‘King of Scotland’ and ‘Abducted by Aliens’ crowned as top videos

Animation students from universities in Dundee and London have scooped prestigious competition wins by bringing to life bizarre excuses for watching TV without a TV Licence.

The Judges’ Panel of distinguished animation experts1 crowned ‘Abducted by Aliens’, created by four students from Middlesex University, as their best video while the public vote, with the largest number of online “likes”, was ‘King of Scotland’, made by an animation trio from Dundee University.

In a quest to find the best animated excuse and animation, degree course students in Derby, Middlesex, Belfast, Dundee and Bristol were asked to work their creative magic on some dubious explanations for non-payment of the TV Licence, which visiting officers and call centre staff have heard this year.

Head Judge Charlie Mawer, Executive Creative Director at Red Bee Media, dubbed ‘Abducted by Aliens’ “a standout piece” which was “both genuinely funny and visually creative.”

Set in an urban garden, it features a stop-motion animated fly interviewing a snail who believes that he doesn’t have to pay the TV Licence as the government doesn’t believe his story of alien abduction.

The film was the result of a team effort by ‘Bugged Out’, a team of Middlesex University third-year students, Ida Melum, Kyle Xuereb Cunningham, Adara Penelope Todd and Nicole Smith, with voices by Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez.

Charlie Mawer commented:

The Judges’ Award winner from the Middlesex students showed exceptional craft, alongside a strong eye for performance and the subtle touches and attention to detail that mark out a team destined for great things in their future in animation.

Adara Todd, from ‘Bugged Out’ said:

We couldn't be more thrilled - we are beyond excited our film won against so many other great animations and want to thank everyone involved in the decision!

The winner of the People’s Choice film, ‘King of Scotland’ received 173 ‘likes’, from a total of more than 1,000 votes on the TV Licensing YouTube channel, seeing off stiff competition from films featuring turtles, hamsters and foxes stealing TV signals2.

The popular video is driven by a rap sung by ‘Phil’, who greets Enquiry Officer ‘Nigel’, with a range of colourful explanations as to why he doesn’t require a licence, including a claim that his cat is ‘in labour’.

Third-year Dundee students Alex Heywood, Mark McGinty and Steven Buntin got together to form the ‘Rixty Minutes’ team, guided by Dundee University tutor, Sharon Campbell.

Mark McGinty, from ‘Rixty Minutes’, said:

We’re so happy to win the People’s Choice award. It took the team three weeks to work on the animation after many hours of planning, research and script writing. We wanted to make sure we created a piece of work that had the right balance of getting a message across that would also be credible. Including a rap in the entry was a natural progression from the way we work as a team, with many of us using rap when improvising new ideas.

More than 40 excuses films were submitted from students across the UK. View the animations, including the winning film, at youtube.com/tvlicensing.

Jason Hill, TV Licensing spokesperson, said:

The winning animations are a testament to the imagination of the students. We’re not so impressed, however, with the creative approach to excuses, as watching or recording live TV without a licence is against the law.

Even though we’re effective at catching evaders, we’d always prefer people pay than risk a maximum £1,000 fine. For those who may find it difficult to pay in one go, we offer a range of payment options to spread the cost at www.tvlicensing.co.uk.

To check if a licence is needed, visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk/info or call 0300 790 6112.

1 The judging panel comprised BAFTA-winning animator Marc Crast from Studio AKA, Jason Fletcher-Bartholomew, Senior Animator at Aardman and Red Bee Media Executive Creative Director Charlie Mawer. Criteria included directing, production, animation quality and script were used to assess the entries.

2 1,065 votes were cast in total, from 8 February to 4 March 2016.

Excuses 2016 –Excuses from each Region

London and the South East

I don't really watch the TV. My flat is infested with insects so I use it mainly to attract them to the screen so I can swat them. "KHWATEESH" Welwyn Garden City
My TV only goes on at night when I am asleep in case I get burgled and the burglar wants to watch it. Harwich
I can only see live TV when the weather is right, as my aerial coat hanger only works in certain conditions. As it is very intermittent, I don’t need a TV Licence. Basildon
I was abducted by aliens. As the government doesn’t believe me I'm refusing to pay my bills. Haywards Heath
The TV talks to me frequently and gets up and walks around the house. Once the TV stops talking to me I will then pay a licence again. Colchester
I am from the land of Lucifer and in my world I do not need a licence. London
I have a letter from the Queen making me exempt from the fee. I've lost my copy, but I'll call her later. Tottenham
(Talking through a glass door) Yes, I have a TV but the dog won't let me come to the door to talk to you. Cheshunt
We belong to a religious sect. We only use the TV to watch apparitions and also receive and communicate information to and from our God. London
I don't watch TV. My satellite dish is just for decoration. London

