Game, colour TV sets and match

Wim­ble­don 2017 marks broad­cast­ing rev­o­lu­tion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - 50 Years Of Colour Television - By El­lis Stephen­son

En­joy­ing Wim­ble­don on TV just wouldn’t be the same with­out watch­ing the deep greens fad­ing to lime yel­low as the ex­cite­ment builds over this spe­cial fort­night.

But that wasn’t al­ways the case. Last Satur­day was the 50th an­niver­sary of the first day the BBC flicked the colour switch on.

Even so, more than 150 people in Kent still watch the telly on a black and white box. Fig­ures from TV Li­cens­ing last month show 158 people in the county still had a li­cence for a mono set .

There are seven of them in Ash­ford and 10 in Folke­stone, and they are among 8,000 homes across the UK that are still per­fectly happy view­ing their favourite shows with­out the em­bel­lish­ment of colour.

There are more than 1,500 homes with an “old school” li­cence in Lon­don, 377 in Birm­ing­ham and 276 in Manch­ester.

In the re­v­erse di­rec­tion, how­ever, 70 post codes dropped out of the black and white habit in the past 18 months – in­clud­ing Hythe and Crow­bor­ough.

It was on Satur­day, July 1, 1967 that the first colour pro­gramme, BBC 2’s cov­er­age of the Wim­ble­don ten­nis tour­na­ment, lit up our screens.

Ben Craig, TV Li­cens­ing spokesman for Lon­don and South East 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 who are ab­so­lutely fine watch­ing spec­tac­u­lar pro­grammes such as Planet Earth in mono­chrome.”

In case you were won­der­ing whether watch­ing in mono frees you from hav­ing to cough up for a li­cence, Mr Craig is quick to point some­thing out.

“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,” he says.

Fewer than 500 fam­i­lies had a colour TV set in 1967 when Aus­tralian John New­combe took the Wim­ble­don men’s ti­tle. But by 1977, colour TV li­cences had over­taken black and white ones, and by Wim­ble­don last year, more than nine mil­lion people tuned in to watch Andy Mur­ray win his se­cond ti­tle there.

Do you still have a black and white li­cence? We’d like to hear from you. Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, Unit 4, Park Mall, Ash­ford TN24 8RY. Or to ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.

The BBC cam­eras filmed the Wim­ble­don ten­nis tour­na­ment in colour for the first time in 1967

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