Hiding from the TV detector van was easy if you lived on the fourth floor of a block of flats. I had surmised that the van would not only have never get through the revolving doors at the entrance to my Balham flats, but also, it’d never get inside the lift as the antennae would probably snap off.
There was no warning of the van’s impending arrival – no theme tune from Jaws/Psycho/or the little known Confessions of a TV Detector Van Cleaner.
I’m sure people (whose dwellings were at street level) would hide behind their sofas, a plethora of Habitat scatter cushions or a life-sized cardboard cut-out of a TV detector van – to ward it off like an evil spirit.
This, of course, would be the antithesis of being out by leaving the radio on, thus giving the impression (especially to potential burglars) that someone was actually in. This stems from the urban myth that burglars have a pathological fear of The Archers, the long-range shipping forecast or stumbling into a house at a time when Sing Something Simple was on.
But sometimes there are programmes on when you want to hide behind the sofa – if there are too many such programmes broadcast on the BBC, could you apply for a rebate?