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
Last one of these, we think, and it’s Spike Milligan. We wonder if they’ll feature his appearance on Wogan where he arrived on stage in a wheelchair and totally freaked us out (and we seem to recall generated complaints for mocking the disabled) or indeed another appearance, which we see is on YouTube, where the chat is interrupted by a member of the audience running on stage to get some publicity for the rag week he’s running, to Spike’s obvious irritation. He was very funny in interviews as well, though, too, as we’ll see.
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Points of View
- In 'Horses Galore', Droogie says: "I remember Susan King well. As a kid I had a horse-obsessed cousin called Joanne, and always had to sit through this show if it was on whenever I was..."
- In 'Victor Lewis-Smith', THX 1139 says: "The editing on these shows was quite brilliant, maybe the best thing about it because though it was very funny in places, you couldn’t..."
- In 'Picture Box', Graham Pearson says: "Picture Box was the most memorable ITV schools programme particularly at the time Alan Rothwell presented. He became available for presenting..."
- In 'Wattoo Wattoo: Superbird', Applemask says: "Who’s she marrying? Haven’t you heard?"
- In 'Naked Video', David Smith says: "The end credits for the latter series replaced the roaring Thatcher with John Major as a buck toothed mouse, I recall…"