LONDON: Until today (Wednesday) Whitehaven, population 25,500, a small town and port on the Cumbrian coast in northern England had but a single claim to fame.

That Jonathan Swift was kidnapped there as a baby by absconding nurse Mildred Gale, who later became the grandmother of George Washington.

But today Whitehaven again features in the history books. In the small hours of this morning it became the first UK town to have its analogue TV signal switched off in favour of digital broadcasting.

First to go was the BBC2 signal, followed on November 14 by BBC1, ITV and all other analogue channels in the area.

By which date, Digital UK, the industry body set up to supervise the national switchover, due for completion by 2012, is confident that all the town's inhabitants, plus a further 35,000 in the surrounding area of Copeland, will be able to watch digital TV via either satellite or the terrestrial Freeview platform.

Says ceo Ford Ennals: "They recognise that for them digital switchover is a good thing - they're getting twenty channels they couldn't get before and they're getting digital radio for the first time."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff