It’s six years to the day since BBC Ceefax, the world’s first teletext service, shut down for good. But would you still use it if it was there? I know someone who definitely would.
If you asked someone now to guess when a service that allowed you to read all the latest news, on-demand, via your TV was launched, I don’t think ‘1974’ would be their first answer.
As such, when you think about it, Ceefax was incredibly ahead of its time – almost a precursor to the internet; a digital-style service in the analogue age.
— George Martin (@GeorgeRobMartin) October 23, 2018
Which? Conversation above, re-imagined as a Teletext page thanks to Matt Round’s Jellytext generator. What might your favourite pages have looked like?
Ceefax was much-loved in our house, mainly by my dad, whom I’m certain would still be using it now (ahead of his smartphone, tablet or any other device!) if he had the chance.
In the days before we had Sky TV, Ceefax (although we always called it teletext in our house) was the only way to keep up with the football scores.
If Ceefax was still going I'm 100% sure my dad would still be using it, claiming it's easier for him and quicker than the internet. pic.twitter.com/azi3qVgRk3
— George Martin (@GeorgeRobMartin) September 24, 2018
I remember the excitement of the black page very lightly flickering as a goal was scored and the update came in – it’s just a shame it was invariably a goal scored against Crystal Palace rather than the other way around.
According to the BBC, millions of Britons began investing in teletext-enabled TVs in the 80s. Ceefax contained recipe details, music reviews, calendars… it really was a mini-internet.
The BBC says that the service peaked in the 90s, with as many as 20 million viewers checking the service at least once a week.
As I grew up during the 90s and early 2000s Ceefax was always there. If it hadn’t become a victim of the digital switchover, I’m sure there would be loyal fans still finding it useful to this day (ok, maybe just my dad).
So, do you miss Ceefax? Would you still use it now? Did you go out of your way to buy a teletext-enabled TV? Let me know, and share your Jellytext creations with us if you give it a go!