Bilsdale Transmitter – phase 2 will be to erect a temporary 80metre mast within 2 weeks

13 August 2021

Arqiva have released an update on the progress with returning service. The plan is to erect a 80metre temporary mask within 2 weeks, although that will not reach all households that the 300metre served. An assesment is now being made as to which households will be reached.

A spokesperson for Arqiva said:

We have had some success during phase 1 of our recovery plan using the Eston Nab site to restore services for some areas. Eston Nab is unfortunately unable to reach all the areas served by the larger Bilsdale mast, as broadcast signals rely on line-of-sight between transmitter and receiver (your rooftop aerial). This is the reason why masts such as the one at Bilsdale need to be so tall, and why they are located where they are – to reach as many homes as possible.

The job of locating transmission equipment involves complex work to assess coverage areas, ensuring line of sight while avoiding interfering with other equipment and also the environment in which they are required.

The only way to truly replicate the service from Bilsdale is to erect something on the same site, which has been difficult given the nature of the incident. To date we have been unable to even access the existing mast to assess its condition.


  • Phase 1 involved establishing a service for some people as soon as possible
  • Phase 2 involves improving that coverage, either by increasing power or using temporary sites
  • Phase 3 is the restoration of an equivalent service

A spokesperson for Arqiva said:

Phase 2 of our plan involves the erection of an 80m temporary mast at Bilsdale and we have been surveying the site to identify the best alternative locations within the restrictions we have. Included in this is the fact that Bilsdale is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, meaning we have to seek agreement to place any additional equipment.

There are many activities to this phase 2; preparation of ground, access, erection of an 80m temporary mast which involves raising the mast itself, running power, bringing in high powered transmitters and feeders to the antenna and configuration and test. This part of our plan should reinstate TV coverage for the vast majority of viewers who receive signals directly from Bilsdale. Due to the work required to deliver this solution we expect that work to be complete within 14 days from now.

Arqiva have apologised for the ongoing disruption and say they are committed to delivering a solution as fast as we can.

They expect to be able to provide details next week of which areas should benefit from phase 2.


  1. Not good enough
    Perhaps they should have been more sensible in how they protected the mast when it was first built! !!

      • Here here well said. Some people just don’t understand the situation that is ongoing. Like the saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ goes to effect.

  2. I live in malton and we use to get calendar news when i 1st lived here now we only get north east news why cant we go back on to calender mast ? I need news in my area..i can even get calender in ibiza but not in malton crazy Or how do sky uses get service we could be put onto sky setvice till then ? thats 3 weeks with no tv bet we cant get a refund on our tv licence

  3. I live in great Ayton I’m not sure which transmitter will reach our area so is the time frame indefinite for great Ayton and how do we get a refund from our tv license

  4. I would like to bet if this had happened in London all residents would be back to normal by now 3days later after the fire 🔥 so waiting another 2 weeks without a tv will be very sad being on my own that is all I have for entertainment I put the tv on 6am and sometimes I don’t switch off till midnight

  5. I cannot believe that in this day and age they cannot repair a transmittter yet it is possible to end a probe to Jupiter with pinpoint accuracy. The mast obviously was well past its sell Guy date. Three weeks without TV and radio is just not good enough. Not everyone has modern TVs with iplayer, catch up and the like especially older people.

  6. They should of had a back up plan incase anything like this happens in this day and age this is a terrible that their is no back up plan already in place they can set up it’s a joke

  7. The 3 stage plan was supposed to have been set out on the 13th. It is now the 14th so where is it? By the time they begin to get anything done to reinstate the service it will probably be the best part of a month. Not good enough in this day and age. As Susan Tate commented we can send probes accurately into space but unable to deal with this. All any of us want is to be able to watch our TV for which we pay a hefty license fee and listen to our radio. Is that too much to ask???

  8. Current TV is rubbish – read a book, do a jigsaw or stare at the wallpaper. Problem solved.

  9. The strangest thing is their claim that it’s difficult to access the site. How did they access it before? Whats the riskwith it being an SSSI, are they worried they might step on some protected newts or something? Was that a problem in 1969?
    If they can’t sort it out quicker, the Army should charge them for doing it for them. I bet the Royal Signals could do it in a couple of days.

    • If it were as simple as getting the army in they would do just that but it’s not that simple. The mast weighs several hundred tons and the fire could have weakned the steel which could cause the mast to collapse. Anyone working nearby would be killed. So this has to be checked out very very carefully. The mast at emley moor fell in 1969 and another at Waltham if as said it was that simple, but it’s not sorry.

  10. TV licence fee covers radio as well. If you listen to or you have access to any of the BBC channels you will not get a rebate.
    All of the above and TV are accessible via the internet via BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds app

    • I heard on the radio that it may have been caused by installation of 5G at the mast a few days earlier.

  11. Good professional organisations have a “Business Continuity Plan” in the event of fire or other type of disaster to provide their customers with an uninterrupted service. So what, or where, was the Aquiva plan then ? – or did they stupidly think this could never happen? Wise up Aquiva and get your act together.

    • Continuity plan is in action. Reserve equipment is held in stock and an army like action plan will be in place to bring back on a temporary service as soon as possible. This is similar to a major bridge collapse. How long do you expect it to take ?

      • I’m the case of a bridge collapse there is usually an alternative route that can be taken, all be it taking a bit longer, but the destination is arrived at. What has happened here is that there is _no_ alternative for your customers. Why wasn’t this foreseen in a risk plan?

  12. a few days before it went down i seen a linc on reddit claiming it would be brought down , thought nothing of it at the time but he/she did the deed it was arson .

  13. London has a redundant/spare transmitter at Croydon in case the Crystal Palace transmitter fails, the rest of the country, “diddly squat”. When the Emley Moor transmitter collapsed in 1969 services were restored in 28 days with a transmitter from Sweden, somehow I can’t see Bilsdale being rebuilt in that time !.

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