TV licensing investigators today lifted the lid on the crazy excuses viewers make for not paying up.
“I couldn’t pay as I only have two pairs of pants and they were both in the wash” is one of the many outrageous real-life excuses given to TV Licensing by people in the south east caught watching telly without a TV icence over the past year.
Other questionable excuses given included, “I thought only had to pay on the weeks I was watching the TV”, and “I was unable to pay for my TV Licence because my husband posted the payment card along with the Christmas cards”.
TV Licensing said some people in the authority’s south east region - which includes the Portsmouth area - even blamed their pets for not purchasing a licence.
One claimed “I couldn’t afford to pay because my dog’s just been diagnosed with epilepsy”, whilst another stated “I’ve got a sick puppy and I couldn’t get out to the shops because it needs special treatment”.
Emma Cowlard, TV Licensing spokeswoman, said: “Some of the excuses from the South East this year are hilarious, but being caught without a valid TV Licence is a criminal offence and no laughing matter. Poorly pets aside, it’s breaking the law to watch or record 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, three ‘excuses’ have been turned in to short animation films by the BAFTA winning animation partnership Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson from whiterobot.co.uk.
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.”