Nine Midlothian houses still watch black and white TV

Strictly Come Dancing in black and white. Photographer: Guy Levy
Strictly Come Dancing in black and white. Photographer: Guy Levy

Figures released by TV Licensing show that nine households in Midlothian are still watching television on black and white sets – after more than 50 years of colour transmissions.

Over 400 black and white licences are still in force in Scotland and over 7,000 across the UK as people opt for nostalgic monochrome TV sets rather than enjoying modern classics like The Bodyguard and Killing Eve in full colour.

BBC camera at Wimbledon in 1967.

BBC camera at Wimbledon in 1967.

Despite an increase in the use of smart televisions - as well as tablets and smart-phones to access TV content - a surprising number continue to spurn 21st Century technology, although figures are steadily declining.

According to this year’s data, Glasgow leads the way with 105 black and white licences, followed by Lanarkshire with 49 monochrome licences and Edinburgh with 41.

The number of black and white licences issued each year has steadily dropped. In 2000, there were 212,000 black and white TV Licences in force across the UK but by 2003 it had shrunk to 93,000. By 2015, the number had dipped below 10,000.

Fergus Reid, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said: “Over half of the UK’s TVs now connect to the Internet, so it’s interesting that more than 400 households in Scotland and over 7,000 households across the UK 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.”

Jim McLauchlan, from the Museum of Communications in Fife, commented: “I know first-hand the value of black and white TVs. A friend of mine never had a colour TV and the reason was that all he wanted to view was the news and the occasional current affairs programme and to him watching that in black and white was good enough.

“You also can’t overstate that the cost of keeping up with new technology which can be a real barrier. However for many people nostalgia also has a part to play.”

A licence is needed to watch or record live TV on any device including a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel or device, and to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. Find when one is needed at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info