Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
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Monday, 27 August 2012

I feel a rant coming on.

I don't buy newspapers. If I want to know anything, I look out the window to see if it's raining or sunny. Besides, if I want 'other' information, I can look at the many newspapers online.

The same with TV. I've not had a telly for many years.
I think the last time I had one, Ena Sharples, Minnie Caldwell, and Martha Longhurst, sat supping stout in the snug of the Rovers, and put the world to rights.
I don't miss not having one.
I'm not a sports fan, reality show fan, soap addict, or 'talent'(?) show watcher. It doesn't leave much else on there, does it?
I can watch a DVD; one that I want to see, when I want to see it.
Nature programmes?
I got i-player for that.

When I had my pc built, I specifically didn't want a TV card.
I had my cable disconnected many years ago.

About four years ago, I started to get letters from the TV Licence people.

'We have no record of a TV Licence at this address. If you watch TV, you need a licence ..... etc. etc.'

I didn't reply. Why should I?

About every six weeks I'd get another letter; each one more menacing than the last.
They would explain the penalties for not having a licence to watch TV, and eventually even threatened court action if their investigations revealed I had a TV, and no licence.

One day, a knock at the door.
Jovial fat man with clipboard from the TV Licence people.

He caught me on a good day.

'Come in!' I said, sweeping him into my small accommodation.
The poor man hardly got a word in, as I ushered him into each room, to show no TV.
'This is the bedroom. This is the living room. This is the toilet. And this is the airing cupboard. Do you want to look in the shed?'
He didn't.
'Now write down I don't have a telly, fuck off, and stop sending me these bloody letters.'

He left, and I heard no more; until .......

The beginning of this year I started to get the reminder letters again.
The ones that steadily got more threatening, as they informed me there was no record of a TV Licence at this address; the last one, from Luton Enforcement Division,  dated August 2012, headed in large red capital letters:


signed by Derek Helsey, Regional Enforcement Manager.

Well, yesterday morning there was a knock at the door.

Small man, with hand held computer thingy.

' I'm from the TV Licence, and we have no record of a licence.'
'I haven't got one'. I said.
His eyes momentarily lit up.
'A licence?' he offered.
'No.' I said. 'Or a telly'.

He looked a little shocked at this.

I carried on; I'd been waiting for this moment.

'Why do you keep sending me these letters? I haven't got a telly. Don't want one, and haven't had one for years.'
He went to speak, but I beat him to it.
'I don't get letters from Anglian Water telling me I haven't got a fishing licence.'
'That's a bit different sir, .......'
Sir? Is he taking the piss?
'What do you mean different? No different at all'
'Erm, not everyone goes fishing.'
'And not everyone has a telly!'
'Well, 98% of the population does.'
Oh, getting all smart and technical now are we.
'Well, I'm part of the 2% that don't, and I like it that way.'

He asked if he could take a look inside, and explained that it would stop the letters from coming for a year.
'A year? What happens then?' I asked.
'We go through the process again.'
'Are you part of the SS?' I asked.

I told him there was no way he's coming in without a search warrant.
He fumbled with his hand held computer thingy, pushing keys, and said he would put down that I didn't have a TV. He warned me that the letters would come again after a year.

Bring it on.

Normal service will be resumed later.


  1. Brilliant. I would get an old one and take it's insides out. Use it for storing something useful like Bells.

  2. Adrian, that's a great idea.
    I like it.

  3. Oh my goodness. What an encounter!! In the movie "Grumpy Old Men," I think the character played by Ann-Margret gutted her TV and put in an aquarium. That could probably get you in all sorts of trouble! Enjoy your year's reprieve. :-)

  4. I had this exact same problem when i first moved into my place. I had more important things to waste my money on than a "mega wide screen","ultra hd" or realisti"smart TV" like fridge cooker etc. I was in two weeks and had the s.o.b's banging on the door. They walked in looked around checked airing cupboards under the bed etc. I bent over, bum in air, "what you doing sir". "Well you checked everywhere else you might as well check up here too".. Two weeks later I was in front of magistrates. They couldn't believe I was even summoned, and order £150 compensation and the bloke was (eventually let go) and the Liscensing authority was heavily criticsed and got a letter of apology. The compensation went to a new TV lol. Do expect them to come back, do keep a diary/note of visits, so when you get the letter of prosecution you have all the evidence neccesary...becareful with iplayer too, they catch so many students this way.

