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15 August, 2005

Big Brother says I can watch 'Big Brother'

I fully support the concept of publicly-funded, public-service media, and that each household's contribution has to be verified, but it still feels odd to receive a legal document containing the statement:

Keep your validated licence in a safe place.  It is your proof that you are licensed to watch television.

The licence costs £126.50, and is, in effect, a tax from which the BBC is funded (the 50p is the BBC website's share). It's not a subscription for BBC services, though – it's quite possible to only watch the commercial TV networks (which don't receive a penny of the licence fee), whilst still being obliged to pay for the BBC. Conversely, it's possible to listen to the BBC radio networks for free and without the interruption of adverts, as BBC Radio is also funded by the TV licence fee.

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