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Thousands are still turned on by black and white tellies


When describing purchasers of the latest media gadgetry we speak of the tech-savvy “early adopters” and the more mainstream “late adopters”. But there are also those who still like nothing more than to settle down for the evening in front of the old black and white telly.

It might surprise the marketing gurus at Apple and Facebook to learn that, while much of the population was getting online to snap up tablets and smartphones last year, more than 13,000 black and white television licences were purchased in Britain.

TV Licensing, the BBC body that collects the licence fee, last night revealed that 2,715 monochrome licences were bought in London and 574 in Birmingham. Nottingham (161 sets) has a far greater taste for black and white than the more populous Sheffield (118).

Its popularity may stem for the fact that a monochrome licence is  £49 – less than one-fifth the price of an iPad Mini and around one third the cost of a colour licence (£145.50). What’s more, they have a cachet which might appeal to a hipster in Shoreditch.

“The cabinets on many of these are ‘retro’ in their design, making them conversation pieces even when they aren’t switched on. It’s a bit like owning an antique car,” said Iain Logie Baird, associate curator at the National Media Museum and the grandson of John Logie Baird, inventor of television.