at all if you're claiming to be against it.

      At various times I've heard people argue, in all apparent sincerity, that William Rees-Mogg, Lord Reith, Robert Runcie, and the Queen were all "profoundly anti-Establishment" figures. It's as empty a claim as it's possible to make, while still uttering something that sounds like words.

  31. Chris G

    I like this woman

    She knows what she wants and make no bones about it.

    She wants the job and she is willing to tell her potential bosses whatever they want to hear for her to get the job! (even if it is bollocks)

    From the sound of her she may be in favour of fitting a camera into all TV receivers so that the Beeb can watch the watchers, after all they are all potential criminals if they want to avoid paying to watch the high quality that consists of mostly soaps and repeats.

    I have never been able to 'get' a public (non profit) trust criminalising people for not paying for it's massive budget that is pissed away on high pay for it's bosses and ridiculous severance fees for those it employed mistakenly or no longer wants.Oh and IT schemes that never come to fruition!

    1. MrZoolook

      Re: I like this woman

      "I have never been able to 'get' a public (non profit) trust criminalising people for not paying for it's massive budget that is pissed away on high pay for it's bosses and ridiculous severance fees for those it employed mistakenly or no longer wants.Oh and IT schemes that never come to fruition!"

      Sounds like central government.

  32. JeffyPoooh

    The BBC Brain Trust should consider...

    Canada calling:

    I'd be more than happy to pay about $100 to $120 per year for the ability to fully access all BBC radio and television output via the Internet. For example, I want HD quality, no commercials, full length Top Gear at the same time it is playing on BBC TV. I want access to the BBC iPlayer with a login, and no more 'Not Available In Your Area'. All the documentaries. All the nice TV shows.

    Please note - I *want* to pay. I'm sure I'm not the only one of 7B around the planet.

    One key part would be to steadfastly ignore any local demands that such services be licensed.

    1. wx666z

      Re: The BBC Brain Trust should consider...

      I live in the US., south of the Mason-Dixon line, and would cheerfully pay the BBC for online access .legally. I already have Netflix and Hulu, just can't wait months for Doctor Who. and yes I pre-order thru Amazon....

      1. Charles Osborne

        Re: The BBC Brain Trust should consider...

        Add another potential viewer/subscriber in the state of Oregon.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bollocks Broadcating Corporation

    Time to get rid of our State broadcaster.

    99% is total garbage and the other 1% is given over to our tosspot politicians,

    Let it go commercial and if it doesn't survive so what.

  34. Hargrove

    Thank you, Brits!

    As a Yank (called that because of the way we are always getting yanked around by the whatnots by those who govern) it is consoling to realize that we are not alone. I was also heartened to see, reading Ms. Fairhead's statements, that--at least amongst our politicians--we are no longer two peoples divided by a common language. Her statements are indistinguishable from her counterparts in the USofA.

    As to the value--£145.50, depending on what it buys you in terms of programming, that doesn't sound all that steep compared to what I would have to pay for, say, a block of sports programming or movie channels on cable or satellite. The main difference is that I don't have to buy them if I don't want them, and the national government doesn't threaten to jail me for not buying them.

    Still it must be nice to live in a country where life is so safe, peaceful and serene that watching the tele without paying the government it's fee is considered so heinous an offence as to warrant criminal prosecution by the national government.

    What we have on both sides of the pond is a total loss of perspective and reason on the part of those who govern.

    1. MrZoolook
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Thank you, Brits!

      "As to the value--£145.50, depending on what it buys you in terms of programming, that doesn't sound all that steep..."

      Except what it buys you has been aired a hundred times before, or has 'celebrities' on it that cost so much, the program itself has no actual production cost because there is no budget left in the BBCs otherwise infinite cash cow.

      "...compared to what I would have to pay for, say, a block of sports programming or movie channels on cable or satellite."

      Your missing the main point here. If we want any of that stuff, we have to pay the satellite fee IN ADDITION to the licence fee. The licence is paid for the privilege of using a TV, even if we pay for (and only watch) a subscription service, such as Sky. In fact, even if you can conclusively prove that the BBC reception is so bad, you cannot possibly watch BBC channels, you still have to pay the licence fee if you watch ANY live TV. This is what my problem is with the fee, the BBC reap the benefits from not even having to produce decent television programs. In fact, they can reap the benefits from OTHER suppliers providing a better service.

