How to watch TV legally WITHOUT paying for a licence

ANY household watching or recording live television in the UK must hold a TV licence.

As 3.7million pensioners are set to shoulder the costs from 2020, let's take a look at how you can avoid paying – legally.

Do I need a TV licence?

A colour TV licence currently costs £154.50 a year and is needed by anyone intending to watch or record TV programmes while they are being broadcast.

Live TV in this sense covers all programmes on any channel, including soaps, series, documentaries and even movies.

The rules apply if you watch shows live on any other device too – such as a PC, tablet or phone.

You also need a licence if you watch any BBC programmes or download them on demand including catch up TV on BBC iPlayer.

Doing any of the above without paying for either a colour or black and white licence – depending on what kind of television you have – is a criminal offence.

If you're caught without one you need to pay in full as soon as possible or risk prosecution plus a fine of up to £1,000 (or £500 if you live in Jersey, or £2,000 in Guernsey).

While you cannot be imprisoned for TV licence evasion, you can be jailed for non-payment of a fine imposed by the court.

How to watch TV legally without paying for a licence

THE following services are still openly (and legally) available to you – as long as you aren’t using them to watch live TV:

On demand TV – like catch-up TV and on demand previews – which are available through services like ITV Player , All4 , My5 , BT Vision/BT TV , Virgin Media , Sky Go , Now TV, Apple TV, Chromecast , Roku and Amazon Fire TV

On demand movies – from services like Sky, Virgin Media, BT Vision, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video

Recorded films and programmes – either via DVD or Blu-ray, or downloaded from the internet

YouTube – On demand video clips through services like YouTube

Can I legally watch TV without a TV licence?

Fortunately, there are ways to legally watch your favourite shows without paying the licence fee.

There are plenty of catch-up TV services, which allow the streaming or downloading of programmes after they have been shown on their respective channels.

If you only watch one of these you don't need to stump up – as long as you don't watch any BBC content.

If you're absolutely sure you no longer need one you can formally let TV Licensing know.

Although there's no legal obligation to do this, it will prevent an increasing number of letters coming your way.

The first thing to do as part of this process is cancel your payments.

If you pay by direct debit you can cancel it by filling out TV Licensing's contact form, informing it you no longer watch TV and confirm your current address.

You'll also need to cancel your direct debit with your bank.

If you pay with a TV Licensing payment card, you'll need to call 0300 555 0286.

Everyone who no longer requires a TV licence should then fill out a "No Licence Needed" declaration form.

Make sure you keep the confirmation email from TV Licensing as proof.

TV Licensing may visit your property to ensure you are telling the truth and no errors have been made.

The bureau says these inspections find one in five who have cancelled their TV licence actually still need one – that’s around 900 households a day.

A TV Licensing spokesperson said: “Fewer than 2 per cent of households don’t need a licence and there are more licences in force than ever before – 25.8million."

Do over-75s get a free TV licence?

Over-75s in the UK were previously eligible for a free TV licence, but need to pay for it from June 2020, the BBC has announced.

But households with at least one person receiving pension credit – around 900,000 currently – will not have to pay.

The Government has estimated that 1.3million people who are eligible for this benefit are not claiming it.

It's really easy to check if you're entitled – here's our step by step guide.

If you do receive pension credit, the BBC has said you may need to provide it a copy of your most recent benefit letter, so make sure you hang onto it.

You don't need to do anything yet though – the broadcaster said it will contact all its users that are affected by the change, letting them know what action to take.

If you are blind or severely sight-impaired you are eligible for a 50 per cent discount on your licence.

BBC chairman David Clementi said it had been a "very difficult decision".

He said: "We think its fair to those over 75 but also to all our audiences for whom there was no appetite for the level of cuts that would have been necessary if the concession had been extended.

"There are people for whom this will be unwelcome news, who have not paid until now but will do so."

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BBC staff given 20% payrise – despite plans to axe free licences for pensioners

A massive 889 employees received salary bumps between 10 percent and 20 percent last year, just months before pensioners were told that their free telly viewing was ending.

Another 256 were given more than 20 percent, in a move labelled “sickening” by age campaigners.

Costing licence fee payers a massive £7.9million, the average salary bump was a staggering £6,980.

In a blow to pensioners, this would have been enough to give free TV licences to 51,000 of them.

She added: “It’s sickening that they would consider giving these rises at a time when they are claiming they don’t have the money to fund over-75s’ licences.”

The Beeb has repeatedly claimed restricting talent and staff pay would not make enough money to cover all of those aged over 75 with free licences.

A BBC spokesman said: “While there are strict rules around any pay increases, it’s only right that when people are promoted or take on extra responsibilities it’s reflected in their salary.

“Just as at any organisation, there will be a number of cases where people are promoted to a significantly more senior or prominent role.” 

