Published: 09.48 Europe/London, April 8, 2011

Analogue Switch Off in London will commence on April 4, 2012, switchover body Digital UK has announced. It is 75 years since analogue television broadcasts began in the capital, where the world’s first regular television service began in 1936, and Digital UK marked the event with a spectacular lightshow at Alexandra Palace from where the initial transmissions were made.

Almost 12 million viewers will be affected when analogue BBC Two disappears from the Crystal Palace transmitter. In addition to a population of 7.5 million in London itself, the transmitter also covers neighbouring parts of Berkshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Middlesex and Surrey. The remaining analogue channels – BBC One, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5 – will then be turned off on April 18, 2012.

It is hoped that the increased power given to the digital Freeview transmissions will be sufficient to cover inadequacies in aerial installations in rented accommodation.

A quarter of UK homes have so far completed the switchover process, while nine-in-ten households are watching some form of digital TV on at least one set. After London, two remaining regions – the north east of England and Northern Ireland – will also switch in 2012.