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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:


Here’s @bbcmicrobot ‘s tool for converting video into mode 7. It’s a relatively simple step to convert to a raw teletext stream after this. https://t.co/AE8o4wfLkT

Shh! Keep these secret Ceefax data quiet! These pages are converted from data packets in the invisible rows of Ceefax. They are raw data, so they are a bit all over the place, but there is a test message containing technical info and a weather page. FTSE info is in there too. https://t.co/aVwqbhMIbT grim_fandango photo

Teletext pages have rows 0-24 which you can see on a TV, but there are also rows 25-31 you can't. This is data from BBC2 Ceefax in 1987 from row 31 which has been converted into a normal teletext page so we can see them. It's the FTSE 100, presumably live data for brokers etc. https://t.co/2V2WtBeHAw grim_fandango photo

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: