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
When Pop Went Epic – The Crazy World Of The Concept Album
Friday, 22.00, BBC4
Hard to imagine anything in pop history easier to ridicule these days than the seventies concept album, and indeed many of the people who made them are now happy to laugh at the excesses of the whole business, but you can’t fault their ambition in trying to cram as many ideas as they could into just twelve inches of vinyl. Rick Wakeman made a couple and he’s the perfect host to take this fond look back at the golden age of the LP, which really did veer from the sublime to the ridiculous.
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Points of View
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