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Colour TV is 50 - but some still prefer black & white

50 years after the first colour television broadcasts, 8,000 UK households still watch in black and white.

In contrast, fewer than 500 households owned a colour TV when BBC Two became the first channel to broadcast in colour with coverage of the 1967 Wimbledon Championships.

The account of the BBC's history says the launch of colour programmes was brought forward by six months, so as to beat other European broadcasters allowing the BBC to claim the title of first colour broadcaster in Europe. But originally only five hours a week were available in colour.

In December 1967, 80% of BBC Two's programmes became available in colour, with BBC One and ITV following in 1969. BBC Two was the first user of the PAL colour analogue TV standard, a standard that was in use across the country until 5-10 years ago, until the region-by-region digital switchover.

Despite the ubiquity of colour TV today, with the added benefit of HD TV, figures released by TV Licensing confirm around 8,000 households as still having a black & white TV licence. London has 1,500 households who prefer to watch TV in black and white, while second-place Birmingham has 377 such households. Manchester is in third place with 275 households.