Scene: a Stanley Baxter ITV Christmas special in the mid 1980s. The expensive film parody is The Jewel in the Crown. Posh Old Empire Duffer (Stanley Baxter) confronts an Indian mystic (Stanley Baxter, plus dubbin). “I say, what’s your name?” “Please sir, my name is Page!” “Page? Odd name for a soothsayer, what?” “Oh, yes. I am Page the Oracle!” That’s how far the advertising slogan of ITV’s Ceefax-beating text service had penetrated popular consciousness. Paging the Oracle (the name supposedly stood for Optional Reception of Announcements by Coded Line Electronics, but if that’s not a classic case of retro-fitting words into a nice-sounding acronym we don’t know what is) brought you the wonders of magazine show Live at Five, teen section Buzz (featuring Debbie’s Diary!) and the semi-legendary endless text soap opera Park Avenue. Oh, and endless flashing double-height captions urging you to book a Thomas Cook holiday while places last. Until, that is, it was canned at the end of 1992 to make way for the imaginatively titled ITV Teletext.
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Creamguide's Pick of the Day
Could there be a more reassuring voice to enjoy while tucked up in bed? We reckon it’s an inspired choice to get Moira to fill the old David Jacobs spot for the next three months because as well as her terribly mellifluous voice she’s also a huge fan of jazz and is going to filling these shows with plenty of smooth sounds, which sounds pretty ace late night listening to us.
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Points of View
- In 'Pages from Ceefax', Mick says: "BBC Micro graphics ordered to resemble mid-70s resolutions and typeset for in-computer compatibility using bolt-on tuner. Interesting case of..."
- In 'Paddington', Mick says: "When Mr. Curry barges into the family’s new ‘shedna’ to hog its maiden voyage, Paddington pours snow down the chimney in well-deserved..."
- In 'Five to Eleven', Mick says: "Well, come on, it made me think. Titles came on, I’d say ‘Right, nearly lunchtime’."
- In 'Open All Hours', Mick says: "2013 remake as fresh and sharp as the best of them, to great relief and surprise. G-G-Granville taking over miser duties in perhaps the wise move of..."
- In 'Monkees, The', Mick says: "I remember that thanks to the spread of quality repeats for kids back then. So my considerable expectations of these Beatlemania-riding funboys were..."