  5. Thanks Kelly.
    Encounters like this keep me sane; I think lol

    Thanks Douglas. Yea, they do come across as a bit heavy handed. They just don't get it, that some people can live without a telly.
    According to their letters, it's only 'live' TV you need a licence for, or the means to receive it. A receiver of some sort. I don't have any of that, so happy days. :-)

  6. Our government is sticking their noses into more and more stuff in our lives; but, so far at least, no license is required to watch television. If that ever comes, we'll get rid of ours, too. We've never had cable or satellite...couldn't see paying for it because there's just not much on that we enjoy watching. So we watch "free" TV when we watch at all. It sounds like Douglas has a good idea about keeping a diary of the letters and visits. Meanwhile, have a good year. :)

  7. What was it that Arnie said..."I'll be back"..lol!

    It's no good Keith you'll just have to buy a licence to get them of your back!...[;o)

  8. Linda, over here we have a crazy system for watching TV.
    The licence fee goes to the BBC. Pays for all their TV and Radio broadcasts; and also the over inflated people that work for them. 'Stars' and everyone in between. (even management).
    If you only watch the commercial channels, funded by adverts, you still have to pay a licence fee. Crazy? Yea, very.
    To watch Sky channels, (which cost more, accordingly, depending on what channels you have), and even if you get 'Freeview', we still need a licence.
    I find it very wrong, that I should have to buy a licence every year, just to 'own' a TV, and still 'pay' to watch some programmes, and line the pockets of fat cat businessmen, and overrated 'celebrities.'

    Sorry to rant, but I do feel very strongly about this. lol

  9. Trevor, they can come back as often as they like lol

  10. Maybe a certified letter stating that you do not, have never, nor will ever have a telly and if they do not cease and desist you will retain counsel and take this harrassment matter to court?? That is total harrassment especially with the threatening letters. It may be to your benefit in more ways than one! :o) Best of luck.

  11. Thanks Hookin It, that sounds like a great idea.
    I doubt they'd expect a response like that.

  12. I've heard of people having this problem before Keith. It's a real disgrace! So glad you won that round and in such an entertaining way, I loved the bit about the SS :-) This is supposed to be a free and democratic country...I don't believe it is.

    It reminds me of the chap who came to my door demanding to read the gas meter and wouldn't believe the house is electric only!

  13. Hardly seems like a free society does it Jan.
    If I buy a TV, I have to legally tell them. Fair enough; but I don't see why I should keep telling them when I don't own one.

  14. Real old grumpy fellow. Ha ha ha. I only watch it for I hour per day, do you think that the BBC would give me rebate???????????

  15. Hi Keith...Dear me is there anything that people can do or not do without getting harassed...
    I was supposed to get a permit to put a new front door on my house, that way they can charge me more house and property taxes because it is an improvement!! No such thing as freedom or ownership!! You just keep on paying!!
    Good luck my friend!

  16. wow, now that's something we don't require here! yikes!

  17. Bob, the BBC wouldn't give you anything. Even a blind man is still charged; but he does get 50% off.

    Grace, the world is fast going downhill. There are times I think I'll be glad when I check out.

    Theresa, you're lucky. We have to pay to watch crap here.

  18. Keith, what a bunch of government BS! I'm with you, I wouldn't let the buggers in my house!
    I won't speak to loud, because we don't have TV licences over here! Funny they haven't thought of it, they tax us for every other damn thing!

  19. This was all started with the last Labour Government Keith, not only did they sell off all our gold reserves cheaply, they set up this continuos harassment. They also started spying on you in parks with video cameras to see if your dog was fouling the park or you were dropping rubbish. (Acceptable I suppose but not aimed at the right people) They were also planning to put micro chips into your rubbish bins to see how much rubbish you were depositing etc. until it was stopped buy the coalition. They obviously learnt a lot from communist Russia when their MP's use to visit there at our expense. Reds under the beds and all that.{:)

  20. Mamma mia, or how you cannot be yourself and not enjoying TV. That system is pain in the ......
    Jesus! Sorry, but that's so plain stupid! But heye man, from our side it's a bit of a funny story ;-) Not for you I guess!

