Interference 2024

Well this issue we are onto TV! We don’t always do pirate radio in our newsletters and do veer onto legal matters and other associated subjects at times like the meets. I first wanted to do a different subject today Laser558 on DAB (see the news section of our website) but I need to wait awhile before I can do a full newsletter. So instead I am looking into Pirate TV stations in the Brisih Isles. We’ll review the ones which made it into the press. Telstar TV in the Midlands, Thameside TV from Crystal Palace plus Channel 36 and Network 21 plus one other which I will save until the very last.

Now I was going to accuse London Weekend Television of putting out unauthorized tests and showing episodes of Captain Scarlet. I pick this up from Fanderson but Martin Chillman (one of our guys) corrected me and said LWT did colour TV tests after closedown in 1969/1970 where they did show episodes of Captain Scarlet.

1976 we covered the hijacking of the Hannington TV transmitter which was where the audio was interrupted (see our December 2012 issue re 1976 and 1977 transmitter hijacks).

Telstar TV this broadcast on a Friday night from August 1983 with Horror films, Fung Fu films and music videos for around 8 weeks. It was first reported in the Daily Mail on 11th January 1984. The Rubery and Northfield areas of Birmingham were covered, transmission sites were mainly from houses and these were switched from broadcast to broadcast. and would use the BBC2 channel after closedown and stay on until 3 or 4am. It was fronted by a guy calling himself John Taylor and announcing the schedule on air as well as reading out viewers letters. The engineer was Steve Collins who had planned the station.  Needless to say, Telstar came under intense investigation from the RIS and closed down waiting for the RIS to lose interest before returning to the air which we believe it never did. Chris Cooper confirmed reception but states that it had limited coverage in SW Birmingham.

Thameside Television Channel 28 – burst into life on 7th October 1984 at 10pm. This date was deliberately chosen as Channel 36 were aiming to be on the following day. A two hour show was produced linked by Bob Edwards an article making it into the Daily Mail on Tuesday the 9th. Bob linked music videos and the film Yellow Submarine. Tony was the guy behind the camera who I believe was a former Thames TV employee this explains why we don’t see him. The sound was a bit difficult but the broadcasters had a relay on 90.5 MHz VHF to offset this. It solved the sound problem and also aimed to draw people into trying to find the TV station. The programs were on a 2 hour endless loop and the TV transmitter was then switched on from 6pm until midnight seven days a week.

Howard K elaborated for us on the setup. An office was rented at top of building on the A214. Sound was on FM due to problem with the commercially built tv transmitter. The driver was fed into a modified ham 100 Watt UHF linear. Bob Edwards segwayed pop video's with occasional appearances from his sister Sarah. Pop videos came from Thames Television library at Teddington which were copied onto VHS. Howard found it quite amusing watching the Thames news report on this mystery pirate TV station knowing where the videos came from. When it was on air the crew used to sit in the Indian restaurant directly opposite the building. We always had a window table so had a close eye on the front door to the office. It was Tony Lloyd's station with Richard, Debbie and myself doing Crystal Palace work. Bob Edwards and Sarah recorded programmes at Tony Lloyd's house in Staines. We all did screen tests, but Bob and Sarah were the best and Richard and me decided to stick to technical.

Howard did send me a picture of the building!


There was a Christmas Broadcast where no tape survives (Bob was slightly drunk and then the next broadcast appeared on 4th January with programs on a VHS loop from 6pm until midnight each night. The last broadcast was cancelled as the authorities raided the TV transmitter when it was off air. So the proposed broadcast on 1st February never went ahead.

For further info and footage of most transmissions please visit You can see everything apart from the lost Christmas broadcast. Even the video links from the proposed February program.

The crew moved from the previous Thameside Radio patch of West London to Croydon for the TV transmitter site. A logical choice due to the higher ground plus the important fact that peoples TV aerials were pointed there. From letters read out reception was possible in Plumstead in Greenwich so they were putting out a good signal. An article also appeared in the Sunday Times in January. I also went onto a Facebook group and got some additional confirmation about reception.

Mark King received Thameside TV in Hillingdon, it was a weak snowy picture but watchable, he only had a loft aerial.


Meanwhile Chris Curtin (who used to attend our meets) remembers picking up Thameside TV with quite a clear picture using an indoor, set top aerial in his flat just off Kensington High Street. Also thanks to the Intrepid Birdman of Thameside Radio for his input.


