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TV signal problems in North East – Bilsdale transmitter issues explained and when it'll be fixed

A fire broke out Bilsdale transmitter, cutting off all BBC radio and television services.

Published: Tuesday, 10th August 2021 at 5:29 pm

More than a million people in the North East are still without TV and radio services following a fire at a transmitter in Bilsdale earlier in the week.

A fire broke out at the television and radio transmission station on Tuesday 10th August. Black smoke was reported at Bilsdale transmitter, with the signal mast near Helmsley on fire.


The incident has affected all of the BBC's radio and television services in North Yorkshire, with areas including Darlington, Aycliffe, Teesside and some areas in North Yorkshire impacted.

Viewers in the area are still able to access BBC programmes on iPlayer in spite of the loss of transmission, while radio shows can be accessed via BBC Sounds.

The North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service tweeted at the time that six fire appliances and a mobile water bowser had been dispatched to the area affected to tackle the fire.

"Crews are working hard to control the fire in difficult circumstances, " the NYFRS Tweeted. "It is unclear at this time if any other centres transmitting capability has been affected or the cause of the fire which will be investigated in due course."

They also advised members of the public not to go near the site, as the area has "limited access and we need to be able to move vehicles and people around to help fight the fire".

When will the Bilsdale transmitter be fixed?

While it's not yet clear when the problem will be solved, a spokesperson for the transmitter's operator Arqiva told BBC News that it had started to gradually restore services "using a combination of temporary structures and existing infrastructure elsewhere in the region".

"[We] will be moving through this process as quickly and safely as possible," the statement read.

The BBC had previously offered an update on when they hoped the issue would be resolved.

"We have been notified of a fire at the Bilsdale transmitter that provides television and radio services in North Yorkshire and Teesside," the broadcaster said in a statement on Tuesday. "All radio and television services are currently unavailable. Emergency services are on site and dealing with the incident. This is also affecting the smaller transmitters which receive signals from Bilsdale."

It continued: "Once emergency services have dealt with the incident, engineers will assess the damage and work towards restoring the services as soon as possible. Please keep checking this news item for further updates."

You can check the site here, and check whether your area is affected using the BBC's transmitter fault checker.

Sky, Freesat and Cable services are not affected by the fire, and Internet and Wi-Fi connections should remain as usual, meaning you can watch BBC programming via BBC iPlayer while the issue gets resolved.


Check out our TV Guide to plan your viewing.


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