Game, colour TV sets and match
Wimbledon 2017 marks broadcasting revolution
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. co.uk
The BBC cameras filmed the Wimbledon tennis tournament in colour for the first time in 1967