  • BBC

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Ofcom approves plan by BBC to keep shows on iPlayer for a whole year

Ofcom approves plan by BBC bosses to keep your favourite shows on the iPlayer for a whole year

  • BBC set to make shows on service available for 12 months instead of 30 days
  • Ofcom said changes to iPlayer could deliver significant public value over time
  • But watchdog added it was concerned about competitive challenges it creates

Viewers will be able to watch their favourite BBC shows on the iPlayer catch-up service for a year after Ofcom approved plans by the corporation.

The broadcaster is set to make programmes on the service available for 12 months instead of 30 days, while children’s shows will remain for five years.

Ofcom said proposed changes to BBC iPlayer could deliver significant public value over time and could increase choice and availability of content to ensure the BBC remains relevant amid changing viewing habits.

Viewers will be able to watch their favourite BBC shows on the iPlayer catch-up service for a year after Ofcom approved plans by the corporation to extend the current 30-day limit

But the watchdog added it was still concerned about the competitive challenges it would create, particularly for rival on-demand services such as ITV Player and All 4. 

A statement said: ‘While we have concluded that the public value justifies the adverse impact on fair and effective competition we have identified, and the BBC can proceed with its plans, this is subject to certain conditions and guidance. 

‘Our conditions will help ensure that the new BBC iPlayer delivers future public value, and will mitigate risks to fair and effective competition.’

It comes as the BBC prepares to launch streaming service BritBox in the autumn.

The platform, which will cost £5.99 a month and also features content from ITV, will include new shows commissioned for the service and box sets such as Gentleman Jack and Broadchurch.

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Pregnant Rachel Riley marries Pasha Kovalev in secret ceremony in Las Vegas

Rachel Riley has married Pasha Kovalev in a secret ceremony in Las Vegas.

The telly beauty, 33, is expecting a baby with her former Strictly partner.

The couple eloped to Sin City on Friday and tied the knot over the weekend.

A marriage certificate which has been published online appears to show the pair wed on Friday.

Confirming the news, the Countdown star posted and Facebook of the pair to her Twitter and Facebook.

The caption read: "Introducing the new Mr and Mrs Kovalev… We both said yes!"


It comes weeks after they confirmed their baby news.

They announced it last month by sharing a picture of Rachel standing next to the Countdown letters board with "RTINYMATE" spelled out on it.

That's an anagram of 'MATERNITY' and can also be read as 'R TINY MATE'.

It marks a happy ending for Rachel, who endured a painful marriage breakdown before eventually bouncing back.

She met her husband Jamie Gilbert while they were both studying at Oxford and their love affair led to an engagement before they tied the knot in 2012.

However, the marriage only lasted 16 months and they split after Rachel joined BBC dance show Strictly Come Dancing in 2013.

At the time, the split was blamed on the star's hectic work schedule, with reports suggesting Jamie had grown tired of spending so much time apart from his wife.

A source told Mail Online: "When she [Rachel] was on the show [Stictly] there were long periods when she did not see her husband.

"She was pictured without her wedding ring but it was because she was in training.’

Rachel was said to have grown close to her dance partner Pasha during the run, and they later went public with their romance.

They didn’t confirm their romance until nine months after the end of the show and have been an item ever since.

However, they both insisted nothing happened between them until after Rachel’s marriage broke up despite rumours they fell victim to the infamous Strictly curse.

Rachel, 33, and Pasha, 39, went on to move in together and now share a home in London.

Knowing the strength of the Strictly curse, Rachel said she couldn't stand to watch Pasha dance with anyone else on the show – and he later quit the BBC gig.

Rachel said: of her man “Pasha’s gorgeous, he's amazing when you need a bit of support that's when you know you're with the nice person. He's a good egg.”

Mirror Online has contacted a representative for Rachel for comment.

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BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire hosts the Trump Baby blimp

BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire hosts the Trump Baby blimp in her studio as plans to put it in a Sadiq Khan-funded museum are revealed

BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire hosted the Trump Baby blimp in her studio today amid revelations that a museum is in talks to acquire the 20ft inflatable. 

The Museum Of London plans to display the huge inflatable, which depicts the US President in a nappy and clutching a mobile phone, as part of its protest collection.

It said owners of the famous effigy are keen for it to go to the museum. Derbyshire hosted a smaller version of the blimp in the studio today for her show on BBC Two.

Victoria Derbyshire hosted a smaller version of the Trump Baby blimp in her BBC studio today

Derbyshire stood next to a smaller version of the blimp which was in her studio this morning

The Trump Baby blimp is expected to fly again during this week’s state visit, which includes a private lunch with the Queen and a state banquet at Buckingham Palace.

Museum Of London director Sharon Ament said it would also like to display the Sadiq Khan balloon, which depicted the London Mayor in a yellow bikini.

