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What happened to the 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.

What Happened

On 10 August 2021, a fire was reported which caused serious damage, resulting in a loss of signal to much of the North East and North Yorkshire. The mast subsequently had to be demolished. Arqiva has been informed that its insurers have now concluded their investigations and whilst the precise findings have not been shared, Arqiva understands that the root cause of the fire has been attributed to water ingress to an electrical component connected to third-party equipment.

How we helped

We provided a range of help, support and advice services, with a dedicated freephone number and this website. Engineers visited homes to repoint TV aerials, provided other fixes and we  offered vouchers to purchase TV streaming devices to some homes in the area.

The team involved

We brought together local authorities, charities and housing associations to help us identify households which were without Freeview TV services, to offer a range of solutions to ensure no one was 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.

Current status

The new mast went live for TV services on Monday 22 May 2023, with HD services following in early June. 

The full-size replacement mast, at over 300m tall, is one of the UK’s tallest structures.

Anyone experiencing signal loss AFTER a retune should visit


TV services have been returned to a full-size mast. Answers to the most common outstanding questions are below.

The new mast went live for TV services on Monday 22 May 2023. 

Anyone experiencing loss of signals AFTER a retune should visit

The vast majority of people across your region will not need to do anything to have their TV services restored. If you notice a change, we recommend a retune or rescan. Guides on how to do this can be found HERE.

Now the core TV services have been restored work will continue to install the additional services on the new mast, such as radio and mobile service.

The Project Restore helpscheme was initiated in October 2021 to support viewers in restoring their core TV services (Channels 1-5 in standard definition) following the go-live of the first temporary mast. Channels 1-5 are the main Freeview channels containing public service broadcasting services and news bulletins.

 Since then, we have taken over 26,000 phone calls, arranged more than 8,000 engineer visits and seen nearly 300,000 visits to the dedicated website, 

On May 22, 2023 the new, full size, permanent mast at Bilsdale went live. This restored the core Freeview channels to the region, on the same frequencies and to the same signal area as the old mast.

At the time, we wrote directly to viewers where we had made a change to their aerial system so we could reverse it.

We provided a Help Scheme for a period from the launch of the new mast, to support viewers who might need help in restoring services.

That scheme closed in July as any new issues experienced are very unlikely to be related to the fire.

Any viewers experiencing new disruption to their TV signals can visit the Freeview website at for further help.