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TV Licence – Columbo


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Duration 15sec
Release Date 1977
Sponsor Central Office of Information for Home Office
Text version of this film





“Don’t get a fine, get a licence,” the authoritative voiceover man advises. This public information film was designed to encourage evaders to pay up, or suffer the consequences. The introduction of the TV detector van in 1952 led to accurate tracking of viewers without a licence. The film emphasises this by stating Number 5 were “…watching Columbo”.

Until 1990, the Home Office was responsible for the administration of the licence, whilst the fee was collected by the Post Office. After the Broadcast Act (1990), the BBC was charged with the task of collection and administration for the TV licence. Currently the annual fee for a TV licence is £126.50 per household.


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