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
As ever we’re delighted and amazed when this comes back for another ten episodes, delighted because we think it’s a lot of fun and, at a time when we’re often watching it in larger groups, pleasingly easier than the proper show, and amazed that they’ve managed to yet again convince forty celebrities to do some revision, schlep up to Salford and potentially look stupid. As ever the episodes are shoved in whatever gap they can find over the next fortnight and beyond, and the run kicks off with Tony Marshall from Casualty quizzed about Richard Pryor while ‘stEnders’ Emma Barton discusses matters Carry On.
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Points of View
- In 'It’s the double-sized Christmas Creamguide number 2014!', Des E says: "Nice spoof of the 1991 Christmas Radio Times cover."
- In 'In Concert', Glenn A says: "A more sober alternative to The Generation Game, turn over to BBC 2 and put Radio 1 on in stereo and watch Nazareth in concert. Tended to be heavy on..."
- In 'Words and Pictures', ange says: "Thank you so much Halloween Pumpkin! I thought I would check on this site, not really expecting for someone to have uploaded the pumpkin story after..."
- In 'It’s the double-sized Christmas Creamguide number 2014!', Alan B says: "Huzzah! Huzzah! … Huzzah!"
- In 'The six best Christmas TV Times covers', Alan B says: "The Minder one is very reminiscent of Computer And Video Games covers of the same era."