Welcome, teletext fanatics! I'll just leave this here...

Thursday, 20 December 2007

More Teletextery

Newsflash! The Isle of Wight has finally got teletext. According to one resident,
"I can’t believe that the information revolution can go any further than this."

Not that the IOW is behind the times or anything. Thanks to Newsbiscuit for that 'story'.

From the depths of the Internet's formative years comes MrDaveo's distinctly 1990s webpage on Digitiser. More proof that the cult spread far and wide across the land, beamed into the front rooms of tens, nay thousands of television owners. That purple text is beginning to hurt my eyes.

Elsewhere, Mr Tanilsoo has another edition of his Estonian teletext up at Youtube:

From one of these news stories at least, it seems some parts of Estonian society are a little bit 'anti-digital'. Good on them.

And finally, I have to admit I was a 'ziner'. That is, I sent at least one letter to the Mega Zine, a surreal pre-Internetisation forum. Much like Digitiser this had a cult following but was created by its readers rather than an editorial team. It was the definitive teletext magazine service but It's all disappeared now. Everyone has moved to the Internet.

Pong Blogger

Pong is a strangely addictive game. I've been doing some experiments with the game engine in Flash recently and decided to put them into a blog format. The result is Pong Blogger, which you might like.

Monday, 10 December 2007


The design for ceefax.tv is plainly and blatantly ripped from Google's. From what I can gather the two are not connected in any other way than the ceefax.tv search engine matches Google's, page layout wise.

And what better way to apply a search engine to a teletext system? It knocks the socks off the old Telesoftware search function (maybe, depending on your opinion) because it's much more advanced. That said, the premise is very simple: enter a keyword and you get some results grabbed from the teletext service that day. So, if you can't be bothered looking through the number entry menu for, say, Gordon Brown, just put his name into the search engine and you get a bunch of news stories. You can also use the traditional three-digit method if you like. The latter brings the page straight up in a popup window which inlcudes some clickable hyperlinks.

In other words, this is a Ceefax website. This is the opposite of a Google webpage put into teletext (right). I wonder what the web would be like if it were all teletext? Not being old enough to remember, let alone use, Viewdata, I can only imagine. Would be an interesting project to transpose some famous websites (such as Google) into the teletext aesthetic.

Online teletext archiving - Digitiser

Digitiser is a service that used to run on Channel 4's Teletext service. It was a video game magazine service that 'revelled in controversy' but was massively popular. It was a website before its time: a daily digest of news, opinion and reviews including a user feedback section. There was even an 'Ask Mr. T' bit!

This site is an archive of some of these pages. I read on the mailing list that all pages are kept in an official archive, at least for BBC, but I've yet to find any confirmation of this online. The site, by 'Moleman', is a fan created resource for nostalgics: the serviced finished in 2003 as part of the phasing out of teletext systems.

The service, which had a cult following, is now dead and the creators and users have dispersed, many to the Internet. Mr Biffo, one of the creators, now has his own blog whilst there are loads of tribute websites all over the net.
There are many interesting aspects... For one thing, they're not trying to be 'worthy', or communitarian. They're not being right-on, saying come over to us and be exclusive and culty. Fans who write in and attempt to creep in a supercilious way are liable to get the biggest kicking of the lot. And yet - the fans they do come. These pages probably get more 'readership' than any print magazine, and not just because they're free. And not either because they're trying to 'get in with the kids' in a patronising way. I reckon some of it goes right over the heads of most of their audience; it's not being 'clever', it's simply not being condescending and lowest-common-denominator. They expect their readers to have a little intelligence.

Brave New World

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Teletext specifications - links

Information on the general specifications of teletext pages.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Breaking the barriers

Every so often the teletext coders became more adventurous and pushed the envelope with their designs.

This is weird, I don't know how they did it but somehow the page is flipped horizontally. I can't read the thing but it mentions smarty pants coders.

