Harrogate TV viewers may face 'indefinite disruption' after huge blaze at 1,000 ft transmitter mast

TV viewers in Harrogate are being warned it may be days or even weeks until a normal service is resumed after a 1,032ft tall transmitter  mast was hit by a major blaze.

Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 10:31 am
Bilsdale transmitter mast before the blaze - Mast operator Arqiva said it was bringing in temporary equipment but could not say when TV services would be fully restored.

It took eight pumps and crews from across the region most of Tuesday to put out the blaze at the mast at Bilsdale near Helmsley which provides digital TV signals for most of North Yorkshire and large parts of north-east England.

A 984ft exclusion zone has now been put in place around transmitting centre, high on the North York Moors with concerns for its structural integrity.

The website Downdetector is reporting TV and raido outages in areas such as Harrogate, York, Sunderland, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees.

Mast operator Arqiva said it was bringing in temporary equipment but could not say when services would be fully restored and could not offer specific timelines.

The BBC said yesterday that Freeview had been affected: “All radio and TV services are currently unavailable.

“This is also affecting the smaller transmitters which receive signals from Bilsdale.

“Please use the transmitter checker tool to find out if this problem is affecting reception at your location or if you are able to receive a radio service from another transmitter.

"Sky, Freesat and Cable services are not affected.

“If you want to continue watching or listening try BBC Sounds for radio or BBC iPlayer for television.”

People are being advised against retuning their TVs and radio but to use catch-up services until the transmitting problem is resolved.

Among the radio services affected are BBC Radios 1-4, Radio Tees & BBC DAB, SDL, North Yorkshire DAB, BAUER Teeside, Digital 1, TFM, Capital, Heart & Classic FM.

The first call about the fire came from an engineer working at the site at approximately 1.30pm on Tuesday.

So fierce was the blaze, a huge black cloud of smoke could be seen from miles away.

The 315m tall transmtter tower was built in 1969 and provides coverage for homes across northern England, from Tadcaster to Seaham.