Northern Echo Compels BBC To Refund TV Viewers

The Northern Echo has prompted the BBC to refund viewers after a fire at a Bilsdale transmitter left thousands of people without TV signals.

Over 1,000 people contacted the newspaper with their concerns, especially for elderly residents. The BBC had at first decided not to recompense those affected, however pressure from the paper prompted them to do so, which they subsequently announced exclusively in the Echo.

David Bourn, Echo’s senior print editor, said: “When we first approached the BBC they said they couldn’t help.

“But when we pointed out that thousands of our readers, particularly the elderly, have no internet and the TV is their only window on the world, they agreed to pay refunds.

“It’s classically what we are all about, fighting for our readers. We promise we will keep monitoring things and won’t let the BBC off the hook.

“Nobody is blaming them for what has happened but why on earth should people have to pay for a service they can’t access?”

Karl Holbrook, editor of the Echo, also said: “I am absolutely delighted that the BBC has seen sense on this issue, which has affected tens of thousands of people across North Yorkshire and the North East, although we still don’t think it goes far enough.

“No consumer should be expected to pay for a service they don’t receive and many BBC licence payers have not been able to receive the service they have paid for.

“We were adamant that something should be done and I’m made up that our journalism has been able to make a genuine difference. It’s testament to the hard work and determination of our very own David Bourn and Connor Larman, in particular, who have battled away at this behind the scenes for days.

“It is proper journalism in action and another fine example of why local news matters. Now we will battle away to make sure this scheme is extended to everyone affected.”