This is included for no other reason than I like it. It's very eighties/nineties but I do think it looks more attractive than anything on Ceefax now.

And finally a nice piece of text art from the coders. From 2000, when the BBC website was up and running.

Source: Teletext then and Now

Commercial teletext art

On special occasions, Ceefax used to have commemorative/decorative pixel art pages.

This very purple page is from Ceefax's Wimbledon coverage. Compare to the digital teletext version and it looks very low tech. Snazzy, though.

Graphs aren't used much on teletext any more but this page from Oracle in the 1980s is a diagram for motorway delays. Inventive if basic manipulation of the format.

An old Fun and Games page. Now defunct, this used to be the most fun part of teletext, containing tacky quizzes and puzzles that could be completed in a commercial break. Nice little image of a lighthouse but I don't know the relevance of it.

Source: Teletext Then and Now

Weather Watch part 2

More from the history of teletext as defined by weather forecast pages.

This map from Oracle in 1977 displays a possible weathermap layout for a regional forecast. To my knowledge nothing like this was ever implemented and the test status of the page is indicated by the text: "regional weather forecast could use maps like this one".

And this is the national weather map from the same page set. Note the colour clash and different map to the Ceefax one.

This is a humorous map from an Oracle page in 1989. This must have been phased out pretty quickly as I don't remember it. The humour seems to have largely gone from commercial teletext - it has become serious.

2000s, an interactive TV map from Teletext including television icons. Note the JPEG advertisements.

Compare this to a 1996 televised broadcast of the weather including a satellite image of Britain. On teletext, Michael Fish's place is taken by some text.

Source: Teletext Then and Now

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

A modern teletext font

If teletext had, or should it, live on after the switchoff, in order to fit in with the plethora of new technologies available on the Internet and elsewhere it would need to develop. It would be interesting to see how far I could take this whilst remaining faithful to the 80 x 69 pixel canvas. This could mean changes to:
  • Colour palette, increase from 8 to 16, 24, or even higher.
  • Change in character set. This might include:
    • Addition of extended Unicode symbols such as @, (, | etc.
    • Addition of new symbols for the teletext format
    • Addition of emoticons.
      • (Basically a whole new character set.)
    • Option to redefine the font. Eg. Courier, Fixedsys

Monday, 26 November 2007

Various references

Whilst actually creating the text part of the dissertation I'm finding more specific and relevant information about the subjects I am researching.
  • Bob Bemer was an IBM employee who was involved in the creation of the ASCII character set in 1970. He proposed the curly and square brackets ([],{}) and the backslash (\).
    • Here he discusses his 'status' as 'Father of ASCII'.
    • And here he talks of the ASCII characters.
  • Scott Fahlman is the person first credited with specifying and using an emoticon.
  • A bit about the Jodi blogs and the source of the aforementioned Otowa ASCII game.
  • This is a screenshot from BBC Multiscreen, an interactive television service providing a number of news video streams.
  • A bit of info on the analogue switch off. I've probably posted this here before....
  • Here's a timeline of the evolution of British satellite television. Maybe an equivalent one for Teletext might be in order.
  • At the TV Ark, there's lots of screenshots from the history of BBC News 24.

The Otowa ASCII game

I like this game, it's really cool how a game's whole graphical style can be created using ASCII.

Interview with Dirk Paesmans

Some very interesting extracts from an interview with Dirk Paesmans of jodi.org. Warning, the translation is a bit ropey in places.
"We, I especially, did a lot of writing and mailing into mailing lists, but that was all unreadable stuff. Sometimes cut and paste from the text and with a lot of graphic stuff in between. Sometimes they looked as that if you would start to read them, most of the time they were not ascii drawings, they were ascii texts. I did hundreds of them, a lot a lot alot. I also tried to do it in the serious mailing lists. That time rhizome, I bombarded it."

