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Intermitant loss of picture on tv....WHY?

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Sorry I'm a bit confused, do you mean the picture is restored when you use the remote on the TV or the Sky box?  If the latter then your TV is probably OK and the Sky box is knackered.  If you use it just for Free channels, you can pick up a nice HD box at almost any brico shed or electrical retailer for not too much money

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Silly question but did you forget to plug the satellite dish cable in? If you did connect it then it sounds like either an LNB failure or a dodgy plug on the cable. Personally I would check the plugs first and possibly remake them before moving on to the LNB. Perhaps the source of your second Sky box may let you plug yours in to their dish to test it? Also are you sure the other Sky box you are testing worked before you tried it and did you see it working?

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Yesterday I discovered that my Sky box now switches off after a few hours (not sure how many) while I was listening to LBC News while repointing.

It didn't used to, so I assume that maybe an over the air software upgrade has intoduced this new feature.

It may be worth checking the settings to see if you have this feature enabled, and disable it if possible.

I'll be doing the same tomorrow.

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