Analogue Teletext services were developed by both the BBC and IBA in the 70s, with a service launching from the BBC in 1974 and the commercial equivalent Oracle launching shortly afterwards. Broadcast in areas of the screen which were obscured from view known as the Vertical Blanking Interval but could be decoded by special hardware, it provided a system which could deliver textual content to the general public years before services such as the internet became commercially available. The commercial service Oracle ran on ITV and Channel 4 until December 1992, before losing it's licence in favour of Teletext Ltd who continued to run their service through until 2009.
All contents on this page have been recovered from original VHS recordings.
Oracle - 4/10/1990
The ITV Oracle service from October 1990. The IBA engineering pages contain details of the Tyne Tees Nicam Stereo service due to launch from Pontop Pike at the end of that month. Meanwhile there's more accusations flying round in the teletext-based soap Park Avenue, and in the news it is announced that British Rail fares are due to go up on average by 9.5% from January - just incase anyone ever tells you prices have only increased by huge amounts since privatisation.
Oracle - 20/7/1991
From the summer of 1991. Oracle's own soap Park Avenue is preparing to make the move to Channel 4 so don't miss out on your chance to win some mugs with the old page number on. In news the popularity of the Tories in the polls is improving since the replacement of Thatcher with Major. More is uncovered about the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce, and President Bush (Senior) says its unlikely the USA will ever return to Iraq...
Oracle - 21/11/1991
Prior to the loss of their franchise to Teletext Ltd in 1992, Oracle used to provide the text service for ITV and Channel 4. From the end of 1991 here, and the main story of the day is a call for a referendum on Britain's membership of Europe, as debate on the Maastricht treaty which would take the then EC into the new age of the EU rattles on.
Oracle - 24/12/1992
Christmas 1992 was a mixed time for staff of the Oracle text service. As well as the usual mix of festive graphics and Christmas greetings, a lot of the writers were saying their goodbyes. What with Oracle's license to provide the service due to end a week later, there were no guarantees on what sections would make it to the new Teletext service or where they'd be placed.
Oracle - 26/12/1992
Continuing the Oracle goodbyes a few days later on Boxing Day. With more looking back at more television history, as well as more letters from the public telling us all how their lives will just never be the same again without Oracle. Never fear though - at least they're making sure everyone knows where they can still find JobFinder in the New Year!
Teletext on 3 - 3/2/1993
Launching from the 1st January 1993 was the replacement for the Oracle service, namely Teletext. The first few months of Teletext's operation saw a lot of experimentation and moving around of pages as the new service found it's feet. News coverage from early February 1993 features coverage of a U-Turn on planned cuts to the armed forces. Meanwhile services better known for being on Channel 4 such as Bamboozle and Digitiser can initially be found on 3 - they would last here for 3 months before moving channel. There were also sections of pages only available at certain hours of the day. At the time of this broadcast, 'Evening' is showing from Page 320. Tucked way in the 600s was a series of test pages for the new planned ancillary service. Provisionally named 'ITV+', it was never to launch under that name with the ITV regions going their own ways instead.
Teletext on 3 - 18/2/1993
Continuing further into February 1993 and more pages from the early days of Teletext Limited. Digitiser and Bamboozled still haven't made the move over to Channel 4 at this point. Also this time it's overnight, so Teletext's night time pages are operating (caution: with some adult themes contained). As well as that, the news of the time is covering Manchester's bid to host the 2000 Olympics in great detail.
Teletext on 3 - 18/3/1993
Moving on another month into March 1993, and the ITV service is getting closer to Teletext as most remember it. The homepage header has gained some blue, and the sections for Digitiser, Bamboozle and the timed segments have all moved over to Channel 4 instead. Instead in the space, an expanded news service is now being provided. Alongside more regional pages, even down to the city level in some cases just to hammer home how regional it now is. Page 350 brings us news of a new 'Green' service launching at Easter, whilst the news services of the day are heavily covering the BBC Director General John Birt's tax affairs.
