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:

22 hours ago
Block Party 2018, the teletext art and technology convention, will be at @wiganSTEAM on October 20th and 21st! Meet artists, see technology, try your hand at designing teletext pages and see the recovered pages archive! See https://t.co/bWTH05TQDJ for more information. https://t.co/5oex7SUpGQ grim_fandango photo
4 days ago
Here's a screenshot of a piece in the BBC's internal Engineering Information magazine from 1982 about enhanced teletext. You won't believe this, but I've found the data on a Betamax tape! I'll have a look to see if anything of the enhanced data was broadcast, stay tuned... https://t.co/N5qx1Wkz0t grim_fandango photo
5 days ago
Ceefax is obviously up, so I wonder what the problem was? Maybe not able to generate a carousel from the constituent pages? Planned Ceefax downtime perhaps? (1985) https://t.co/NAgbK056uB grim_fandango photo
6 days ago
Best computer of all time! https://t.co/mHoXn74CPP
grim_fandango photo
Mistigris @mistfunk
Mistigram: Uglifruit was really making a splash hereabouts a year ago with his artpack debut in the MIST0817 release. In this #teletext screen he celebrates the #Amiga computer like a boss. https://t.co/s5tzL3Bv2z https://t.co/26Nr36Mu6S
2 weeks ago
Happy Yorkshire Day! #YorkshireDay2018 https://t.co/Hh9MC4k1lM
grim_fandango photo
The Teletext Archaeologist @grim_fandango
Yorkshire, the last but by no means least of the ORACLE regions I've recovered from Betamax. 1979 @transdiffusion https://t.co/sPsVjcVcgO