Do I need a TV licence to watch 2019’s best TV?


General Finance

With Game of Thrones and Line of Duty behind us, 2019 has already been a pretty big year for TV. And plenty of highly-anticipated series are coming later this year. But whatever’s on your watch list, if you’re watching it live, you’ll need a TV licence.

So let’s take a look at the TV shows everyone’s talking about and whether you’ll need a TV licence to watch them. After all, you wouldn’t want to get stung with a £1000 fine!

Chernobyl – 7th May – 4th June 2019

If you’re using Now TV to catch up on Chernobyl before the final episode on 4th June 2019, you don’t need a TV licence. But if you watch the final episode live, you’ll need one. Even if you’re watching it through Now TV.

Champions League Final – 1st June 2019

Yes, you do need a TV licence to watch Liverpool v Tottenham in the Champions League Final. The game will be shown on BT Sport, on the BT Sport app, and on the BT Sport website. Whichever way you want to watch it, if you watch it at the same time as it’s being shown on live TV, you need a licence.

Love Island – starting 3rd June 2019

Sorry, Family Guy fans. Until August, the 9pm slot on ITV2 is about one thing only – Love Island. If you’re one of the 4 million people who tune in to watch it live, you’ll need a TV licence. You don’t need a TV licence to watch it on catch up, as long as you watch it after it’s been shown on TV.

Black Mirror – starting 5th June 2019

Season 5 of Black Mirror is released on Netflix on 5th June 2019. You don’t need a TV licence if you only watch TV on streaming services such as Netflix, but before you make big plans with the money you’ll save, remember that Netflix is putting up prices this summer.

Killing Eve – starting 8th June 2019

After an award winning first season, season 2 of Killing Eve hits BBC1 on 8th June 2019. And if you want to watch it, you need a TV licence. Yep, even if you plan to binge it on iPlayer after it’s been broadcast. In 2016 the BBC made it compulsory to have a TV licence to watch iPlayer at any time.

The Handmaid’s Tale – starting 9th June 2019

Season 3 of the Handmaid’s Tale starts on Channel 4 on 9th June 2019. You’ll need a TV licence to watch it at the same time as it’s being shown on TV (whether on TV or online), but you don’t need a licence to watch it later on catch up.

What do I need a TV licence for?

If we didn’t go into detail about your favourite series, this table should help you decide whether you need a TV licence.


Do I need a TV licence?

BBC 1, 2 and 4 


BBC iPlayer




ITV player

No (if you're not watching live)

Channel 4, E4 and More 4


All 4

No (if you're not watching live)

Channel 5



No (if you're not watching live)



Amazon Prime

No (if you're not watching live)

Now TV

No (if you're not watching live)



BT TV (including BT Sport)


Virgin Media


Is the TV licence fee worth it?

The answer to this question depends on what TV you watch and how you watch it. If watching TV live and keeping up with the running commentary on Twitter is your thing, get a TV licence. If you’re a binge-watcher, or you don’t watch BBC programmes, you can probably do without.

You could get a fine of up to £1000 plus legal costs if you watch live TV or BBC programmes without a licence. So if you know you’re going to watch the new season of Peaky Blinders later this year, it’s best to just pay the licence fee.

How much is the TV licence fee?

A colour TV licence costs £154.50, and a black and white licence costs £52 (prices correct as of 31st May 2019).

Over 75s can apply for a free TV licence, and if you’re blind or partially sighted you could get the fee reduced.

Budgeting for your TV licence payments

If you need a TV licence, you can choose to pay the whole thing in one go, or spread the cost into monthly/quarterly payments. Whichever you choose, pay by Direct Debit and your thinkmoney Current Account will automatically keep enough money aside to cover it. So you can relax in front of EastEnders knowing your TV licence is paid on time.

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