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
More Blue Peter presenters in extra-curricular bits of business here. It’s Barney this time in what, though it’s billed under this title, is actually a Prom from the Royal Albert Hall. The Ten Pieces Prom is the climax of the Beeb’s initiative to get kids interested in classical music by picking ten of the most exciting and hummable bits, and everyone who was at this Prom says it was absolutely brilliant and yet another amazing thing only the Beeb can do. Lots of praise too for Barney’s co-hosts, the still fantastic Dick and Dom.
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