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Parrots, microwave ovens and the King of Scotland feature in the list of implausible excuses for not having a TV Licence given over the last year. Many from the list have been turned into animations by five of the UK’s leading animation universities in a bid to win a national competition.
All areas of the UK have demonstrated a creative approach. One Plymouth resident claimed his TV was only used to send his pet goldfish to sleep, while a TV viewer in Glasgow told a TV Licensing Officer he didn’t need a licence as he simply stole his neighbour’s signal. An exasperated West Midlands viewer informed TV Licensing that she couldn’t pay for her TV licence as her payment card had been eaten by her hamster and she was waiting for it to “come out the other end”.
Musical excuses also feature in the list, with one imaginative viewer from Lincoln claiming her TV was only on for her parrot, Captain Jack Sparrow, so he could learn the theme tune to Bargain Hunt. Outlandish royal claims were also heard, with one Northumbrian viewer stating he didn’t need a licence as he was the self-proclaimed ‘King of Scotland’.
Jason Hill, TV Licensing spokesperson, said: “The students’ animations are highly imaginative but we’re not so impressed with the creative approach to excuses, as watching or recording live TV without a licence is against the law. Even though we’re effective at catching evaders, we’d always prefer people pay than risk a maximum £1,000 fine. For those who may find it difficult to pay in one go, we offer a range of payment options to spread the cost.”
In a quest to find the best animated excuse and animation, degree course students in Derby, Middlesex, Ulster, Dundee and Bristol have worked their creative magic on some dubious explanations for non-payment, which visiting officers and call centre staff have heard this year.
Prizes will be awarded for the People’s Choice and the Judges’ Award, made by a panel of animation industry experts.
The winner of the People’s Choice film will be based on the highest number of ‘likes’ received on the TV Licensing YouTube channel, with all films available immediately. Viewers will have until 5pm on 4th March to vote for their favourites.
The judging panel comprises BAFTA-winning animator Marc Crast from Studio AKA, Jason Fletcher-Bartholomew, Senior Animator at Aardman and Red Bee Media Executive Creative Director Charlie Mawer. Together they will select the Judges’ Award winner. Criteria including directing, production, animation quality and script will be used to assess the entries.
According to Mawer, the Excuses animation competition has certainly demonstrated the next generation of animators is brimming with talent and creativity. “The quality of the entries is very high, with excuses as diverse as microwave TVs to claims that the owner is a hologram from Red Dwarf. The competition shows just how diverse, unique and talented we are as an animation nation. The People’s Choice voting is now open, so please visit youtube.com/tvlicensing to vote for your favourite, by ‘liking’ the video.”