VIDEO: Bizarre TV licence excuses

An image for the My parrot Captain Jack Sparrow! animation by Derby University students

An image for the My parrot Captain Jack Sparrow! animation by Derby University students

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Animation students in Derbyshire are celebrating competition success for their film about bizarre excuses people use for watching TV without a licence.

‘My parrot Captain Jack Sparrow!’, by students from the Unviersity of Derby, was joint runner-up by in a contest featuring films produced by degree students across the country.

All teams made animations illustrating the weird and wonderful excuses people have given to TV licensing officers this year.

The video made in Derbyshire was named after one of the excuses - when a Lincoln woman claimed she didn’t need a licence because she doesn’t watch her TV, it was only on for her parrot Captain Jack Sparrow, who was learning the theme tune to Bargain Hunt.

The film was put together by Rebecca Williams, with voices by Tim Booth, Sally Herbert, Nick Rodriguez and Amanda Nickless.

Rebecca, who is a second year student, said: “The animation was a lot of fun to create.

“I wanted to keep it simple, funny and family-friendly.

“We were given all the creative freedom we wanted, which was really helpful.

“The work really brought home the ridiculousness of the excuses given, whilst highlighting the sort of things TV Licensing’s enquiry officers have to deal with.”

Marc Bosward, lecturer at the university, said: “This was a great opportunity for the students to work with an external agency and therefore get some experience of the professional world, post-graduation.

“I’m delighted with the results - the students needed to approach this project with humour in mind, and that’s precisely what they did.”

The judging panel included a range of animation experts - including BAFTA-winning animator Marc Crast from Studio AKA, Jason Fletcher-Bartholomew, senior animator at Aardman and Red Bee Media executive creative director Charlie Mawer.

Head Judge Charlie said: ”’My parrot Captain Jack Sparrow’ cleverly weaves multiple excuses together in an imaginative whirl of ideas to create a house where bonkers pets rule the roost.”

More than 40 excuses films were submitted from students across the UK.

Mark Whitehouse, TV Licensing spokesperson for the East Midlands, said: “The winning animations are a testament to the imagination of the students.

“We’re not so impressed, however, with the creative approach to excuses, as watching or recording live TV without a licence is against the law.

“Even though we’re effective at catching evaders, we’d always prefer people pay than risk a maximum £1,000 fine.”

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