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Londoners Say Goodbye to BBC's Ceefax

By - Source: The Guardian | B 3 comments

We hate long goodbyes.

Ah, Ceefax. Anyone who grew up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, will be familiar with the information service that could tell you anything from your horoscope, to the weather, lotto numbers, sports scores, and TV schedules. Because of the wonders of technology, these teletext-type services are no longer our go-to resource for the latest news and weather. ITV and Channel 4's Teletext was shut off in 2009 and now those with a soft spot for the BBC's Ceefax are to be cut off, too.

The Guardian reports that Wednesday's switching off of the analogue signals as part of the Digital TV Switchover also saw the end of Ceefax for millions in London. In fact, thanks to the latest switchoff, the biggest phase of the DTV Switchover, only a handful of places in the UK still have access to Ceefax. The information service will live on until the last analogue signal is switched off later this year. For now, it's still available in Tyne Tees, parts of south-east England, and Northern Ireland.

When Ceefax does eventually disappear, it won't be forgotten. According to the BBC, a selection of pages from Ceefax will be kept in the BBC archives so future generations will know what we're talking about when we speak of the dark days before web-connected TVs, the internet, Twitter, and Facebook.

If you want to share your happy Ceefax memories, Twitter users are reminiscing under the hashtag #ceefaxmemories.

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  • 0 Hide
    hairystuff , 19 April 2012 21:40
    Brings back memories of our first ceefax philips tv in 1984, pretty cutting edge for its time.
  • 0 Hide
    jubber , 19 April 2012 23:48
    Brings back memories of my BBC Model B, with awesome built in Mode 7 ceefax graphics chip. I remember they even made games for Mode 7 - with spectacular chunky artwork.

    Ceefax itself had quizzes on it, with hidden answers. You had to navigate using page numbers to see new parts of the game. Internet 0.1. These kids today eh? Don't know they're born.
  • 0 Hide
    dizzy_davidh , 20 April 2012 13:56
    jubber Ceefax itself had quizzes on it, with hidden answers. You had to navigate using page numbers to see new parts of the game. Internet 0.1. These kids today eh? Don't know they're born.


    I remember those games (child of the mid-seventies typing here)! I also remember the jokes pages where you had to press the 'reveal' button on your remote to display hidden text to see the punch line.

    Looking back I guess it was a case of text being set to the background colour and the reveal button changed it.

    I remember reading that ceefax started as a means of transmitting data in the top lines of the picture transmission (not usually displayed) as a means of one way communication for engineers to transmit messages on the signal for interested 'beeb' workers to read. I guess it was mainly maintenance info etc.