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
Fifty years since the Radio Times were on the phone saying this new science show needed a name and it needed it now, a look back at the legacy of the most popular of popular science shows. Undoubtedly its high water mark was in the seventies which it wasn’t just an important series – as the Radio Times pointed out in 1976, “many firms delegate executives to watch each programme and then prepare a synopsis for senior management” – but also hugely popular thanks to its familiar placing before Top of the Pops. James Burke rummages through the archives and talks to some of his former colleagues like Judith Hann and Howard Stableford, and looks at not just what it got right, but also what it thought today’s world would be like.
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Points of View
- 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…"
- In 'Horses Galore', Alan says: "Someone on another site also says that the presenter was Susan George but it was definitely Susan King. I can however see a resemblance between them. A..."
- In 'Your Local Station – Across The Nation!', AlexTheEngineer-Ipswich says: "Surprised to see no mention of Laser 558, Radio Caroline (which took over 558 for a bit after the MV..."
- In 'Friends in Space', Danny says: "OMG! I’ve been looking for this for years. Watching it as a kid it stayed with me and I never forgot it!"
- In 'New Faces', harvey wood says: "I was on new faces in 1975 does anyone have any copies or information please thanks"