Teletext/TTTV Text - 28/12/1995
The Teletext Ltd and Tyne Tees Ancillary services from December 28th 1995. In news, the country is in the middle of a Big Freeze, with a lot touching on the impacts of this both on news and on sports. And separately two young people who would later tragically be found murdered are still being searched for at this point. The Tyne Tees service has also by now launched, and features an earlier version of their ancillary service in blue and white. This was shortlived, being replaced with the more familiar blue and gold-coloured service in 1996 which would then last through both the C3NE and subsequent TTTV rebrands until the end of the service in 2005.
Teletext/C3NE Text - 26/02/1997
From early 1997, pages from the national Teletext Ltd service and it's local North Eastern variations, as well as the ever popular Channel 3 North East ancillary service. The stories of the day are the privatisation of London Underground, A Touch of Frost smashing the ratings... oh and don't forget the Chatton and Kielder transmitters will be off the air tonight.
Teletext/C3NE Text - 31/3/1997
From very early morning on the 31st March 1997, less than 12 hours after the launch of Channel 5. As such quite a few of the pages are referencing the launch, as well as most of the launch night schedule being listed. As a critic, naturally Sam Brady already thinks the new channel is the worst thing ever, and see if you can spot the pages where Teletext haven't yet updated all of their adverts now that they cover 5 channels. Other news covered in this era involves a feature on the last British Rail trains running as the final franchise begins, and run up to the upcoming election.
Teletext/TTTV Text - 11/8/2001
From the day of the changeover from ITV to ITV1 in August 2001, a small selection of pages from the Teletext service (sadly not many due to mere minutes of footage available). If the rebrand of the onscreen presentation seemed understated, the changes to the text service go much further with no mention to be found at all. All pages still refer to ITV at this point. Teletext is sporting its later 'rounded' logo, whilst the Tyne Tees ancilliary service, although renamed to lose all trace of C3NE, continues to use their old 1998 TTTV. Completely ignoring anything to do with either the ITV generic or their own 2000 onscreen look.
Teletext (South) - 8/10/1998
Teletext Ltd's service from the Meridian region of the country in 1998. The coming of the internet is showing up more prominently on the ITV text service now with both website addresses and contact methods updated to include emails. Alongside this growth, advertising is already looking harder to make work with ever larger amounts of space taken up for advertising on the text service. News stories of the day include floods of complaints over a proposed takeover of Manchester United by BSkyB, talk on EU funding rebates, and a variety of sections across the service looking back at the The Bill actor Kevin Lloyd as the coroner releases his verdict around the death earlier in 1998. Also don't miss a section on Page 382 for a company called 'Blockbuster Video'.
Teletext/HTV West Text - 22/12/1996
Nearly Christmas 1996 from the HTV West region, with even the rather sparse local ancillary service making an unusual effort to festively style up their text pages. News stories of the day involve the Spice Girls winning the Christmas Number 1 spot for that year, and talk of how there'd be no blank cheque for a mooted 'Millenium Dome' exhibition at Greenwich.
Teletext/Yorkshire Text - 28/12/1999
With merely days to go until the new millennium, it's a very special time for everyone - and Teletext are not about to be left out of the party. They're running a countdown to the dawn of 2000, as well as taking a look back on the year and century, as well and looking forward to what various famous people will be doing for the new millennium. Worries are still abound for the dreaded Millennium Bug with lots of pages dedicated to reassuring people that it'll all be fine and that planes won't fall out of the sky. As well as several pages across the service devoted to ITV's 'Year of Promise' campaign - The network's bold plan for people to make lasting pledges to make a mark in 2000, which ultimately ended up being a complete flop for ITV. Away from the network pages, Yorkshire Television has a very well fleshed out ancillary service by this point, with pages selling things for almost every show they make, interspersed with information about schedules... oh and more from the ITV Year of Promise!