"Anything media tries for their own explanations, like all these type of festivals like this, is actually more a warning for me as an artist to take care that don’t ever become like that, because it’s so general, everything can be replaced by something else and you won’t notice it. I want to feel a personality of the maker, of the person within this group that has a vision that will be real or strong."

On My Desktop:
"But then you have the ways when you do it in a very technically advanced way that you create a friendly virus, then you have to do it very constructive. And you demonstrate so bad amateur behaviour that it almost has the same effect, I mean you can’t imagine that someone is doing something so stupid or so different from the normal rules. For example multiplying folders, opening them at the same time, then throwing them to the trashcan and trying to delete it. A virus would do it a really advanced virus could do it, but you could also do it yourself when you were in the state of a five year old, let’s say, a five year old child for example would do it for fun, because it would like it, it makes sound and talalla, they think it’s great. It’s like a ball is not made for playing football only you can also just play with it on the walls, I mean it’s not just to be played eleven players against eleven players."
Source text

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Peecol - design with restriction

One relatively recent example that could be compared to the concept of teletext art is Eboy's Peecol. The equivalent font set can be seen as a webbificated, modernised version of teletext design. Taking the idea of pixel by pixel design on a small, monotone canvas, each letter corresponds to a 'body part', upper half or lower half. The parts can be combined in any way possible to form whole characters. In particular, the ones from the 'play' variation of the typeface can be likened to pixellated video game characters in their minimal, restricted approach.

It is very similar to Eboy's other work, which generally centres around the concept of low-resolution art; grid art; pixel art. Summarised, the canvas used is a 'shrunk down' version of the one used on teletext.

Peecol toys

Monday, 19 November 2007

Weather Watch

One feature that defines teletext is the weather map. British people always want to know what the weather's like and teletext has always provided a facility for this. This is a trawl through teletext history as demonstrated by weather maps.

Ceefax, 1973 test page. The one that started it all.

Ceefax 1978. Not much difference but the map seems to have had a redraw.

Ceefax, 1985. Seven years on and the map looks a bit more like a television broadcast weather map, complete with blue sea. The title has been redesigned with readability instead of space efficiency. Parts of Scotland get excluded and Ireland is reduced to but a squiggly yellow line.

Ceefax, 1990. Notice the 'weather' title is gone to make way for some more textual bits of information. The page now credits the Met Office. Southern Ireland now completely gone! Very psychedelic, a bit like one of Fred's sweaters.

Sky weather, 2002. The map is squeezed into a smaller area although all the content is still there. Notice the cluttered pages due to commercial elements.

Ceefax weather, 2007. The somewhat eye-watering blue background is gone and the overall map is reminiscent of Sky's. Plenty of room for textual information and weather warnings.

Digital TV weather service, 2002. Standardisation complete. The blocky map has gone in favour of standard weather iconography and photographic quality. Page starting to look like a static version of the TV broadcast weather (right). A long way from the original teletext page - at least Ireland will be happy the BBC now acknowledges its existence.


Friday, 16 November 2007

Some more links

  • This blog entry talks about the analogue switchoff and one person's nostalgia for the teletext format.
  • This page has a few more details on the Microtel project, including exact dates of transmission.
  • Here's some more info on Telesoftware, courtesy of Teletext Then and Now.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007


The obvious thing would be to produce an essay but that might not be that great. I think I could easily achieve a reasonable standard project but it would be a bit boring. I need to discuss with tutors what course of action I am going to take, however here are some proposed formats:
  • Documentary film bringing together all the material collected into some sort of interesting graphical piece using teletext imagery. This would be fun but I don't know if this is achievable in the four weeks.
    • A more watered down version might be a radio reading but I can't really see what this would bring to the piece seeing as teletext is largely silent and image-based.
  • Website. This would simply be a more organised form of the blog, formalising some of the text and splitting the content into pages. I would say this is achievable, with some effort.
  • If all else fails there is always the essay with associated imagery. I might have to resort to this if time is running low.
It might be good to first compile, select and write the actual text, though. This could then be reproduced in any number of formats.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Some proposed chapter headings

Here are some rough headings for possible chapter sections, along with approximate dates. This assumes the project will be in essay format. Subjects I am more interested in will take the form of case studies rather than just a paragraph or two worked into the main body of text.

