Relay masts restore TV signals for Dales viewers after Bilsdale fire

Bilsdale transmitter before the fire. Photo: Martin Dawes/Wikipedia.

Some households in the Dales who lost TV signal due to the fire at the Bilsdale transmitter may now be able to retune their sets to get their reception back.

Freeview should now be available for those residents who get their signal from relay masts at West Burton in Bishopdale and Grinton Lodge in Swaledale.

A spokesperson for Arqiva, which owns the masts, said: “We continue to work through the process to enable access to the Bilsdale site to build the temporary mast.

“There is no specific new detail to share at this point but we are continuing to work round the clock to find a way forward.

“Meanwhile, this week has seen the successful restoration of some Freeview television services for those who receive signals from the smaller relay sites in the following areas:

  • Grinton Lodge
  • Ravenscar
  • Aislaby
  • West Burton
  • Romaldskirk

“These relays normally receive a signal from the main Bilsdale mast (Aislaby actually takes its signal from Ravenscar) and pass it on to the communities in the area that cannot see the main mast.

“We once again apologise that services have not been restored as quickly as we’d hoped and will provide a further update as soon as possible.”

Freeview said those customers who were struggling to pick up any signal should try an automatic retune, particularly if they live in and around Richmond, Darlington, Leyburn, Catterick and Masham.

A spokesperson added: “If you take your signal from the relays at Whitby, Guisborough, Ravenscar, Limber Hill, Skinningrove, Romaldkirk, West Burton, Aislaby or Peterlee, then you should have seen some channels restored if you haven’t retuned since 10th August.

“If you have retuned since 10th August, then please run another automatic retune.

“If you retune now, you will need to retune again when the Bilsdale temporary mast is erected. The retune we recommend you do now is a short-term measure designed to get as many homes viewing again as possible.

“If doing an automatic retune does not restore any channels, unfortunately it is unlikely that you will be able to receive a signal until the new temporary Bilsdale transmitter is turned on.

“For those viewers not comfortable with doing an automatic retune and who have not retuned at all since the fire, the plan to restart transmitting from Bilsdale involves channels returning without the need for an automatic retune.”

Meanwhile, there was good news for TV licence payers who have been affected by the fire with the BBC announcing a rebate for those who have been worst affected.

The BBC said in a statement issued to The Northern Echo: “Customers in the affected area who have been unable to receive TV coverage for over a month, and who are unable to view BBC programming through BBC iPlayer and on cable and satellite platforms, will be eligible for a refund or be offered a free extension to their TV Licence to cover the months affected.


  1. Why does the BBC think that they should only have to issue refunds to customers who have been without reception for greater than 1 month. I am sure that they,and the other Broadcasters using this mast will be expecting compensation from the mast company for every day of non transmission , especially the ones who use advertising for revenue. Applying the same rule, does this then mean that I can delay paying my license fee for 1 month or less whilst continuing to watch live tv without prosecution ?

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