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.

Block Party 2018: Bloktoberfest!

Pixel pushers rejoice – the next Block Party has been confirmed for Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st October 2018. This year, Britain’s premier teletext festival will venture ‘up north’ to Wigan STEAM for a weekend of VBI, Videotext and Viewdata jollities.

The third iteration of the Block Party is dubbed ‘Bloktoberfest’. It will be a celebration of homebrew teletext, playing host to pixel art workshops as well as games and presentations much like those seen at Block Party Cambridge in 2017.

What will be there?

  • Resident Teletext Artists: we have teletext artists you can chat to, see at work and get tips from before trying teletext art for yourself!

  • The broadcast teletext archive: services spanning 42 years of actual teletext pages, all recovered from domestic videotape. Find out how it’s done and see pages from the dawn of teletext.

  • A closed-circuit teletext system: teletext as you remember it: a TV set with four channels where and you can press ‘Text’ on the remote on each channel and enter its teletext service!

  • Teefax: an online teletext service updated by enthusiasts which, using the Raspberry Pi, you can pipe into your teletext TV at home and watch teletext. It’s also available online!

  • Teletext hardware, enhanced teletext and live subtitling


Who will be there?

Carl Attrill (@that_other_Carl): A long-time teletext artist whose work makes up for its rarity with its originality and skill in the medium.

Alistair Cree (@ZXGuesser): Alistair’s online teletext page editor supports enhanced, or Level 2.5, teletext, which is no mean feat given the complexities of the medium! Find out what Level 2.5 teletext is, how it works and what it can do.

Dan Farrimond (@illarterate): Credited with keeping the medium alive during its wilderness years, digital artist Dan is one of the UK’s most experienced teletext artists and teletext art’s premier cheerleader.

Horsenburger (@Horsenburger): Steve Horsley (ARDText Artist-in-Residence, September 2018) is an ex-Teletext Ltd. teletext artist and currently the most prolific artist in the medium, having created hundreds (thousands?) of teletext pages of graphics. Come and see an expert at work, then try your hand at teletext art yourself!

Peter Kwan (@PeterKVT80): Peter worked in the teletext industry providing teletext hardware and software solutions to the broadcasters.

Raquel Meyers (@raquelmeyers): Text mode expert Raquel is a winner of the International Teletext Art Festival’s Special Achievement Award, and has conducted studies on the contextual history of teletext as an artform.

Jason Robertson (@grim_fandango): The Teletext Archaeologist will be around to chat and show the broadcast teletext archive recovered from domestic videotapes from the last 42 years. Want to see teletext from a particular channel on a certain year? Just ask!

What are the opening times?

Saturday 20th October 2018: Doors open at 12pm; close is at 4pm.

Sunday 21st October 2018: Doors open 10am; close at 4pm.

What and where is Wigan STEAM?

Wigan STEAM is a tech/arts hub in Wigan town centre, located just a few minutes’ walk from Wallgate and North Western train stations. (Note: Wigan Bus Station is currently closed for development but a normal bus service still operates to various points in the town centre.)

Open Wigan STEAM location in Google Maps
Open Wigan STEAM location in Google Streetview

STEAM, otherwise known as the Chipboard Paradise, is home to a suite of Raspberry Pis, an art space, maker space and gallery. The latter will display a tech graphics exhibition by Dustin Lyon throughout the Block Party weekend.

Where can I park?

There is ample parking on Library Street just outside the STEAM Hub in addition to a medium sized outdoor car park at the bottom of the street. There are also two large car parks in the vicinity, the Grand Arcade (<5mins walk) and the Galleries (<10mins walk). Click links for opening times.

Here is a map of parking areas in Wigan town centre with opening times.

What hotels are nearby?

There are at least two major hotels in Wigan town centre: Premier Inn (<5mins walk, prices start at £40/night) and Mercure (<10mins walk).

Should I bring my own laptop?

Yes, please bring your laptops if you have them! We’ll have computers set up in case you really can’t, though.

Where can I get tickets?

Admission is free and you can turn up on the day. We would appreciate if you could complete the Eventbrite form to let us know if you’re coming so we can gauge numbers.

If you use Facebook, the Eventbrite functionality is quick and easy to use

Otherwise, you can go to the Eventbrite site directly.

Where and when were the previous Block Parties?

Block Party I, London, 5 June 2015
Block Party II, Berlin, 3 May 2016
Block Party 2016: Digifest, Cambridge, 1 October 2016
Block Party 2017, Cambridge, 25 & 26 February 2017 (see also Peter Fagan’s photos)

I have another question that wasn’t answered here!

Feel free to email us:

blockparty[at]teletextarchaeologist dot org


hello [at] teletextart [dot] co dot uk

4-Tel On View and ORACLE On View found

I found 35 minutes or so of 4-Tel On View at the end of a tape recently, from Thursday 20th November 1986 (click ‘Continue Reading’ if you can’t see the video):

It also has the benefit of some ETP-1 at the end for test card fans!

There was teletext data on the tape too of course, but the tape was pretty shot and losing its oxide, so I had to keep stopping the recording to clean the heads on the VCR.  I’ve edited the stoppages out though so hopefully you won’t be able to tell!  Because the tape is a bit mashed the data that came out weren’t that great.  Manually fixable though if I had the time:

Ceefax 1985 from a Betamax tape

The current tape is from a batch from a school.  It seems that part of the oxide from the tape had clogged the heads on the VCR, so I had to get the swabs and IPA out last night.

The video’s working again now so the next bit from the tape is from BBC2 in 1985.  The recording is from the last schools programme for the day and has the BBC2 clock dropping back into the test card.  Although there was plenty of tape left it’s the last thing recorded on it, so maybe the oxide was dropping off the tape at the time so it was abandoned.

Anyway as the tape is going through the recovery process I can see that there are data in packet 31 relating to horse races and betting odds.  I’ll have to run it through the Telfax software I wrote to see if there are pages in there or whether it is just raw data.

Welcome to the site!

Up until now the teletext recoveries have been living on Twitter and Facebook, but it’s time now for a more permanent web presence.  Here you’ll be able to see what is being worked on at present and what new recoveries have been discovered.