Author's hilarious response to TV Licence demands

Felicity Hannah
Rosen Trevithick
Rosen Trevithick



Have you ever received an angry letter from the BBC demanding you cough up your annual licence fee?

Well, bestselling author Rosen Trevithick has had 10, despite repeatedly informing the Beeb that she doesn't watch TV. So she wrote a letter and shared it with her Twitter followers (scroll down to read letter in full...

It's a letter calculated to make even the most hardened TV licence officer blush and consider a career change.

TV licence fee excuses revealed

"Presumably, you find it inconceivable that I might be able to live my life without a television set," she writes. "Please rest assured that I have clean drinking water and adequate sanitation; televisual entertainment is the only impoverished aspect of my life."

She goes on to question why the TV licence office hasn't purchased her new book, My Granny Writes Erotica. "You have left me no alternative but to schedule a visit from my enforcement officer. He will visit your address without any further warning and threaten you with a court order if you do not let him in immediately."

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Just tell them?

If you've never lived without a TV licence then you may be wondering why the author hasn't just politely written to inform them she doesn't require one. But according to her, she has – many, many times.

"Should you wish to inform me that you do not have copies of any of my books, I have provided a link to my website, mygrannywriteserotica.co.uk, where you can leave your details. I shall then assume you are lying and ignore your correspondence, much like last year when I told you I had no television set and you visited my personal home anyway."

Bob the belligerent

Ms Trevithick tops off her letter with a jibe at its officiousness: "If you would like a more accessible version of this letter, you will not be able to read this sentence offering you a more accessible version of this letter. Thus, you are screwed."

She also posted it with a Bob The Builder stamp, tweeting that it was "the perfect touch". Yes, the perfect passive aggressive touch...

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But if the Twitter response is anything to go by then she's struck a chord. At the time of writing, the letter had been retweeted more than 2,400 times and favourite more than 1,700 times.

Twitter user @rwsweet captured the general mood in his tweet:

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Could you go without a licence?

In her cutting response, the bestselling author refers to the BBC's online services, pointing out that her books are available to download via the web "much like BBC iPlayer". So perhaps readers might wonder if she's sneakily watching Beeb programmes even without a TV.

The good news for Ms Trevithick is that she doesn't need one to watch old programmes, only for watching live TV. The BBC's rules state: "You need to be covered by a valid TV Licence if you watch or record TV as it's being broadcast."

However, if she's ever tempted to view the BBC News website and watch live coverage, her defence is kaput – you need a licence for any live viewing whether you watch it through a TV or not.

An estimated half a million houses avoid paying the fee this way – although the BBC is reportedly looking to close this loophole.

Below is a tweet of the writer's acerbic letter in full (if the text is too small for you, scroll down for our transcription). Enjoy.

UPDATE: A TV Licensing spokesperson has told AOL Money: "We're trying to get in touch with Rosen to sort this out for her. If you don't need a licence, you can just fill in a simple form at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/notv. We will update our database and not get in touch again for two years."


But what do you think? Is Rosen Trevithick right to be so annoyed by the endless letters and threats or is the BBC right to be so proactive? Have your say using the comments below this letter.

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Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for the ten letters you sent concerning the lack of a TV license at this address, each demanding action and making threats.

Presumably, you find it inconceivable that I might be able to live my life without a television set. Please rest assured that I have clean drinking water and adequate sanitation; televisual entertainment is the only impoverished aspect of my life.

As it happens, I find it inconceivable that you could live your life without a copy of my book, My Granny Writes Erotica. However, my records show no purchases from your address. Even though all my books are available to download from the Internet (much like BBC iPlayer and Netflix), I still find it beyond belief that you could be able to live and breathe without paper copies.

You have left me no alternative but to schedule a visit from my enforcement officer. He will visit your address without any further warning and threaten you with a court order if you do not let him in immediately. Upon access, he will conduct a thorough search of your premises.

Should you wish to inform me that you do not have copies of any of my books, I have provided a link to my website, mygrannywriteserotica.co.uk, where you can leave your details. I shall then assume you are lying and ignore your correspondence, much like last year when I told you I had no television set and you visited my personal home anyway.

This is your last chance to pay for a copy of my book. I will accept payment via PayPal, cheque or chocolate.

If you would like a more accessible version of this letter, you will not be able to read this sentence offering you a more accessible version of this letter. Thus, you are screwed.

Yours faithfully,

Rosen Trevithick
Bestselling author