      "The main difference is that I don't have to buy them if I don't want them, and the national government doesn't threaten to jail me for not buying them."

      So to put it another way, you have the better deal after all.

      Paris, because her service is much like the BBC... flakey at best.

      1. fishbone

        Re: Thank you, Brits!

        Thanks for the understanding, that is bollocks (hope I spelled it and used the word correctly)

    2. fishbone

      Re: Thank you, Brits!

      Hear hear,pip pip or whatever is said there change the currency designator to dollars and that's the average to low monthly bill received in my part of southern California. Hopefully you can get a respectable amount of enjoyment from it, not just vids of TV police taking 'em tto the pokey for a poking.

  35. Ilmarinen
    Thumb Down

    Should be broken up and sold

    An independant, truthful and unbiased broadcaster might justify a compulsary licence charge. Sadly, the Beeb is none of these things - more like the broadcast arm of the loss making Guardian newspaper. Leftist, statist and with its "naratives" and agenda.

    Not fit for purpose, a waste of money. Break it up and sell it off.

  36. Fihart

    Little of worth on TV.

    Less that's worth the licence fee. As for commercial TV -- the ad breaks grow, the ads grow in idiocy.

    Seems that TV was a 20th century phenomenon, killed off by greed and stupidity.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Black and white license here.

    Keeps the bastards at bay and she can watch her soaps.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Compromise

      "Black and white license here."

      How does that work? IIRC you need a colour licence if you can receive or record colour broadcasts. Since going digital,even if you have managed to keep an ancient BW telly going, it's still working via a digital adaptor box which works in colour. Doubly so if you record any of the shows.

    2. MisterD

      Re: Compromise

      If you have a b&w license, I hope you only have a b&w set. With no license the Capita/TVL thugs have no automatic right of entry to your home and must apply for a warrant to force entry, but one of the T&C in the license is that you agree to allow them access to inspect your equipment. Don't use B&W license to dodge full fee, it's a trap!

      1. Conundrum1885

        Re: Compromise

        That is easily remedied.

        Most digiboxes I've taken apart have a single 27 MHz crystal controlling everything, but the part which sets the colour burst frequency is a separate crystal in the tunerhead normally 8.867532 MHz; take that out and voila, no colour!

        Added advantage: No obnoxious colour pattern noise on the B/W recording so you can now get 6 hours on an ELP VHS tape (assuming you want to go old school) and stores for much longer until the tape physically falls apart (ie decades).

        If they want to get all awkward give them some tapes to take for "inspection" to prove lack of colour.

        And watch theirs drain after their cash cow bites the dust!!!

  38. Bleu

    Praising sliced bread

    only displays a general lack of taste.

  39. paul481

    Once can expect a fat cat (tory) candidate (got over £1million payoff from Pearsons this year acc. to wikipedia) to defend an inequitable regressive FLAT TV TAX, used to rob the poor to pay indefensibly gross salaries to 'celbrities', who as we have seen, given full "licence" to abuse their power over the vulnerable. One look at the balance of views expressed in replies to this article shows her claim is false. She should be ashamed at peddling such lies to parliament about the population being happy with a FLAT fee. Just look at the riots caused by Maggies attempts to force a FLAT FEE Poll Tax on everyone, to effectively rob the poor to pay the rich.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    12 years and counting

    Gave up wasting my time watching TV. BBC idents were getting on my nerves. Horizon dumbed down. Wall to wall reality programming and other drivel filling the schedules. At least I've not had to put up with a party political broadcast in years.

    I do however have to put up with TV Licence busybodies who can't believe that it is perfectly possible to survive without watching TV. The last time I watched a film (on DVD) was about 6 months ago.

    Scrap the licence fee. The BBC can sink or swim in the commercial sector.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Think you overestimate goverments' fear of the beeb.

    The BBC dominates news consumption in the UK, and wise governments don't upset the mighty media corporation if they can help it.

    Maybe you haven't been living in the same UK as me for the last few decades, but I remember things like Tebbit's "Media Monitoring Unit", Dossiergate, and the recent charter renegotiations, that make me think that governments have been perfectly happy to play very hardball with the beeb indeed.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Think you overestimate goverments' fear of the beeb.

      Hardball on funding? That's as hard as it got.

      Hardball on political pressure: yes, an unelected official on behalf of the ruling party succeeding in forcing out the DG and Chairman. So much for independence, when push comes to shove.

  42. Private Citizen.AU

    UK£145 - you have got to be kidding.

