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Little Britain's Lucas stars in digital switchover drive

LONDON - 'Little Britain' star Matt Lucas is fronting a £200m campaign urging viewers to switch to digital television ahead of the end of analogue broadcasting in 2012.

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The campaign is being run by Digital UK, the BBC licence fee-funded body that is handling the switchover, and features Lucas as the voice of a cartoon robot called Digit Al.

As well as advertising on the BBC and commercial channels, the campaign features national press, radio and outdoor work.

There will also be direct mail shots to every home and leaflets available at shops and citizens advice bureaux.

The aim is to encourage those who are confused about the switchover to call Digital UK or visit its website. The campaign also encourages consumers to only buy new televsision equipment with a digital "tick" logo.

Ford Ennals, Digital UK chief executive, said: "Ensuring everyone is aware of switchover, when it is happening in their region and what they need to do to switch is a major challenge, which is why we have launched this public information campaign."

The campaign is part of a seven-year push that will involve regional work as the switch-off of analogue transmitters is rolled out area by area.

The first to change will be Wales, Border and the west of England in 2008, with Granada, HTV West, Grampian and Scottish TV areas following in 2009.

Central, Yorkshire and Anglia will switch over a year later, Meridan, Carlton/LWT, Tyne Tees and Ulster areas in 2011 and the Channel Islands the last to see the analogue signal switched off in 2012.

The campaign comes as a survey by consumer group Which? found that 38% of adults did not know about the analogue switch-off and just 7% knew that the switchover is to be completed by 2012.

James Purnell, creative industries and tourism minister who has responsibility for digital broadcasting, said: "The government has made it clear that digital switchover will happen between 2008 and 2012, bringing the benefits of affordable digital television to the whole country.

"Making sure people are aware of digital switchover and how to prepare for it will be fundamental to the success of this ambitious and unprecendented plan."

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