The stolen TV, the lethal injection and other licence excuses animated

Red Bee Media has worked with animation studio White Robot on a campaign for TV Licensing, highlighting the creative and surreal real-life excuses given by people who failed to pay their licence fees.

Red Bee was brought in to create content as the centrepiece of organisation TV Licensing’s YouTube channel, which looks to draw attention to ‘the unjust nature of TV Licence evasion on behalf of the honest 95 per cent of people who pay’, according to the consultancy.

Red Bee brought in Scottish animation collective White Robot to create a series of three short animation films, where birds voice real-life reasons given for evading the licences.

Highlights include ‘I had not paid as I received a lethal injection’ and ‘Why would I need a TV License for a TV I stole? Nobody knows I’ve got it.’

Andy Bryant, Red Bee Media creative director, says, ‘We felt that if we could make people laugh they might just feel a little warmer about TV Licensing. And what better way than to use the brilliant comedy goldmine of excuses they’re already sitting on ­ hilarious, rude, surreal and bizarre.’

Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson of White Robot initially created three animations, entitled Stolen TV, Lost Weight and Lethal Injection, which will be shown from today. Two further films, Queen’s Corgi and Six Months to Live, will be launched on the channel later in the year.

Anderson says, ‘Our style of animation really lends itself to TV Licensing’s excuses. Using bold, vibrant animation we are able to develop the nature of the excuses, and abstract them with our sense of humour.

‘The excuses were naturally funny, so it was all about how we could bring them to life. All of our work is particularly conversational, so it’s a good match.’


  • Why would I need a TV Licence for a TV I stole? Nobody knows I’ve got it. (Kilmarnock, Scotland)
  • I have lost weight recently and had to buy new clothes. That’s why I could not afford to buy a TV Licence (Manchester, North West)
  • I had not paid as I received a lethal injection. [Location unknown]
  • Apparently my dog, which is a corgi, was related to the Queen’s dog so I didn’t think I needed a TV Licence. (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
  • I don¹t want to pay for a licence for a full year. Knowing my luck I’ll be dead in six months and won¹t get value for money. (Cardiff, Wales)
  • I  could not pay for my TV Licence because the Olympic torch was coming down my road and I could not get to the shop as the road was too busy. (London)
  • I only use my TV as a lamp. If you switch it on it gives a good glow which allows me to read my book. (Dundee, Scotland)
  • The only way I can afford to pay for my TV Licence is if I sell my hamster, is that what you want me to do? (Liverpool, North West)
  • Only my three year old son watches the TV. Can you take it out of the family allowance I receive for him? He watches it so he should pay. (Manchester, North West)
  • [Customer presented half a torn paper licence to a visiting  Enquiry Officer] I spend so much time at my neighbour’s house, we thought we would just share a TV Licence. My neighbour has the other half. (Glasgow, Scotland)
  • I could not pay as I only have two pairs of pants and they were both in the wash. (Slough, South East)
  • I got caught shoplifting so I’m barred from the shop that takes PayPoint payments. (Leeds, North)


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