    Your national asset needs to drop the price for the average punter or get their licence fee paid from budget and dump the costs of licence enforcement.

    Australia removed the fee in 1974, funded the ABC/SBS from budget. Every year the pollies argue about the ABC bias (ie. reporting what the politicians do rather than their spin) and they threaten the budget allocation. So there is a genuine risk to editorial independence.

    ABC/SBS currently get AUD$1.3Billion (equates to about AUD$60/UK£30 each), together they provide 9 digital TV stations/ 9 national radio stations to a whole continent across 3 time zones, 1 international radio station and 60 local radio stations.

    Granted we cannot match the production output of the BBC , but one would argue UK£145 is producing a lot of shows that most punters would not watch, and the foreign sales should subsidise the licence after all the punters made it possible.

    I suppose a 4 person household would cost (AUD$240/UK£120) but there are only 23 million Aussies vs. 64 million UK viewers you should at least be getting an economy of scale.

  43. DiViDeD

    The BBC deserve the licence fee.

    Just imagine the alternative. If produced by a commercial channel, a high quality show like Doctor Who would rapidly descend into abandoning quality, well thought out scripts in favour of OTT special effects, lots of explosions and sexual innuendo.

    Oh wait . . .

  44. David Gale

    Questionable legality?

    Is it possible for this establishment pillock to be more out of touch? Each year, over 400,000 additional people ditch the TV licence. If they don't act soon, there'll be nothing left to save.

    You want to pay for BBC programming? Be my guest. I don't watch it (Netflix only) and I don't see any reason why I should pay for a service that I don't use.

  45. Christian Berger

    To those who think the BBC is bad...

    ... I dare you watch German TV. German TV mostly consists of dumb people shouting at you, and talk show where industry and political leaders get to spread their propaganda.

    There's even something called "scripted reality" shows, where ordinary people are filmed in a way making them appear like filthy scum.

    It just seems like German TV saw "The Year of the Sex Olympics" as a manual.

  46. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Subliminal Organ of Desperate Government in a Digitally Led Environment Needs ...

    ... IntelAIgent Feeds and SMARTR Seeds

    It was as if the former Pearson exec had been told not to ruffle feathers ahead of the 2015 Election. (The BBC dominates news consumption in the UK, and wise governments don't upset the mighty media corporation if they can help it).

    The BBC [British Brainwashing Corporation] dominates news presumption in the UK and wise governments don't upset mighty media corporation if they can help it. Such as are the present austere pictures being painted by Blighty blighters then provides all the valid information required for one to rightly conclude that current media players are unfit for future Greater IntelAIgent Games purpose in the Live Operational Virtual Environment.

    It is certainly just and natural the case that they shall not be unopposed and deserve to be digitally unchallenged at every twist and turn of and in what will be the Ab Fab Fabless Voyages ahead.

    And given what we have just learned of/from the Government's choice for BBC chairman, former Pearson director Rona Fairhead, defending the licence fee, criminal penalties for non-payers, and digital "education" initiatives before MPs, are those battles guaranteed lost for the government because of such a wrong headed choice.

    And sad though it is to say, is such PAR for recent government courses.

  47. xyz Silver badge

    As someone who doesn't have a licence anymore...

    I'm currently under the "he's a criminal" cosh. I'm selling my house (stc), don't have a telly anymore and don't live there, however that doesn't stop Capita's commission only goons* pestering me on the phone (how they got my mobile number is another thing) to the point I've blocked them. My house is "under investigation" with dire threats of the plague and death in BOLD RED CAPS. The upshot of all this is that Capita can do jack unless they get a court warrant.

    *TVL outsource to Capita who use commission only agents (i.e. paid by results salesmen) to get the cash off you. For more info just google tvlicenceresistance

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Doesn't bother me personally, I lose more cash down the back of the sofa every month.

    I quite like the BBC content, Top Gear, some of the Drama is fantastic - love to chill out with a Pint & Strictly on a Saturday night - even more so now that they've got rid of Brucey.

    The continual adverts for their own products is a tad annoying, but then I switch over to ITV, Sky or one of the other cable channels & soon appreciate being able to watch a program for more than 5 minutes at a time....

    I do hate the News though, it's nowhere near as impartial as it should be - there is always a "goodie" and a "baddie". A bit of proper reporting wouldn't go amiss.

  49. All names Taken

    Principle or Reciprocity?