Intro - Technical/history
  1. Teletext's invention and inception (1970).
    1. Background: other digital media around at the time: arcade video games, links in commercial popularity and aesthetic. 1972 - Pong becomes widely popular, 1976 - teletext launched. ARPAnet in America - primitive early version of the Internet. Functionalities.
    2. Aesthetic. 1974: the 40x24 character grid was agreed upon, including text and a few graphic characters for creating simple graphics. The constituent media of 'teletext' - Teletext and Viewdata.
  1. Teletext's growth in popularity
    1. 1990s - firmly in public conscience.
    2. Teletext and television.
      1. Television sketch parodies - Alexei Sayle.
      2. Pages from Ceefax.
      3. Case study: Tom Moody's 'Dallas' project (1990). Teletext as an extension of television, a text version of the medium. Comments on television and society
      4. 1997 - teletext spreads to satellite. Small case study - Data Design commercial teletext design - MTV teletext.
  2. Pioneering: the medium's status as first commercially successful digital information retrieval method. Bringing technology to the masses through limited set of aesthetic restrictions.
  3. Teletext's service - uses. Simple games. Information service. Accessibility tool - subtitling.
    1. Case study: functions as compared to (early) Internet - Viewdata's crude email system; reader view pages - use of teletext pages as discussion forums etc. How the two mediums never genuinely converged.
Coexistence/crossing of mediums
  1. Internet growth in popularity (1990s).
    1. For the 1990s, coexisted with teletext.
    2. 2000s: Internet begins to take over.
  2. Teletext adapted for the web browser.
    1. Jodi's 'text' piece.
    2. Carola Unterberger-Probst: 'Framed'
    3. Encoding to receive analogue teletext via net.
  3. Teletext's expansion worldwide (1980s)
    1. Ceefax grows from 30 pages in 1973 to 600 in mid-80s. Spread to France, America in early 80s.
    2. Along with Atari home console, propagating the 'jagged pixellation' aesthetic. Paul Slocum: Atari > windowed GUI.
Death of the traditional aesthetic
  1. From first analogue aerial switch off in 2007 to the complete switch off in 2012.
  2. Differing public opinions - "sad to see it go", "natural progression of technology would see it die out".
  3. Introduction of digital TTX and later Interactive TV - an evolved form of the traditional analogue version. 'Sounding death knoll' of the traditional aesthetic.
  4. Level 1 and 2 teletext upgrades - how these relate to modern 'digital teletext' in terms of aesthetic. The 'stepping stone' between teletext and digital teletext.
Future of traditional teletext
  1. It would seem the traditional format is doomed but the very medium which could see it die out would be the one allowing it to live on after the analogue switch off, namely the Internet.
  2. Estonia - still the No.1 method of information retrieval ahead of the Internet. Tarmo Tanilsoo's tribute websites.
  3. Case study: Lektrolab - 2006 Microtel project. People still using teletext aesthetic to create art.
Some conclusions
  1. Despite sharing a number of functions, Teletext is not really the predecessor of the Internet, more a separately evolved medium with some similarities. Whereas the ARPA network developed in America teletext was more a British invention and, even though there were signs they might with Viewdata, at no point did the two converge.
    1. Maybe a simple diagram showing the two separate 'evolutions' could explain this point.
  2. The teletext aesthetic survives?
    1. Later, the Internet allowed for enthusiasts to create homages to the medium. To date, there are over 500 worldwide terrestrial teletext services available on the Internet. This could be the medium that sees the aesthetic live on, even after the analogue version is gone.
    2. The mobile web browser as having similar technical/aesthetic restrictions.
    3. Lektrolab's project shows there are still those who value the aesthetic as a medium for artistic expression. Eboy shows that the pixel as an aesthetic is still in the public's conscience in the fact it still has commercial value (brief mention of Eboy, not worth going into great detail over).
    4. Services such as Digitiser, even after they were taken from terrestrial screens, adapted to the online format (Digiworld). Fan sites.
It might be worth having an appendix with some of these timelines in them to help illustrate. Perhaps these could be written timelines as in Internet Art by Rachel Greene. Should the medium of the outcome facilitate it, include with/alongside the text/content.

