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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:


Ceefax took one more look at Halley's Comet in March 1986 after the Giotto probe took close-up photos of a comet nucleus for the first time. (1986) https://t.co/66JzTUItaN grim_fandango photo

The last page in the Halley's Comet Ceefax special was a weekly sky map for where the comet was at the time. Here's what I have. The section was discontinued by March 1986... but... https://t.co/CvrAX7Dppo grim_fandango photo

Back to Halley's Comet now, and Ceefax had a whole section devoted to it when the comet last passed in 1986. This carousel is all about Halleymania - the tat and the hype surrounding the comet's impending arrival. (1985) (2/2) (tape h/t @CuriousUkTelly) https://t.co/Mld6rAQ9zr grim_fandango photo

Back to Halley's Comet now, and Ceefax had a whole section devoted to it when the comet last passed in 1986. This carousel is all about Halleymania - the tat and the hype surrounding the comet's impending arrival. (1985) (1/2) (tape h/t @CuriousUkTelly) https://t.co/nt0XMyxw5M grim_fandango photo

SkyText had a #Simpsons fan page, which had some fantastic #teletext art in it! Check the awesome use of held mosaic mode on the Homer and Bart pic. (3/3) (2000) (Tape h/t @JohnVenessUK) https://t.co/28Xd5tNW27 grim_fandango photo

SkyText had a #Simpsons fan page, which had some fantastic #teletext art in it! (2/3) (2000) (Tape h/t @JohnVenessUK) https://t.co/H1s6fzksON grim_fandango photo

Blog

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/