23 Sep: See Facts? Ceefax!

The BBC’s teletext information service, Ceefax, launched on 23rd September, 1974 – providing the British public with a way to look up headlines, football results and TV listings, some twenty years before the launch of Internet Explorer.

Countless National Lottery winners discovered their victories via the analogue service, which was discontinued in 2012. To this day, devotees still share ancient samples of it by uploading old VHS tapes to the web.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why teletext never caught on in France; revisit the 1,445-episode ‘soap opera’ ITV Oracle ran on its rival service; and play a Teletext-style Bamboozle quiz of their very own… 

Further Reading:

• ‘The Editors: Goodbye Ceefax’ (BBC, 2012): https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2012/10/goodbye_ceefax.html

• ‘Minitel: The Old New Thing’ (WIRED, 2001): https://www.wired.com/2001/04/minitel-the-old-new-thing/

• ‘Pages from Ceefax – Three and a half hours of outdated news, sport and weather’ (No Data Available, 2013):

We had EVEN MORE to say about this internet 0.1, including the underwhelming Ceefax competition prizes on offer in the 1970s, the impact the BBC’s teletext service had on the development of the TV remote control, and how to research cinema listings for the St George’s Centre Harrow in 1995. To hear bonus material this and every week*, support the show NOW at Patreon.com/Retrospectors!

*top two tiers only

The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.