    Can we apply a principle of reciprocity to this in the sense that if licence fee avoiders end up criminalised can BBC people making wasteful use of licence fee also end up being criminalised?

  50. Rob 44

    Stuff the License.

    I don't watch a single second of TV. My other half may watch maybe an hour a month. And they want us to pay 150 for that? They can get stuffed.

    Its not just the crap they peddle that puts me off. Its also the fact that I'm funding things I can't watch or listen to. BBC Asian radio? I can't speak Punjab or Bengali. BBC America? Why are we funding a channel you can only watch in the states?

    There are plenty of other reasons too, terrible programming, biased news reports etc etc. The BBC has become nothing more than a machine for spitting out propaganda.

    They love harping on about how terrible the health service is and agreeing with the Tory line that it should be sold off and privatised. But no opposing reasons for why it shouldn't be. No exposes showing how the current government is purposely messing it up to make themselves and their friends in the private health sector a nice fat easy profit. No mention of the tens of thousands who regularly protests against the destruction of the NHS.

    What about their lack of impartiality with other things too. How come its OK to have guests who will sit and criticise Hamas and validate Israels wholesale murder of innocents, bit anyone defending the innocent people in Palestine is immediately told to shut up and stop talking. Tony Ben for example, was stopped live on air when he tried to publicise a charity that can help he people of Palestine. Or the rapper they censored and blanked out him saying "free Palestine".

    There's nothing honest or unbiased or even good about the BBC anymore. Its just another gravy train for fat cats to bump up their CV and make a nice bit of easy cash in the process. Its also nothing more than a government mouthpiece.

    Time to shut it down and remove it.

  51. Rob 44


    Do we get a cut of the merchandising sales of books, magazines, DVD's, toys etc etc etc?

    Oh no, they are a non commercial organisation. They couldn't possibly be profiting from the service WE pay for.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Hmm..

      "Do we get a cut of the merchandising sales of books, magazines, DVD's, toys etc etc etc?"

      Yes. Without the profits from BBC Worldwide, the licence fee would be 10-20% higher so "we" get a share of those profits by them being re-invested back into the BBC.

      I'm not saying I agree with the licence fee, but it's nice to work with facts rather than wild speculation implying that "someone else" is getting dividends from BBC Worldwide "profits".

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  52. chrishansenhome

    I'm forced to watch the BBC at the hospital

    When I go to my regular clinic appointment, I'm forced to watch some of the drivel that passes for game shows on the BBC. It's heartbreaking to realise that there are so many stupid pillocks available for the Beeb to rein into making fools of themselves.

    I rarely watch live TV, and only within the last month have I been able to receive over the air broadcasts, once the tall building between me and Crystal Palace was demolished. So I have Sky (boo, hiss) only for the reception. The Beeb is overpriced, oversold, and not worth the £145+ a year that I pay. Its executives and "stars" are paid astronomical sums to push drivel through the airwaves.

    The government is now saying that they will decriminalise not paying the license fee. The Beeb execs spat out their champagne when they heard that. I'm all for it.

  53. Twig

    "Fairhead also said the BBC should be more ethnically diverse"

    Some political diversity would be nice !

  54. wowfood

    Main thing

    The main thing I dislike at the moment is how others companies have begun caving to the license fees.

    Now I will say if you watch TV, you should pay the license, I don't think it's good value for money myself, especiallyw ith things like netflix / amazon etc, I personally believe teh fee should be lowered (they could probably scrap black and white TV, and lower normal TV licenses to that fee)

    What I'd like to see hwoever, is somebody making a reasonably priced 'TV' only minus the transmission ability. On the one hand I don't watch TV and so am in no legal dark place, on the other, I still own a TV, and from many stories of these enforcers, owning a TV = watching live TV.

    Sadly gaming monitors don't seem to go up nearly as big as TVs do, and seem to be more expensive than their TV counterparts.

    So on that note, if anyone can give me a recommendation of where I could buy a 40 inch monitor which takes multiple HDMI connections, along with DVI and SCART. For a reasonable price, I'd be a happy man.

    1. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

      Re: Main thing

      > What I'd like to see hwoever, is somebody making a reasonably priced 'TV' only minus the transmission ability.

      Don't plug an arial in - then you have a TV minus the broadcast reception bit. It's 100% legal. (assuming you don't have something else like a satellite receiver plugged in !). If you want to be doubly sure, short the inner and outer of an arial plug and put that in the socket.