Cross reference sections in some way.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Tele Giffer, a tribute to jodi

Inspired by jodi, been playing around with the idea of glitch art in the same way as the short video I did on Monday. I thought it would be interesting to see what this would be like if it were computer generated rather than video shot.

So, I set about creating a set on animated gifs then applied them to HTML, the result below:

This was created using a grid of 4 different animated gifs, comprising of a few graphic and text characters, each with a different timespan and running order. This is what produces the different patterns. These were then arranged into three HTML documents which are navigated by clicking on the animations. Each page has a progressively jumbled collection of animations on the same grid.

Elsewhere, been thinking about the wider picture with regards to presentation. This might be jumping ahead too much too soon but I'd like to visualise a final outsome for this, hence the reason for these videos. Would be good to create an archive/showcase site like the microsite compiling all the data from this project, including videos, photosets etc.

Index cards

Bought and made some index cards in an attempt to organise the vast amounts of information in this weblog. Some of the selection has already been made in a previous post; I used this as a basis for making the cards. Tried out a few different arrangements of both the artists and the technological information separately, still, for the moment. Need to find a way of bringing these together, I think. Some shots of arrangements (pity about the terrible camera resolution):

They were pretty useful, actually - helped me get a better idea of what I have and how it could be arranged, for whatever medium. The best of these was an idea to have the Teletext timeline central to the piece and the other aspects, such as video games etc. auxiliary to these. Here's a rough Photoshop version:

The diagram is indicative of how mediums will be mentioned, as will their 'evolutions', but not included in great detail; only as a reference point as to the state of digital technology at that particular point in teletext's evolution.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Paramount Comedy teletext

I've wanted to post about this for a while but I couldn't get my teletext capture software to run through the cable set top box. Instead, I resorted to taking pictures.

Paramount Comedy is a channel that broadcasts on Sky TV. Like many other satellite channels, it used to have a full working set of teletext information pages, including TV listings and an irreverent user feedback page. Now, the pages are no longer updated but still exist in a form untouched since they couldn't be bothered with the service any more. Included in these are some rather interesting technical and humorous pages, such as ones depicting cats and penguins.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Who broke my teletext?

Working on the idea of glitches, I produced a quickly shot and edited short film based around teletext scrambled receptions. Other areas I could expand to would be snow and test cards, but for now I think the glitch idea has some mileage at least.

I may develop this but it's just a test, really. Maybe I could take the idea and develop it for the web browser much like Jodi have in their Text piece.

Cory Arcangel

Cory Arcangel is apparently part of the video game art community - a bit more research reveals that he is a bit more well-known than I first thought.

Cory Arcangel, Amazon entry

To start, he has a book. It's 'a hacker's nostalgia trip' documenting some of his (and his fellow programmers' activities).
More info on the book.

Here's a page of some of his exhibits, including the Landscape series projected in exhibition environment. The image to the right is one such installation, and includes his video game 'I Shot Andy Warhol'. There's a video of this on YouTube:

I just found it simply awesome. The pixellated version of Colonel Sanders is particularly brilliant.

I'll leave this post with a nice, relaxing GIF of Arcangel's. According to Uncyclopedia.org, it "is the world's 3rd most seen .GIF file off all time after LOTR.gif and POO.gif."

