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
Why are radio adverts so bloody awful? They’re all without exception absolutely terrible, and always have been, and even those which are slightly amusing on first listen end up becoming totally infuriating by the time they go out of circulation. That’s why we’ve never really got on with commercial radio, but this sounds an absolutely fascinating documentary, the first of two parts, which explores the pioneering early days of LBC, Capital and the rest when they didn’t just bang out the same records over and over again and syndicate it across the UK but produced an incredible range of programming which was proudly local.
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Points of View
- In '29) “That’s what I did last night, anyway, here’s Hawkwind!”', Richard16378 says: "I got a lot more of the references the 2nd & 3rd times I watched it,..."
- In '29) “That’s what I did last night, anyway, here’s Hawkwind!”', Rob Free says: "I used to watch this over and over on VHS. I loved the the little cameos from..."
- In '26) “I don’t do French, I do woodwork!”', Richard16378 says: "You are spot on about Victoria Wood being ahead of her time spoofing documentaries. The washed out..."
- In '46) “Radio 1 disc jockey Mark Goodier!”', Richard16378 says: "I really liked The Day Today, most of it has stood the test of time without becoming overly dated, certainly..."
- In '29) “That’s what I did last night, anyway, here’s Hawkwind!”', Richard16378 says: "Possibly Harry Enfield’s finest 45 minutes, a laugh out loud moment..."