      When the nastygrams arrive - tell them politely that you do not have any equipment capable of receiving broadcast transmissions as defined in the Wireless Telegraphy Act. If they don't accept that, then I'd suggest reporting them for harassment (Protection from Harassment Act 1997). If everyone so affected were to report them, then eventually the Police would get fed up and ask for something to be done. And write a letter of complaint to your MP as well.

      Moaning on the comments board of an IT news site won't change anything !

      Oh yes, if they land up on your doorstep, refuse them access - and inform them that you expressly remove any permission they may have assumed to enter your property. If they don't leave immediately, they are then trespassing which becomes a criminal offence after you've instructed them to leave if they fail to do so (or if they re-enter after you've refused them permission). "Your property" includes your garden, path, and drive.

  55. gfx

    I like some programs on the BBC and that they are FTA on satellite.

    In the Netherlands they don't have a license fee any more but increased the income tax so every working man pays for the Dutch TV which broadcast left wing political correct propaganda and other drivel. They do buy some BBC documentaries and edit out the fact that the earth is slightly older then 6000 years.

    To actually watch Dutch tv you also have to pay a content provider ever increasing monthly fees (cable/sat/dvb-t) because everything is decoded. So I don't bother.

    1. Joe Harrison

      The BBC is working as hard as they can to put a stop to that! Used to be FTA all over Europe and immensely valuable to groups of expat British people, the largest of which is probably in southern Spain.

      Retirees are crying in their cervezas however now that the BBC managed to shrink Astra 2E's footprint such that UK telly does not work there any more. Well not unless you have a Jodrell Bank sized dish at least.

  56. Lionel Baden

    hah keep it !!

    I watched some normal TV lately and have confirmed that i will not be watching broadcast TV.

    the adverts are unbelievable !!! i really dont understand how people put up with the amount of advertising forced upon them. and the VOLUMES !!! There should be a law against how much louder they make them against the program showing.

    1. A J Stiles

      Re: hah keep it !!

      There are *no* advertisements on the BBC. That is kind of the point.

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Re: hah keep it !!

        "There are *no* advertisements on the BBC. That is kind of the point."

        Sorry to be picky, but overseas, such as here in San Francisco, the BBC website and TV channels have adverts. :-)


  57. Joe Harrison

    You can't avoid it by not watching BBC

    I've got a dish pointed at a satellite which serves another country, guess what I now count as a license payer and the BBC get my money.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The main problem with the BBC....

    is the news. It's like watching a labour party political broadcast, or a video edition of the Guardian. I despise both, and pay for neither. So why should I be forced to fund their central messages via BBC News?

  59. LucreLout

    Sell the lowbrow shows

    If the Beeb is so good at quality programming, and that is why we must all pay the licence fee, then let's refocuss it on just doing that.

    To that end, we should sell EastEnders, Strictly Come Dancing, and The Apprentice to which ever channel will take them.

    The licence fee should also guarantee unlimited online access to the entire BBC back catalog - why should I pay for DVDs of shows I paid for by compulsory taxation? In fact, if the shows are of such high quality, how is it that we can't fund the whole BBC by selling viewing rights abroad?

  60. batfastad

    Charge for iplayer

    I own a TV, pay the license and hardly ever watch it live. That's my problem to worry about. The fact that the BBC has to try to appeal to everyone is its biggest curse, especially when 80% of the population they have to target are absolute morons. It would be impossible for >50% of license fee payers to like >50% of the content. I like bits of their TV, their childrens programming doesn't have adverts for yet moar toys every 5 minutes and their websites are usually better than their competitors. MSN, Sky(Fox)News? Really?

    When I look at the listings of what's available on the basic Sky package then it's crazy to think that so many people stump up a minimum of £240 per year.

    Some of the BBC spending decisions are quite bizarre though. I don't mind F1 and the BBC coverage was excellent, but spending such a large chunk of dosh for the TV rights of such a commercially-orientated sport is bonkers.

    What is exasperating is the number of people in this comments section who seem to be whingeing about the quality of BBC content being the reason they don't own a TV... but are quite happy to burp and fart in front of an iplayer. That loophole should be closed.

  61. patrick_bateman

    I pay £140 a year to sometimes watch the news every couple of days and eastenders 2 or 3 times a month.

    Stuff that actually appeals to me or is relivant to my life is aquired through other means.

  62. A J Stiles

    Missed Opportunity

    I fully support the TV licence system as the best way of keeping the BBC advertisement-free.

