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:

1 day ago
Come to the Block Party in Wigan tomorrow to see Rob’s viewdata. Explore the modern equivalent of Prestel! https://t.co/T7PW5Jq8b2
grim_fandango photo
Rob @ViewdataUK
@grim_fandango Here's most of mine... https://t.co/4dUPlVDMXb
1 day ago
Technology stack for #bloktoberfest - monitor, keyboard, mouse, capture PC, SCART switch box, VHS VCR, Betamax VCR https://t.co/aMzBqZTLY8 grim_fandango photo
2 days ago
I'm taking my recovery gear to #Bloktoberfest tomorrow so if you have some VHS or Beta tapes you want to run through the process please do bring them along!

2 days ago
I really like this. Nothing like what it would have been as originally broadcast, but aesthetically pleasing in its own way. This is from 1979, and double width characters were frankly science fiction at the time 😉 https://t.co/dipw1uAaHI grim_fandango photo
4 days ago
I wrote it, and it only ever outputs my contact details https://t.co/3USIiJmihU


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/