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:

Make yourself a brew and have a leaf through the rest of the Channel Four service I've been sharing tonight: https://t.co/nrD9WkOwQ5 https://t.co/u6dgh0nKWv grim_fandango photo

Here's a test page. Wonder what it was testing; there aren't any enhanced teletext packets in it. They must have been testing reactionary letters (1989) https://t.co/NcgeqBePKh grim_fandango photo

The top 20 computer games chart from May 1989! I had an Amiga at that time, but none of those games. https://t.co/LAKSzWY2oJ grim_fandango photo

Here's a couple of pages from Buzz. I knew the Shuttle was called Endeavour, but I didn't know they'd kept the correct spelling 😉 (1989) https://t.co/I3EbNNsW7V grim_fandango photo

The ORACLE jokes page was never a good place for jokes, but it was a fantastic place for art! Perhaps I should leave the puchlines unrevealed to spare you (1989) https://t.co/zQuP6VTLzC 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: