Grahame Morris MP

Member of Parliament for Easington

Tyne Tees Digital Switchover – Are you ready?

August 21, 2012 Blog 0

Five years ago television history was made in Whitehaven, Cumbria when the first analogue signal for BBC2 was switched off – starting the UK’s Digital Switch.

The Tyne Tees/North East region is the last region in England to go through the switchover process and every household in the region should have received a guide to switchover which will explain what will happen at each stage of the switchover and how to retune all Freeview, BT Vision and TopUpTV equipment when the new higher strength services start up in September.

The North East digital switchover will be completed in two stages. Stage one takes place on September 12 which will see analogue BBC Two close and the first group of Freeview digital channels become available for the first time to thousands of homes watching local ‘relay’ transmitters in digital blackspots such as Sunderland, Whitby, Morpeth and Berwick-upon-Tweed.

At stage two on September 26, the other analogue channels – BBC One, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – will be switched off forever and replaced with additional TV, radio and text services.

The two-stage process gives people the chance to check their equipment. Every viewer with Freeview, BT Vision or Top Up TV will need to re-tune their digital TV or box at each switchover stage.

More than 97 per cent of viewers in the North East are already watching digital television services on at least their main television set and may think that switchover doesn’t affect them.    Those who are just watching satellite or cable services are correct in thinking that they won’t have to do anything – but all Freeview, BT Vision and TopUp TV equipment will need to be retuned at or after both stages of the switchover on 12 and 26 September.

Switchover Help Scheme

The Help Scheme is run by the BBC and can help everyone who is eligible disabled, aged 75 or over, registered blind or partially sighted or anyone who has lived in a care home for 6 months or more with everything they need to switch one TV to digital.

The standard option is available for an all-inclusive cost of £40. This help is free if you or someone you care for is eligible and also gets certain income-related benefits.

You can also check if you or someone you know is eligible by using the online eligibility checker.

If you are not sure if you are eligible for help, call free on 0800 40 85 900 or e-mail

Digital TV Switchover

More information about Digital Switch can be found online at