    However, think they missed an opportunity to sort out the problem of TV licence evasion once and for all with the digital switchover.

    Why wasn't it mandated that every digital TV receiver must have a smartcard reader, from Day One? Then the BBC channels could simply have been broadcast scrambled, requiring a viewing card to watch or record them. No payment, no pictures. Simple!

    It would have altered the payment model from per-address to per-device; but I don't see a problem with a person who lives alone swapping their viewing card from one receiver to another as they move from room to room.

    1. Christian Berger

      Would have been the perversion of the idea of Television

      Since with a subscription model comes DRM which essentially tries hard to push back television to the 1970s where you couldn't even record it.

      I pay the German equivalent of the "TV Tax", and I would gladly pay for the UK one as well if I could get the programming, however I also pay so _everyone_ can receive it without any additional hurdles.

  63. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Free TV

    Anyone seen the irony of the BBC pursuing and locking up non-licence fee payers, only to have the very same people being able to watch TV legitimately, whilst in prison? I suppose being forced to watch the output of the BBC could be taken to be a form of retribution.

  64. fishbone

    Pardon my ignorance of most of this as I am only an ignorant colonial American, but has anyone who has lived in the US make a comparison of cable prices, quality of programming (low imho), and allowing monopolistic areas to exist and dominate. Just curious.

  65. Anonymous Coward

    TV licence has become an unwanted tax.

    I used to love the BBC, as the quality of its programmes was pretty good. Over the years though, there's been a steady dumbing-down of content, until we're now at teh point where, for teh most part, the BBC is putting out the same kind of tripe that a lot of other channels are. There is NO decent science coverage on the BBC, and as others have remarked above, what gets called 'science' on the Beeb nowadays tends to be very repetitive, patronising lowest-common-denominator twaddle that stretches five minutes content into a half hour slot. It;s as if Aunty Beeb isn't making programmes for its licence-payers any more, but for American TV company directors (who seem to think anything vaguely educational should be repetitive and patrionising) instead.

    I'd reccomend DWTV's 'Tomorrow Today' (auf desutsch: 'Projekt Zukunft') for those wanting a decent science program. Because it covers several items each week, it's not as in-depth as I'd personally like, but It's miles better than the kind of thing the BBC puts out even so.

    I have started to resent the TV licence. In the UK, we have to pay a licence fee if we own a device with a TV tuner in, whether or not we're using it, and whether or not it's connected to an aerial. I bought a small second-hand TV simply because it was the only way I could get to use my RPi, and I already had a TV licence as I had a USB TV tuner for my PC. As soon as I can find a method of connecting my RPi to a normal monitor, the TV and USB stick will be history, as will my paying the TV licence. The internet has made over-the-air TV practically irrelevant, and due to the drop in quality of BBC programems, I'm no longer interested in supporting it by buying a licence fee.

  66. James 100

    "German TV mostly consists of dumb people shouting at you,"

    Well, yes. It's German. What did you expect?

    (Mostly tongue-in-cheek, being part German myself - though it does sound very much like most family reunions on that side of the family...)

  67. Conundrum1885

    Just have a confession to make

    I used to illegally watch TV at University on a very elderly bastardized Game Gear with a TV adapter.

    Its interesting to note that because it had been hacked to no longer use the 8.867345 MHz color burst crystal and technically was running on "internal batteries" most of the time it was covered under my parents TV license according to the fine print. went through a *lot* of batteries on that thing.

    Offense 2 *i never learn".. acquired an old BBC B composite color monitor and used the color decoder from a dead Sony portable TV with about 6 9V batteries and a pile of assorted trimpots, antenna made from bell wire (real Macgyver stuff!) and some old speaker from an earlier skip raid to *make* a TV.

    This lasted about maybe a month before something happened to the TDA56xx color chip and it stopped working :-(

    I am now correctly licensed, not that today's TV is particularly watchable as the Freesat box has the glitchies (stupid badcaps!) and also the programs... suck! Grrr.

    Much better things to do with my Sony 42" non DTV junker such as use it as a gaming monitor and Pi Zero hacking b0xen.

  68. Conundrum1885

    Why the downvote

    Being able to make a TV using random junk is a useful skill.

    I also once made an LED display out of bits of silicon carbide from ye olde crystal shoppe and some fine needles, worked very well and even found a couple of green spots as well as yellow and blue.

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