Wales and the South West

I don't use live TV. You'll have to call back before 12 o’clock because I let my pet parrots out between 12pm and 7pm because they are very aggressive. Dawlish
I'm not paying because presenters cannot pronounce Welsh place names properly and just refer to Wales as a town. Wales is a big place. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
I have a large cat and she loves getting the post and burying it in the back garden. My reminder must be there. New Milton
I have a Samsung 60 inch curved TV which I only use at night. I put the goldfish bowl in front of it at night and have found this helps the fish get to sleep. Plymouth
I don't need a TV Licence because my mother, who died aged 76, is coming back in a week. Merthyr
I didn't pay because I was hoping I'd see you again! Bristol
My husband used to pay for the licence but he ran off with my mother. I didn’t know he stopped paying. Milford Haven
(Pointing to a TV on the wall) I have no TV, it's a microwave. Taunton
I won my TV in a raffle. Where's the TV Licence raffle? Gloucester
Come back a little bit later because I'm too busy watching Jeremy Kyle. Bristol

Midlands

Yes, the TV is on but I don't watch it. It's only on for my parrot, Captain Jack Sparrow, who is learning the theme tune to Bargain Hunt. Lincoln
We were under the impression we didn’t have to pay for one if there was an occupant in the household who is over 75. Our pet turtle Betty turns 80 this December - do we get his free TV Licence? Stourport
It's only the kids who watch TV and they have been naughty, so I've stopped their pocket money for a few months and now they are behind on their payments. King's Lynn
I don’t need a licence, I'm a hologram from Red Dwarf. Norwich
My payment card fell into my hamster's cage and he ate. I'm waiting for it to come out the other end so I can glue it back together and make a payment. Bedworth
I don’t need a TV Licence because my name is Mork. I am from Mars and can't receive a signal here on earth. Unknown (Submitted by call centre agent)
It's not my TV. I was burgled. They stole my television and put this one in its place. Nottingham
My mouse has just died. He used to watch the TV, it gave him some company while I was watching. Northampton
Customer: I don't use the TV
EO: But you've got a satellite dish on your roof
Customer: I've also got milk on my doorstep but it doesn’t mean I've got a cow in my garden.
Chester
I didn't think I needed a licence because I'm not from around here. I'm from somewhere else. Birmingham

North

I have an injured leg which is in a cast. I was scratching my leg under the plaster with my payment card, and it fell in! And now I can't get it! Wakefield
EO: Please can I come in and check your TV?
Customer: I don't have time to talk to you because I'm having my tea.
EO: Anything nice?
Customer: Yes, Shepherd’s Pie
EO: (Jokingly) Have you got enough for two?
Customer: No, I only have enough for one
EO: Can I come in and quickly check?
Customer: (Disappears and returns with Shepherd’s Pie) I told you, I only have enough for one!
Sheffield
I don't need to buy a licence because I am getting married. Newcastle
I only put the TV set on to drown out the noise of my neighbours arguing all day. Hull
It's only the kids who watch TV and they only watch on their Kinder Eggs (sic) Warrington
I was too busy with the Bingo to set up a TV Licence. Sheffield
I am a vicar, part of the clergy. Why do I have to pay? Newcastle upon Tyne
(Answers the door) I'm homeless so I don't need one. Bradford
I don’t have to pay as I am the King of Scotland. Hexham
I have a black and white licence. I only turn the colour on when my granddaughter comes and puts the music channels on, then I turn the colour off when she has gone. Radcliffe

Northern Ireland

My wife said she told me twenty times last week to sort out the TV licence. I swear I never listen to a word she says - why should that be any different when it's about the TV Licence? Holywood
My mum was going to buy me a licence for Christmas. We fell out and she spent the money instead on a holiday to Benidorm. Belfast
I cannot find my licence and will ring Foyle Search and Rescue to find it. Londonderry
I don’t watch TV - I just leave it on for security. Omagh

Scotland

My son bought me a Smart TV. He said it was a smarter than me. So if it's that smart it should be able to get its own TV Licence. Glasgow
I only watch TV on my iPhone - I thought you needed at least 12 inches for a licence. Hawick
My cat is in labour so I don’t have time to talk to you. Dundee
I used my payment card to clean the fish tank. They died so I didn’t need to clean the tank, so I forgot to keep the payments up. Edinburgh
I was told to film you, but my phone is dead so you need to come back later. Forfar
I got the TV to educate my children. Education is free in Scotland so I don't need to buy a TV Licence. Paisley
I only use the TV for the light as I can't be bothered going to the shops to buy light bulbs. Glasgow
I don't need a licence. I steal my neighbour's signal - I'm pretty sure they have a TV Licence! Glasgow
I sent my man to the Co-op two months ago and he got done for shoplifting. I have not seen him since. He gets out next month so I can pay it then. Glasgow
I don’t need a licence because I'm getting evicted for stabbing a guy in the head. I don’t know why I'm being evicted because it happened half a mile up the road. Glasgow

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