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Red Button

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

People over 75 are suffering again with the BBC’s removal of its Red Button service. This allowed people in this age group to find out the lottery results, without requiring a smart phone. Such a service is especially important during a lockdown. Carole Railton (frsa) explains how she learnt about these problems and how all this affects her.

I am just about to buy my first television. What, I hear you say!

Well, here’s the story.

Years ago, I had a TV that I won in a competition whilst working for Xerox. It was a lovely modern white one. It served me well. It was only when I relocated to live on my own that I let it go. I have watched TVs though, whilst in hotel rooms, when travelling with my job. It was usually American news channels like CNN.

Now’s the time. After having spent years without a TV it’s time to get ahead and get a new one. But it was was not until the first lockdown in the UK that I was aware of the need for my own TV, without the need for an aerial, to keep me company. 

My next door neighbour very kindly gifted me one the day before the first lockdown. It’s large and requires an aerial, that I do not have. Therefore, it has stayed in the corner of my lounge since March. Instead of watching TV, I spent the lockdown repainting most of the inside of my house.


 As I have been doing my research for a TV I noticed something that is affecting pensioners in the UK. Having recently got pensioners over 75 to pay for TV licences, last week, quietly, the BBC made it impossible for elderly and disabled to get the results of their lottery tickets. Those without smartphones or the internet are unable to get the results and are fuming that this service has been struck from the BBCs offering, known as the Red Button service, even though people have relied on this service for 20 years

This is really bad news for people without access to smartphones, especially because people in London have gone into lockdown again. As yet, there has been no response from the BBC, even though local charities, which rely on the purchase of lottery tickets, have asked for the service to be reinstated. Let’s hope that this issue is resolved soon.

Now it’s back to me ordering a new TV for my home, a TV that serves me well and educates me during this unusual time of lockdown. I’m very glad too that I have wifi and I am able to check my lottery results as and when I need to. I hope that I am soon sitting down watching my own TV instead of perching my computer on my knee, in order to see any TV, as I have done for the last couple of years.

I hope, too, that the Red Button service on which many pensioners so rely is reinstated soon.

Carole Railton (copyright): A back of her television.

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