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Teletext is a medium where encoded pages of information are broadcast alongside a television programme, and can be decoded on-screen by the viewer at the touch of a button.  Developed in the UK in the early 1970s, the last British teletext service was discontinued in the mid-2010s but teletext is still used in many countries around the world.

Once broadcast, teletext was generally overwritten on the server and the archive status of teletext pages is patchy at best, with (at least in the UK) only a few examples of pages saved by the broadcasters and some pages saved by the public using PC decoder cards.

This website covers efforts to recover teletext pages from television programmes recorded on regular domestic videotape and other methods.

Tape donation and loans

The Teletext Archaeologist archive consists of pages ranging from 1976 until 2018 and is continually expanding.

In particular, we are looking for:

  • Video tape recorded between 1974 and 1980
  • BBC1 before 1984
  • BBC2 until December 1989
  • ITV before 1984
  • Channel Four and S4C, from any era
  • Paramount Comedy Channel recordings

…can you help to plug the gaps?

First-generation copies are best – copies do blur the teletext signals recorded on the tapes.  But if you don’t want to part with original tapes then a good quality dub can still be useful as long as it hasn’t been through a time-base corrector – these can overwrite the teletext data with their own signals.  Please do get in touch via the contact section below!

Twitter Latest

The latest curated finds are shared on Twitter – here are the latest posts:


THREAD https://t.co/xEg19PGdF7
grim_fandango photo
The Industrious Ant @superwonderstar
This has been on my desk for nearly a year now, so time to take a closer look. Behold, the mighty Softel SE3027, a professional rack-mount equipment whose only mission in life is to display teletext pages “in-vision”. (thread) https://t.co/CtxjYIS51c

This is an uncanny likeness for yours truly 😉 https://t.co/kDNGSGzD6c
grim_fandango photo
horsenburger @Horsenburger
Yes, a second new teletext pic for you today, I am spoiling you.

Its Manuel "Manny" Calavera from #GrimFandango https://t.co/wWLSrS2ygH

Bit in here about how teletext is still used for subtitles. Sky still use teletext for subtitles. More ⬇️ https://t.co/WanOVpvSet

Thanks Dan 🙂 https://t.co/BpEcmES7mN
grim_fandango photo
Dan Farrimond @illarterate
Time for some NEW #teletext art.

Teletext-VHS, a #pixelart tribute to @grim_fandango @timbisley5 @ZXGuesser & all other teletext recovery legends.

Narrowly beat @pixelblip1 to 1st place (by 4 votes!) at @Flashparty_ar @FlashpartyOk in the Text Art (Teletext) category yesterday https://t.co/SuF3P7zHm8

Blog

Archive Launched!

EXCITING NEWS! The Teletext Archive is launched – browse teletext services through your web browser, whether desktop, tablet or phone. You can do text searches, search by broadcaster and/or date, or just mooch around! https://archive.teletextarchaeologist.org

Interview on The Retro Hour podcast

Great to speak to Dan and Ravi from the Retro Hour podcast about all things teletext! Please give it a listen and subscribe, it’s a very professionally produced show. Teletext: Back From The Dead – The Retro Hour EP147

The Archive

The site now has a list of the services recovered so far, over 1200 teletext services from 1976-2016.  Scroll though at your peril here: https://teletextarchaeologist.org/the-archive/

Contact

You can contact us via:

  • Twitter: @grim_fandango
  • Facebook page: Teletext Archaeologist
  • or via email: