TV Licensing's top TV Licence dodger excuses

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"Apparently my dog, which is a corgi, is related to the Queen’s dog so I didn’t think I needed a TV Licence,” is one of the many outrageous real-life excuses given to TV Licensing by people caught watching TV without a TV Licence over the past year.

With over 400,000 people caught watching TV without a valid TV Licence last year, it’s perhaps not surprising a few of the excuses would test the laws of probability.

Excuses ranged from the bizarre, “I could not pay as I only have two pairs of pants and they were both in the wash,” to the questionable, “I could not pay for my TV Licence because the Olympic torch was coming down my road and I could not get to the shop as the road was too busy.”

One evader claimed they had not bought a TV Licence as they had “received a lethal injection,” whilst another didn’t want to buy a TV Licence for the full year because “knowing my luck I will be dead in six months and not get value for money”.

Stephen Farmer, TV Licensing spokesperson, said:

Some of the excuses are simply hilarious whilst others show a great deal of imagination and creativity, but being caught without a valid TV Licence is a criminal offence and no laughing matter. Joking and wacky excuses apart, it's breaking the law to watch live television without a licence so anybody doing this risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.
Evasion remains at low levels of around five per cent, and the overwhelming majority of people are correctly licensed. We understand some people may struggle to pay in one go, so we offer a wide range of payment options to help spread the cost and suit people’s needs. These can all be set up quickly and easily online at www.tvlicensing.co.uk or by phone.

In a first for TV Licensing, five ‘excuses’ have been turned in to short animation films by the BAFTA winning animation partnership Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson from whiterobot.co.uk (opens in a new window).

Co-Writer and director of the short films, Will Anderson, said:

Our style of animation really lends itself to TV Licensing’s excuses. Using bold, vibrant animation we are able to develop the nature of the excuses, and abstract them with our sense of humour. The excuses were naturally funny, so it was all about how we could bring them to life. All of our work is particularly conversational, so it’s a good match.

Animator and co-writer, Ainslie Henderson, added:

As soon as we saw the list of excuses people had given TV Licensing I could see and hear Malkie and the Crows saying them. They were exactly the sort of thing he would say if he was caught without a TV Licence, so for us, it was a great fit.

The top five Excuses have been animated by White Robot and can be found on YouTube, along with an exclusive ‘”Behind the Scenes’ video, at: www.youtube.co.uk/tvlicensing (opens in a new window)

TV LICENSING – TOP EXCUSES OF THE YEAR

1 Why would I need a TV Licence for a TV I stole? Nobody knows I’ve got it. Kilmarnock, Scotland
2 I have lost weight recently and had to buy new clothes. That’s why I could not afford to buy a TV Licence. Manchester, North West
3 I had not paid as I received a lethal injection. [Location unknown]
4 Apparently my dog, which is a corgi, was related to the Queen’s dog so I didn’t think I needed a TV Licence. Belfast, Northern Ireland
5 I don’t want to pay for a licence for a full year. Knowing my luck I’ll be dead in six months and won’t get value for money. Cardiff, Wales
6 I could not pay for my TV Licence because the Olympic torch was coming down my road and I could not get to the shop as the road was too busy. London
7 I only use my TV as a lamp. If you switch it on it gives a good glow which allows meto read my book. Dundee, Scotland
8 The only way I can afford to pay for my TV Licence is if I sell my hamster, is that what you want me to do? Liverpool, North West
9 Only my three year old son watches the TV. Can you take it out of the family allowance I receive for him? He watches it so he should pay. Manchester, North West
10 [Customer a presented half a torn paper licence to a visiting Enquiry Officer] I spend so much time at my neighbour’s house, we thought we would just share a TV Licence. My neighbour has the other half. Glasgow, Scotland
11 I could not pay as I only have two pairs of pants and they were both in the wash. Slough, South East
12 I got caught shoplifting so I’m barred from the shop that takes PayPoint payments. Leeds, North

For more information, or to request an interview, please call the TV Licensing press office on 020 875 26606 or email media.enquiries@tvlicensing.co.uk

* Figures relate to people caught in geographical areas between January 2012 and January 2013 and are accurate at the time of reporting. Areas are based on information from the Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File as at March 2011, supplied by Geoplan.

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