The most popular TV programme in the UK over Christmas 1991 was Auntie’s Bloomers. Millions of viewers watched a selection of clips from the BBC’s archives, showing various well known television personalities at embarrassing moments while the camera was running, clips that never made it to the final programme. For a significant fraction of these viewers, their enjoyment would have been spoilt by a bloomer of another kind. In the first half of 1985, before a service charge was introduced, the UK’s Radio Investigation Service was receiving an average of 1900 complaints a month relating to broadcast reception, and about 80% of the RIS’s resources were devoted to domestic radio and TV reception problems. Spots, hash, snowstorms, colour ...

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