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:

Give this a watch, it’s great fun! Reminds me of Tiswas but without the custard pies. https://t.co/ZMEsWwWMQk

https://t.co/wpEqrP2ATE was great, you could watch Ceefax on your phone! Only a few pages seem to have been archived, see what you can find! https://t.co/KdO7GPqGM5

Great to speak to Dan and Ravi about all things teletext! Please give it a listen and subscribe, it's a very professionally produced podcast. https://t.co/RczNBuFQyP

And finally, it's 1984, and Bet Lynch takes over as landlady of the Rover's in #CoronationStreet... https://t.co/jjYFqE4uA1 grim_fandango photo

A few odds and ends now: a bonfire night recipe using Smash, some nice drawings to illustrate children's books and a pound off blank VHS. People of 1984: archive television programmes and send them to me! (1984) https://t.co/r8IgQGTuoE grim_fandango photo

...which bumped the schools' programmes from their usual schedules. Can't believe Channel Four ditched the test card in favour of the CBI conference. (1984) https://t.co/o9JmjBrcWf grim_fandango photo


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/