  21. Oh dear I'm sorry I know it's a pain in the **** for you but it is so ridiculous it's funny! I like the idea of claiming harrassment because that is certainly what it is - why on earth should you have to put up with it - just plain ridiculous! I rarely watch TV myself these days - would rather sit and watch the garden birds, much better entertainment!

  22. Love it, quality rant, well done Keith

  23. OMG thats awful...I Hate when Authorities bully innocent citizens..Keith I would have lost my cool for sure and told that "person" where he could go!!!
    I have to ask what is an Airing Cabinet?
    Ive had similar encounters>I was threatened by the NY Supreme Court when I was summoned to be a juror on the Grand Jury..THIS was after I HAD MOVED OuT OF NY! SO they threatened to fine me, or give me 30 days in JAIL... I felt that if they wanted to "extridite" me to NY to sit on the Grand Jury, it would be like a free vacation...lol
    IT TOOK me a whole yr to get them to understand I had moved, the last letter they sent me had my FORWARDING address on a yellow label from the postoffice, I marked RETURN TO SENDER on it and that worked..after all the letters phone calls etc.
    Another PIA bulling from the State was when my 87 yr old mom sold her car. She called and cancelled her car insurance...well not too long after that a note appeared on the door from a Highway partolman..IT Said her driving priviledges had been revoked because she allowed her car insurance to lapse..amazing right??? I had to get a certain form and send it in triplekit to all the bafoons in state offices in order to get it settled.

  24. Thanks Robin. Yea, makes you feel like we're in some military regime at times.

    Roy, that last lot, Bliar, and his cohorts, certainly have a lot to answer to for, but I think they're all just as bad.
    This lot would be changing some of those crazy things, if it wasn't beneficial to themselves. Time for a major political shake-up, and I think it's coming sooner, rather than later.

    Chris, thanks. Sadly some of life's tragedies or injustices, make the most interesting stories.

    Thanks Sharon. Yea, the harassment idea certainly appeals to me.
    It's becoming a more crazy world every day.

    Cheers Bob. Had to get it off my chest :-)

    Sondra, it seems like most of the governments of the 'free' world, act the same these days. They want to know everything about us and what we do, so the big companies can make more money from us by tailoring their products to what they see are our needs. The problem is, the government keep raising taxes, and pretty soon no-one will be doing anything worth watching, because they can't afford to.
    To answer your question, an airing cupboard is usually the tiniest place in a house, with a few shelves and a boiler. The heat helps to 'air' the clothes. We need them in this country because we have such crap weather lol

  25. A wonderful post Keith.. I to have had the gas situation (electric only) and kept a guy on the doorstep for ages as he tried to get me to change supplier before I told him.
    A guy at work once got so fed up of conservatory sales people on the phone he arranged a visit for a quote... he lives on the 9 floor of a tower block.

  26. Thanks Andrew. Some of these sales people just run on auto pilot, and don't have a clue about reality.

  27. Don't panic, we're not them! Our blog highlights the abysmal treatment legitimate non-TV users, like yourself, receive at the hands of TV Licensing.

    You handled those exchanges well, and we can understand the temptation to give it both barrels when TV Licensing visit. No-one is legally obliged to confirm their no-TV status to TV Licensing. As your account proves, co-operating with TV Licensing is a futile gesture as the intimidation will resume shortly afterwards.

    You sound very clued up, but some of your readers may find our blog of interest.

  28. TV Licensing Blog, thank you for your comment.
    Had a look at your blog, and found it very interesting.

  29. This post made me laugh and smile on dinner break well done m8 sod them :)

  30. Cheers Scott.
    And can you believe it, another letter from them a couple of days ago threatening more legal action, and a search warrant!!

  31. Can I suggest that you read para of the following web pge. AS I beleive you need a TV license to watch iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/terms/personal.shtml

  32. Thanks for that Jacquey.
    Interesting. It does mention i-player as part of BBC Online Services, along with their website, embeded media player etc.

    However this part:
    3.2.2 If you do not have a valid television licence
    You may not watch television programmes using BBC Online Services on any device (including mobile phones, "smart" phones or devices, laptops, tablets and personal computers) at the same time (or virtually the same time) as the programmes are being broadcast, simulcast or otherwise made available by the BBC on television, unless you have a valid television licence.

    As long as the programme isn't broadcast simultaneously, then it's OK.