Friday 22 December 2023

New Print Article: The Birth of Teletext

A year on from my last published article, I’m back in the pages of Best of British with The Birth of Teletext.

Ever since I first laid eyes on Pages from Ceefax back in the mid-1980s, I’ve been a little obsessed with teletext. We didn’t actually get a teletext television set until 1997, so it always felt like an exciting world of information which was just out of reach. Sure, I used to see it at friends’ houses, as we caught up on the football news and played Bamboozle, but I couldn’t get my teeth stuck into it.

Eventually, though, I was able to start digesting the various teletext services. And I did this with gusto. This, remember, was still just-about-for-most-people the pre-internet age. Therefore, Ceefax and Teletext represented a fascinating world of content and information which you simply couldn’t get elsewhere. I even used to go on the German satellite channels and scan through all their pages, and I couldn’t speak a word of German. As you can tell, I was very popular with the ladies at the time.

But how exactly did the teletext revolution start? And when did it start? Well, you have to go all the way back to 1974. Which, when you think about what it delivered in an age where Harold Wilson, is staggering. Anyway, this is what my article looks at, those earliest days where viewership was low and no one knew whether this experiment was going to take off.

The latest issue of Best of British is available at all good newsagents, so please go and take a look.

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