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
Decadence and Downfall – The Shah Of Iran’s Ultimate Party
Sunday, 21.00, BBC4
Here’s a great example of hubris on an international scale in this fascinating sounding film, which looks back to 1971 when the Shah of Iran, the self-styled “King of Kings”, held the most incredibly lavish party the world has ever seen, spending billions of pounds in wining and dining dozens of Kings, Queens and Presidents. The aim was to cement Iran in general, and the Shah in particular, as a major player on the world stage, but in the event all this vulgar display of wealth did was piss off the Iranian public and put into motion opposition which led to a revolution. What a shame.
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