The Donald Trump Baby blimp is flown over London during Mr Trump’s visit in July 2018

‘They’re both really important and of their time,’ she said. ‘They characterise a satirical characteristic of British people, the way in which we sometimes respond to big issues using satire.

‘They acknowledge the social discourse and dialogue in society at the moment.’

The museum is funded by a raft of major supporters, with the three key backers being the City of London, Arts Council England and Mr Khan’s mayoral office. 

Ms Ament said the museum began talks with the owners of the famous Trump blimp last year. ‘We are in an open discussion and they are very warm (to the idea). They would like it to come to the museum,’ she said.

Of the Khan blimp, which was used as part of a campaign seeking to remove the London Mayor from office, she said: ‘We are trying to connect with the people who made it.’

The owners of the famous effigy, pictured in July 2018, are keen for it to go to the museum

The museum, which tells the story of the capital from 450,000 BC to the present day, is moving from its base near the Barbican to a larger site in 2024.

US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania at London Stansted Airport today

The balloons are so huge that ‘we won’t be able to display them until we move to our new site in West Smithfield,’ the director said.

‘We don’t own the object and the owners are still making use of it,’ she said of the Trump effigy. ‘It’s up to them to decide when they are ready to donate it.’

The Trump balloon was flown above Parliament Square last year and its owners have been given the green light by the Greater London Authority, headed by the London Mayor, to fly it once again.

The blimps would go on display alongside a ‘powerful’ range of objects in the museum’s protest collection, including banners from the Suffragettes and tents which belonged to late peace campaigner Brian Haw.

Ms Ament said the blimps are ‘rich’ objects, shedding light on ‘how people protest in London’.

‘It’s extraordinary how some objects can capture the public imagination; certainly the balloon really did.’

The Museum Of London plans to display the huge inflatable  as part of its protest collection

Asked how the US President would respond to a museum displaying the blimp alongside important historical objects, she said: ‘You’d have to ask him that question.’

It comes as Donald Trump arrived in the UK and immediately launched a Twitter tirade at Mr Khan, branding the London Mayor a ‘stone cold loser’.

In return the mayor’s office fired back, saying Mr Trump was offering ‘childish insults which should be beneath the President of the United States’.

The spat came as Mr Trump touched down in the UK for a state visit that will see him meeting the Queen and other senior royals, as well as Theresa May.

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BBC News live broadcast on 5G network in Covent Garden cut short

‘No problems so far?’: BBC News live broadcast testing new 5G network in Covent Garden is cut short… when hi-tech network CRASHES

  • BBC reporter Sarah Walton was speaking live from Covent Garden in London 
  • The lunchtime report was supposed to be the BBC’s second broadcast in 5G 
  • Presenter Clive Myrie shook his head and laughed as he apologised to viewers

The BBC was forced to abandon its live broadcast using 5G today after it lost the picture and suffered a poor signal.  

Journalist Sarah Walton was attempting to report live over a 5G mobile connection from Covent Garden in London but the broadcast was beset by problems.

The irony was clearly not lost on BBC News anchor Clive Myrie, who was left in hysterics as he attempted to deliver the lunchtime bulletin. 

Journalist Sarah Walton was attempting to report live over a 5G mobile connection from Covent Garden in London

BBC News anchor Clive Myrie was left in hysterics as he attempted to deliver the lunchtime bulletin

Mr Myrie shook his head and laughed as he apologised to viewers for the technical difficulties. 

The presenter apologised to viewers saying, ‘I’ll have to interrupt you because bizarrely the 5G line isn’t working properly’. 

This comes after BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones this morning revealed he had Parkinson’s, after viewers spotted his hands shaking on air. 

The 61-year-old revealed his diagnosis on Twitter after viewers noticed his right hand shaking on BBC Breakfast, as he was demonstrating the first ever live TV broadcast to be carried out over 5G. 

EE made its 5G network available to the public today.

The BT-owned operator is initially launching in six cities – London, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Manchester – with more to follow before the end of the year and into 2020.

5G technology is the next generation of mobile network and is expected to offer internet speeds several times that of current generation 4G.

This afternoon’s BBC News at One, which saw a live broadcast using 5G having to be abandoned as it lost its picture and had poor signal

Rory Cellan-Jones, 61, was presenting the UK’s first ever news broadcast using a public 5G network, reporting live from Covent Garden in London today

A number of 5G-capable handsets are available from Samsung, OnePlus, LG, HTC and Oppo, but Huawei has been left off amid ongoing tensions between the US and the Chinese company. 

EE is planning to reach 1,500 sites by the end of 2019, including the “busiest parts” of Bristol, Coventry, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The operator celebrated the launch on Wednesday evening with a 5G-powered gig by London rapper Stormzy.

Fellow mobile operator Vodafone has confirmed it will launch 5G across seven cities in the UK on July 3, with another 12 cities to follow by the end of the year.

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