On their website there is a also an article from the Daily Mail dated October 9th 1984.


Channel 36 was created by engineers Waveview Holdings who had developed a suitcase sized transmitter which received some publicity in the press. It was Jim Young who set up the pirate tv operation. They wanted a test license, but needless to say it was refused so they thought about doing pirate TV. To reduce the chance of detection transmissions lasted only 30 minutes. The authorities eventually relented and gave them a test and development license which saw the end of their pirate TV.

Source curiousbritish uk

NeTWork 21 was also London based. This in April 86 appeared at midnight on Fridays for 6 months. There was also apparently a radio station as well which lasted a bit longer, The station was founded by people associated with London’s underground art scene, It even gained a mention by Ludovic Kennedy on the BBCs ‘Did You See?’ program. Transmissions lasted until September with a different site for each broadcast. Format was a magazine show featuring interviews, fashion and music. Interestingly they bought the transmitter second hand and the previous user had already done some tests!

The station had a range of eight to ten miles. Sony donated new 8mm camcorders after the station started – bad boys!

The founders claim Janet Street Porter was a viewer and this gave her the incentive to start Network 7 on Channel 4 on Saturday mornings. Best known for broadcasting Dick Spanner a late Gerry Anderson animated show.

Sources and curiousbritish uk


In the 1990s the BBC Music Magazine carried adverts for Laserline FM senders which were 300mw. They also produced a low power TV sender so who knows how many micro TV pirates existed. 

So NeTWork 21 was the end.Or was it? Our member Tony would pick up someone putting out videos in Storrington and he thought it came from a nearby block of flats I think this was in the 90s.



Boyneside TV

Ian Biggar pointed me to this one. Tony Davis was the man behind the TV station which came on air in 1982. Both the TV and radio station came from Donnaghy’s Mill, Mill Lane, Drogheda and used old style Ferguson/ JVC VHS recorders. Ian B visted this station in `82. The station carried local news and also carried the radio DJ in video with Boyneside radio soundtrack. (verified via


Channel D aka Independent Television Dublin verified via

Broadcast films from the State Cinema in Phibsborough Dublin. Planed in April 1981 by Dr Don Moore of Alternate Radio Dublin. Tests started in April from the Camelot Hotel in Malahide and lasted for one week. The tests ceased due to an election and police harassment.  Regular broadcast started in the third week of July and consisted of a VCR being plugged in to play films or other pre-recorded material. Good reception could be gained within five miles in colour and it was possible to be received for a further ten miles by turning ariels around etc but this would be black & white and grainy. The aim was for a local TV station.


Source for Boyneside TV and Channel D



Radio & TV Tedburn

Mind you I have saved the best story until last. This would make a good Ealing comedy film except that it ends badly. Robin Parker lived in Tedburn St. Mary near Exeter in Devon. At the time the village was home to around 900 people who suffered from poor radio and television reception. In 1987 he thought he would get around the issue of the area by relaying two radio stations (BBC?) to improve radio reception as well as operating Radio & TV Tedburn. For the TV station he would record BBC and ITV programmes to rebroadcast. It would seem some of his transmissions caused interference for around 3 miles.  In March he was ordered to stop by officials who had come down from London and Bristol (OK chaps let have a busmans holiday nice trip to the west country). They monitored a repeat of Playchool being put out at lunchtime plus two relay radio channels and Radio Tedburn where Robin was a DJ on his own pop pirate radio.  Robin was an unemployed bachelor and saved £10 per week for his hobby. As well as ordering him to stop the official’s seized equipment from every room in his house. Rob was undeterred and he returned to the air in a week despite assuring the authorities that he would stop. He continued until June when he received another visit shutting down his TV station in the middle of an old film. This time he was prosecuted. Magistrates ordered him, after he pleaded guilty to three charges of installing and three charges of operating the illegal equipment he was ordered to pay £300 in costs and to fortfeit all his equipment. This was quite lenient and the Wonford magistrates appeared quite sympathetic having learnt he only did this to provide a public service in a low signal area. The Rector of Tedburn St. Mary supported Robin on behalf of the village “Everybody knew about Radio Tedburn and thought it was fun. It didn’t worry anybody. The only objection I heard was from the community policeman." (reported in The Times Tuesday November 8th 1988 from my personal newspaper archive)