Thursday, 14 August 2014

Oracle, 12th November 1981 (4 teletext lines per field)

Here's a really good quality early grab.  It was taken from a tape with Space Shuttle launch coverage on it; this is from STS-2, the second Shuttle launch.

This would appear to be a first generation copy.  Earlier in the tape there is coverage of STS-1, from April that year, but it was terrible quality, in terms of teletext; I think it was a dub. 

This is the best P100 I could find:

Bear in mind that this is P100 too, which has the most instances of the page to integrate.  I wonder if it's possible to better integrate each character?

Anyway, back to ITV, and telesoftware made an earlier appearance than you would think.  The BBC offered a similar service.  The BBC Micro wasn't around at this point, so what was the target platform here? 

Here's some source:

Schools programmes, complete with opt-outs:

Yes indeed: this is teletext 'Spot the Ball':

News headlines for that day:

The news stories themselves kept this format up until Oracle closed in 1992:

Now this I must try and decode at some point!

On to some 80s lulz:

The below is now covered in Kerrang! magazine:

Come on, STV, pull your fingers out!

Testing now: wouldn't be teletext without a clock cracker:

...and finally, sunglasses at the ready for this monstrosity:


  1. Brilliant work, these are great.

  2. Hi Jason,

    I think these are fascinating, particularly the glitch and teletext version of spot the ball. Pity they didn't do an *actual* teletext spot the ball. And those metal pages would now be cheesy Cash for Gold ads!

    Hey, I don't suppose there's any way we could get hold of these raw teletext frames for a project we're putting together? It would be great if we could show them in teletext form on the web through or actual hardware (televisions!).

    For reference, my email address is dan [at] illarterate [dot] co [dot] uk.


  3. The source code for the software you see is BBC BASIC, of that I'm 100% certain.

    I think you've got your year wrong. I don't think your pages are from 1981, they're from 1982.


    - Columbia's first operational mission was on November 11 1982.
    - The BBC Micro was launched 1/12/1981.