Telly addict Derek Wills is the proud owner of Britain’s oldest colour television set which is still going strong – 42 years after he bought it in the 60s.
Derek, 69, paid £300 for the Mitsubishi TV in 1968 so he could watch classics like Dixon of Dock Green and Z Cars.
He was just 27 when he bought the set just months after colour was introduced by the BBC in 1967.
Father-of-two Derek paid £300 for the set – the equivalent of £3,858 today – which would buy him a 55″ 3D state-of-the-art plasma screen.
Derek has viewed approximately 70,000 hours on the box since including the fall of the Berlin wall, two invasions of Iraq, 11 world cups and the freeing of Nelson Mandella.
Amazingly, the set is still in full working having never been repaired and has survived the digital switchover.
Retired engineer Derek, of Torquay, Devon, said the box, which he wouldn’t dream of updating, is ”still going strong”.
He said: ”It’s incredible that it is still working. It has to be the oldest colour television still being used in this country.
”That model had just come out when I bought it and it was sold to me as the Rolls Royce of televisions – built to last.
”It was far, far ahead of its time. It’s got a beautiful picture. It takes a Freeview box and gives all the stations.
”It cost a lot of money in those days, but it was really good. The neighbours used to come round to see it.
”Obviously, HD knocks spots off it today, but for its day it was brilliant. It is still going strong.”
Derek bought the set just 12 months after the BBC first wowed the country with the first colour broadcasts in 1967.
He used a ”great big H aerial” on the roof of his home when he bought it and was only able to pick up three channels – BBC1, BBC2 and ITV.
The TVs personal highlights for Derek include watching the first episode of British sitcom Dad’s Army and Manchester United winning the European Cup Final at Wembley.
Amazingly, the television has worked with uninterrupted service for 42 years without ever having to be serviced or repaired.
The set had been the family’s only TV set for more than four decades until Derek finally upgraded to an HD flatscreen TV last year.
He now keeps the vintage system, model CT2217BM, in his upstairs bedroom, where he continues to use it.
Married great-grandfather-of-one Derek said the only maintenance he had carried out was to replace the batteries on its original infra-red remote control.
He added: “In this age when things don’t last long, this Mitsubishi is amazing. They really knew what they were doing.
“The telly’s been in great order. The back’s never been off it. I bought a Panasonic the same day but that’s gone now, while the Mitsubishi is still going strong.
“We contacted Mitsubishi because we thought it would be a great advert for them. They were impressed that there had never been anything wrong with it.
”I remember my parents had a television to watch the Coronation. It was black-and-white, with a six inch screen.
”Although the actual television was huge, and it worked off batteries. I’d love to have that now. I should have kept it.”
Grandfather-of-seven Derek, bought the Mitsubishi set, which weighs a whopping 80lbs, from an electrical store in Exeter, Devon.
DEREK’S TOP FIVE TV MOMENTS:
1, Neil Armstrong walks on the moon, 1969.
2, Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989.
3, Funeral of Princess Diana, 1997.
4, Coverage of September 11 attacks, 2001.
5, England’s ashes victory over Australia, 2005.