Oct 112021

UK TV Problems in the UK in 2021

In recent weeks, the UK has been hit by a number of situations that has caused all sorts of TV reception issues on most platforms (satellite, terrestrial, cable).

Most viewers will be unaware of the problems, but there have been clues.

But here is a quick rundown of what has happened to UK TV in recent weeks.

August 2021

A fire broke out at the 314-meter high Bilsdale signal mast on moorland above Helmsley, North Yorkshire. The mast transmits TV and radio signals to parts of North Yorkshire, Teesside and County Durham and hundreds of households have lost their TV and radio reception this afternoon as a result of the fire.

Temporary masts and repeaters have been set up for the area to provide TV and radio coverage. Signals to these masts are being proved by the Freeview back up service on Intelsat 907 at 27.5west, and a temporary frequency on the UK TV satellites at 28east.

The old tower has been demolished :

And a temporary 80m mast has been installed and about to go live soon. Planning permission has been sought for a new tower at the old towers location.

(Obviously this will not affect anyone in my service area of Spain, since you cannot receive Freeview in Spain!)


September 2021

Channels operated by BBC, Channel 4 and Five go off air on all platforms (satellite, terrestrial, cable) due to a fire / suspected fire at the Red Bee playout centre in London.

BBC quickly switched playout to Salford – most people won’t have noticed any difference, it was pretty seamless (although SCD got a generic recorded announcer intro, and not the usual live announcer intro)

Channel 5 got back on air after approx 20 minutes, in “recovery mode” – you may have noticed that all their channels have a small black and white flag top right of the screen to indicate this recovery mode.

But Channel 4 and it channels, including their music channels was badly affected.  In fact, going into the second week of October, Channel 4 still seem to have problems, with subtitles, music channels all playing the same feed, and weird brightness issues on a number of programmes. But today (11 OCtober) it appears that most of the issues have been resolved, and they are now again doing regionalised adverts and some subtitles.


October 2021

Reports say that ITV apparently went off the air in the northern Freeview regions on Sunday 10th October at approx 09:30, followed by another glitch at 1pm. This may point to a problem at the Leeds playout centre. This meant ITV probably switched to their backup / recovery playout  centre.


A day later, on Monday 11th viewers reporting issues with ITV channels on Freeview in the UK, and others reporting that ITV Hub has also failed.

ITV reported at approx 1800 that all services were back to normal.


It is not thought that the reported solar flare had anything to do with this.

Or Brexit.

Or Boris.

Yet, it is amazing to think that all 5 of the main UK TV channels were all in “disaster / recover mode” at one point on Sunday!

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