A teletext timeline

Teletext timeline
PDF download, 71Kb

From some of the data and information collected in this weblog, as well as some more added specific research (details below), produced a timeline of events. The top section describes major dates in the history of teletext whilst the bottom one describes major events in other related media. I'm going to work on this some more, I think.

Some extra sources:

Digiworld - teletext archving

With the Internet and interactive TV set to supersede teletext, the pages of teletext will become history. However some enthusiasts have brought the format to the Internet. Digiworld is one such cult section, which made the transition online from the original 'Digitiser' part of Teletext's service. It seems this is new content formatted in the traditional manner. You can download an archived version of the service which is pretty extensive with over 1,500 pages.

This is one example of people making the move from a teletext collaborative service to one based online. The content remains largely the same, only the name and medium has changed. Perhaps the aesthetic is actually part of the identity of the Digitiser/Digiworld package and the emulation here is necessary. In fact, it could be argued that the online format is better for this collaborative element - emails and ease up updating would be positives.

Selection of information

Info collected in this weblog organised into some headings. Some of the more important stuff.

Teletext technical history
  • Conception and invention of medium.
    • Early 1970s. Developed and created by the BBC, who were initially researching a method of closed captioning.
  • Technological updates/upgrades
    • Mid-1970s update to include 8 colours.
    • Level 1.0 and 2.5 teletext - more updated graphics but not used by any TTX broadcaster in Britain.
  • Significant dates and events in TTX's technical history.
    • 1980 - Pages From Ceefax first broadcast. 2005 - service ended. (Case study for the lifespan of the medium?
    • Relaunches and redesigns. 1996.
    • The birth and death of teletext. 2012 switch off, gradual phasing out of the medium.
Constituent media
  • Teletext
    • 'Ceefax' (BBC) coming first in 1973
    • 'ORACLE' (ITV) following soon after
  • Viewdata - Post Office's method of transmitting text via telephone lines. 'Prestel'.
  • The teletext umbrella.
    • Collaboration of Ceefax, ORACLE and Prestel to create the collective term teletext, 1976 - 'Broadcast Teletext Specification'.
    • The single aesthetic which was agreed upon - 40x24 grid of text with some graphic characters - CEPT1.
  • 1980s - Videotex. Minitel - TV with computer keyboard incorporated used to control. Not adopted in Britain.
Similar media (chronlogical?)
  • 1960s. ARPANET. Information retrieval service/communication method. Early network. Precursor to internet.
  • Late 1960s. Arcade video games. Precursor to teletext.
  • 1970s. Development of the computer GUI. Similar aesthetic to teletext, pixel medium. Moved away from this similarity, however.
  • 1990s. The early Internet. Transmission of plain text information. Few images.
  • 2000. Internet boom. Teletext and internet - comparisons/contrasts.
  • 2000. Interactive television - successor to teletext. Retains many features/functions
    • Function of each medium, with regards to teletext.
Societal impact
  • Popularity.
    • First electronic information retrieval system.
    • Regular updates at the peak of its popularity.
    • Sep 11 01 attacks - when Internet down, TTX provided people with service. Probably last thing TTX will be known for.
  • Uses.
    • Transmitting/finding information - pools news, lottery, football results.
    • Playing games. Bamboozle multiple choice. Quiz questions - reveal button.
    • Discussion 'forum'. Viewer opinions on music, TV, entertainment etc.
    • Closed captioning method to aid hard of hearing.
  • Peoples' opinions on the phasing out and subsequent 'death' of the medium.
    • Sad to see it go. Nostalgic reasons, preference - simplicity.
    • Many don't use it anyway. Internet and interactive TV used instead. 24hr news channels.
  • Teletext humour.
Teletext art
  • The teletext aesthetic emulated within the internet browser
    • Jodi - 'Text'. Teletext style font set formatted for web browser.
    • Unterberger-Probst - 'Framed'. TTX aesthetic emulated and embedded into web browser.
    • Tarmo Tanilsoo - ES5DWXL. Personal web site. TTX aesthetic emulated and embedded into web browser.
  • Work broadcast on teletext
  • The pixel - works that share a similar pixellated aesthetic.
    • Paul Slocum - Windows GUI formatted for Atari. Use of Atari emulator.
    • Cory Arcangel - Landscape series, video game art. Pixellated aesthetic similar to teletext.
    • Eboy - Pixellated aesthetic borrowing from Sim City video game idea/aesthetic. How contemporary artists use the pixel aesthetic originally employed by teletext as a commercially successful format.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Artists/artworks and their relevance

