This is how many Wigan homes still own a black and white TV

Some people in Wigan are still watching their favourite shows on a black and whte television
Some people in Wigan are still watching their favourite shows on a black and whte television

Several Wiganers are still watching their favourite programmes on black and white TVs half a century after colour was introduced.


New figures released by TV licensing show that astoundingly 12 households have still paid for permission to watch shows on black and white sets.

Despite the attractions of smart televisions, tablets and smartphones people in the borough are still clinging to their nostalgic monochrome appliances to tune in to modern classics like The Bodyguard, McMafia and Killing Eve.

The number of black and white TV licences is declining steadily but demand remains steadfast, with more than 7,000 dished out across the country and Greater Manchester having the third-highest level of permits issued with 390.

Matthew Thompson, spokesperson for TV Licensing in the North of England, 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.

“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.”

In 2000 an enormous 212,000 black and white TV licences were in force in the UK but that had shrunk to 93,000 by 2003. The number of licences issues dipped below 10,000 in 2015 and has continued to fall.

The downward trend has also happened on a smaller scale in Wigan, with 17 black and white licences issued in 2016.

However, only London, with 1,768 licences, and the West Midlands with 431 currently have more people watching in monochrome than Greater Manchester.

Paul Coleman, associate curator of broadcast and television at the National Science and Media Museum, said: “It looks like we’re seeing roughly a decrease of about 1,000 black and white TV licences per year in the UK at the moment, so the overall figure could drop below 1,000 within the next decade.

“Beyond that, I’m sure there will still be people who choose to watch a black and white television, maybe for nostalgia, or perhaps they like the style of the sets, which can look like pieces of furniture.

“Whatever their reasons, it’s testament to the longevity of the technology used that it’s still possible.”