Teletext/Yorkshire Text - 20/8/2000
Teletext Ltd's service from August 2000, as seen in the Yorkshire Television region. In the middle of the first season of Big Brother at this point, a lot of pages across both the television and news sections focus heavily on the show and the controversy surrounding 'Nasty Nick'. But if you like something different, there are interviews with Sue Barker, and a story on Basil Brush. In serious news, it's a sad time with stories focusing on the Kursk submarine disaster, as well stories mentioning continuing searches for those responsible for the murder of backpacker Kirsty Jones, and a funeral date being set for schoolgirl Sarah Payne. Up in the 600s, Yorkshire have their ancillary service, provided as ever by the people at Intelfax, with all the supporting information for shows you could ever need. And a brief identity crisis on p619 where someone has loaded the wrong header template...
Oracle - 29/7/1989
Oracle from the Granada region on Saturday 29th July 1989. A noteworthy date due to LWT celebrating their 21st birthday that weekend, and as a result both schedules and the highlight reviews cover birthday shows for the London station. In news, Southampton Dock Workers vote to return to work, an arrest is made after Abbey National shares certificates are found burned, and two die in a glider accident in the North West region.
Teletext/Granada Text - 18/9/1999
The Teletext Ltd service as aired on Granada in late 1999, so now complete with a local ancillary service for the North West station too provided by Intelfax. Many of the travel pages have had a shuffle round recently, although others such as the TV Listings remain largely unchanged. News headlines include Jack Straw rejecting calls to make a statement on a spy scandal, a crash with a light aircraft at Luton airport and locally protests over the second runway at Manchester Airport continue.
Oracle (Thames) - 26/12/1991
Oracle in the London region, from Boxing Day 1991 and as it fell on a weekday that year, it also meant the transmission hours were occupied by Thames. Among all the usual festive pages, or filler pages due to people being off on Christmas holidays, is the usual mix of TV Listings, Sports and News. Headlines include squabbling over the future of power in the Soviet, hints at an early UK election and the Bishop of Oxford calling for a boycott of shops that dare to open on a Sunday.
Teletext/LWT - 21/3/1993
London's teletext service from early into the new 1993 franchise eras for both Teletext Ltd and Carlton, and with the newly combined London News Network now providing a consistent 7 day service. Although dating from LWT's hours, as the individual ancillary services in the 600s hadn't launched and most references from Teletext are to both Carlton and LWT, you would struggle to tell it was the weekend. Headlines include an IRA blast in Warrington and the Russian parliament looking to impeach President Yeltsin. Meanwhile in more local news a tense wait is in place for details on how the Channel Tunnel will come into London.
Teletext/Centext - 28/8/1995
Teletext Ltd's service as it appears on August Bank Holiday in the Midlands. Headlines include calls on the IRA to decommission and the death of Daily Express cartoonist Carl Giles. Among some more sedate headlines for the Midlands including the local water companies being urged to give refunds and a bather caught with his pants down. In the 600s, Central have already launched their own local ancillary service by 1995 with a large mix of supplementary program info. Although their logo doesn't lend itself too well to a service without an 'orange' colour available in the Level 1 text spec.
Teletext/Anglia Text - 25/5/1995
Teletext from the Anglia region of the country. It's the very start of Rugby World Cup 1995, so a lot of pages are devoted to coverage of this. In news, Julie Goodyear has announced she will be leaving the role of Bet in Corrie, whilst a little known chain called BHS announces new store openings. The Anglia ancillary service, produced as ever by Intelfax, provides a regionally branded add on service full of programme information.
Oracle (TVS) - 1/1/1986
Welcoming in the brand New Year 1986 with ORACLE from the TVS region. In the news, tensions continue in Ulster. Meanwhile Reagan and Gorbachev are pledging peace in their New Year broadcasts. Oh, and just wait until you find out about those simpler British Rail fares on page 125. Or find out when your local relay will be updated for Channel 4 on the IBA engineering pages on 297.