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Getting TV back for everyone

Since the Bilsdale Mast fire, we’ve restored TV services to more than 98% of homes across the region. We’re building new relay sites to improve TV signals, and engineers will be visiting homes.

But there’s more to do, and we need your help.

If you know a friend, relative or neighbour who may be elderly or vulnerable, and who has no TV signal, then please encourage them to contact us via our freephone line on 0800 121 4828 or visit our helpline form here.

Our helpline is open Mon-Fri (closed on Bank Holidays) between 9am - 6pm.

Retuning Help Available

For retuning help please click here. If you are having trouble please contact us as soon as possible on 0800 121 4828 so we can help. 

Repointing Help Available

If you’ve received a letter from Arqiva about the impact of the new interim mast, click here

Steps to restore your signal

Some Freeview users will need to take specific action to restore their TV signal. If you've noticed a change in your TV signal, here’s what to do:
  1. Retune your TV. For most TVs you simply need to press OK or retune when prompted. See below for retuning instructions.
  2. If your TV doesn’t automatically retune, or if you find retuning difficult and would like further advice, then please visit our retuning page or call our dedicated freephone helpline on 0800 121 4828.
  3. If, after a retune, you are still missing channels, then please call our freephone helpline.
  4. The switch is likely to cause some households to lose their Freeview services. If you’ve received a letter from us then we will send an engineer to repoint your aerial free of charge. Please contact us on 0800 121 4828 as soon as possible, or register your details here.

If you, or someone you care for, needs support or advice then you can fill in an online form to request help here or please call the dedicated freephone number on 0800 121 4828. Our engineers have already made more than 4,600 visits to homes, with many more arranged.

Who can get further help?

Those who qualify for further help through the Project Restore Home Support team – as well as living in the area affected by the Bilsdale Mast fire – need to meet the following requirements:

  • They are unable to watch BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 (in standard definition) on their main TV set - whether this is through the aerial or through a connected SMART TV
  • They do not have TV services from Sky, Virgin or FreeSat on their main TV set
  • They have not claimed one of the Currys vouchers which have been mailed out by Arqiva to people living in “not spots” where there is currently no TV signal.

Exceptions to the eligibility criteria listed above may be made, for example where a viewer with mobility issues relies on a secondary set. These will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Postcode Checker

Use the postcode checker to find out if your area has been affected.

What happened to Bilsdale Mast?

The original mast was more than 300 metres tall and sat on the North York Moors. It served around 670,000 households in urban and rural areas across North Yorkshire, the Tees Valley and County Durham. Weighing around 500 tonnes, it was one of the tallest structures in the UK.

On 10 August 2021, a fire was reported. The fire service arrived within 45 minutes and managed to get the fire under control within a day, although it took five days to clear the site and make it safe.

Unfortunately, the mast suffered serious damage, causing a loss of signal to much of the North East and North Yorkshire. The cause of the incident is still being investigated, but the fire service ruled out arson.

About Arqiva

We’re a telecoms and infrastructure company. We build and operate technology that’s used to provide things like TV, radio, and smart meters. We manage over 1,000 transmitters around the UK. At Bilsdale Mast, we receive signals from the likes of the BBC and ITV, and then send it back out across the country.

How we are helping

We have restored some Freeview TV services to more than 98% of households across the region following the fire at Bilsdale Mast last August. We have used a combination of new and existing sites to deliver signals to the area, including a second, interim mast near the original site. Many new relay sites are now in place across the region.The switchover to this 80-metre mast took place on 23rd February, and it will be more robust and reliable in bad weather. Planning permission for the replacement permanent mast, which will be more than 300 metres tall and one of the UK’s tallest structures, has been granted and construction will begin as soon as possible.

We’re continuing to bring together local authorities, charities and housing associations to help us identify households which remain without Freeview TV services so we can offer a range of solutions that will ensure no one is left without TV services. From the outset we prioritised people aged over 65, the clinically vulnerable and their carers, so we could target help to them first.

We are providing a range of help, support and advice, with a dedicated freephone number to call 0800 121 4828 and this websiteand via locations across the region. Engineers are providing repointing of TV aerials to householders, and other fixes, and we have offered TV streaming devices to some homes in the area. We are here to help.

Who else is helping?

We’re working closely with charities, housing associations and all of the local councils to get in touch with people who are still experiencing problems with their TV signal. We are grateful for their support, and that of other partners and stakeholders, in trying to meet the challenges of Project Restore. And, to protect the local moorland and local wildlife, we’re also working with environmental experts and ecologists.

FAQs

Those who qualify for further help from Arqiva through the Project Restore Home Support team must meet the following conditions:

  • Cannot watch BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 (in standard definition) on their main TV set - whether this is through the aerial or through a connected SMART TV
  • Do not have TV from Sky, Virgin or Freesat on their main TV set
  • Live in the affected area
  • Have not claimed a £50 Currys voucher that Arqiva will mail out to those households in not-spots.

In order to act as quickly as possible, it has been necessary to prioritise certain TV services over others. This is because the relay towers that we have and can put up quickly have limited space and therefore can’t carry equipment for all the channels that were on Bilsdale Mast, which was more than 300 metres tall. The channels that appear in numbers 1 to 5 on your TV are known as the core Public Service Broadcasting services. These provide the core services which are intended for public benefit and are required by law to carry critical local and national news as well as public service announcements. They also deliver the largest share of TV viewing on Freeview. The reason we have focused on standard definition (SD) is that not all TV sets can access HD and this ensures nobody is excluded from receiving these critical services.

We are of course working towards eventually restoring all services to households as quickly as possible.

We’ve met with local organisations such as Age UK, local authorities and housing associations to discuss the best way to serve these people. We’re currently putting plans in place with local partners and we’ll provide an update as soon as there’s more news.

Priority will be given to people over 65, to the clinically vulnerable and other vulnerable people with carers.