Might be good to get these into a physical format such as index cards or post it notes in order to organise them. May be the case of building these in Illustrator and printing them off.

Relevance to Teletext?

Started documenting this in a text document complete with screenshots. The index card system will allow me to organise information into sections and under headings etc. This, I feel, will be an important aspect of the project - experimentation with different arrangements will hopefully produce some ideas for outcomes. I will concentrate on this aspect for the next week or so to make sure I have some kind of organisation of the information I have collected.

Above right - example of some data that could go on the cards - artist name, artist's relevant works, screenshot.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Some links

Teletext holidays

Some of the best pixel art on teletext can be found on the holiday pages. This includes imagery and typography, which usually blinks endlessly. This can be compared to early websites with their technique of 'flashing' - basically blinking text or images.

  • Lektrogirl's blog is not worth visiting for long, otherwise your eyes may be damaged.
  • Look Around You is a popular BBC comedy show. The interface on the recently released DVD is a load of Ceefax pages! Even the subtitles resemble those on teletext. I'm going to have to look out for this.
  • Teletext inc. advertisements from Archimedia Design.
An advert for ORACLE:

Viewdata and telesoftware: links

Silicon Village

This is a virtual village, now largely closed for business. In its heyday, it was a vewdata-themed hub for discussion, an early version of Second Life, if you like. Visitors could visit the leisure centre, with games such as F1, and the newsagent where people could chat and post comments. Formatted in a teletext format, this was an online version of teletext.

Carbuncle Corner was one section of the Silicon Village site that spun off into its own website. Originally transmitted on the viewdata service, site now serves as a place for Ben Hervey's comment as well as nostalgia from the old SV website and some other stuff, such as his guide to Cornwall, only updated when 'he had something to write about' much like a blog.

Telesoftware was a program for BBC Microcomputers with teletext adaptors. They worked on BBC Basic, a coding software which pretty much allowed for users to create their own teletext style pages. It seems the graphics are a bit more advanced also but the white on black aesthetic remains.

Left is a screenshot from a test page. Believe it or not, there is a BBC Micro emulation program which allows PC users to experience the original.

Andrew Wiseman's Television room

More Misc. teletext pages

If I were to design my own teletext pages, I feel that looking at existing examples of good design is necessary to get some inspiration.
This design, from a German teletext page, makes use of the bold white on red and blue on yellow. Interesting to note that some aesthetic decisions are based on colour contrasts: for example red on yellow might be too much of a clash, whereas yellow on red is deemed to be fine. The blue on red isn't quite working though, and the purple on yellow doesn't show up all that well.
This colour scheme of red on white works better but the blue and red areas are staring to clash once more. Only on teletext could a designer get away with juxtaposing two such strong colours. Pixel mapping, an often underused technique, is also used here to render the Sky Box Office logo.
The above screenshot from Ceefax in 1983 is crowded but that's part of its appeal. Trying to stuff as much information on a page as possible is a trademark of the early teletext transmissions - mainly due to the high cost of having a larger number of pages (£50 per page when Ceefax began).Another crowded page, this time from the commercial service on Sky. I like this because there's a lot going on at once: aside from the main focus of the page - the weather forecast - there is room for an advertisement and a premium rate phone number and even some index links.

Screenshots from Teletext then and Now