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:

Check this out, from the dawn of hand-held gaming. Primary use would be to take to school to relieve boredom, right kids? Picture of actual watch here: https://t.co/1zNn7Hepx4 (1981) https://t.co/0DfxyxnpoJ grim_fandango photo

Behind the scenes at Ceefax! BBC Micro in view here: were they used for editing pages? Or perhaps it’s for managing telesoftware. https://t.co/aDbqhUQeYf
BBC Archive @BBCArchive
Ceefax pages move too fast, or maybe they’re too slow, the spelling is often rubbish and as for the spoliers on the sports results…

#Onthisday 1987: Open Air visited the thrilling headquarters of Ceefax to give people a chance to air their grievances. https://t.co/qulnr5eK84

This video describes a method of getting packet 31 data into a PC from a decoder box https://t.co/9VGWtcl8Za

More weird hidden test data in Ceefax packet 31. I had to turn some control codes off so this could be seen (1988) https://t.co/dhM31Dr4lS grim_fandango photo


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/


You can contact us via:

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