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
Been a fantastic run of shows recently and we’re particularly thrilled to see this episode, one of those we’ve been waiting to see since the repeats began. As you’ll have seen from his dynamic entrance last time out, it’s the first episode presented by Andy Peebles, but it’s also the last he does for three years, and because it was never shown on UK Gold, and very little of it appears to have been shown on TOTP2, we’re absolutely fascinated to see how he does. Presumably, he didn’t much enjoy it. As fate would have it, his appearance also coincided with the height of the ITV strike which means this is the highest rated episode of all time, pulling in a whopping 19.7 million viewers. Better yet, that enormous captive audience were met with a brilliantly eclectic line-up, one of the most diverse ever, heralded by the Dooleys’ silliest record – and therefore by far their best.
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Points of View
- In 'Dukes of Hazzard, The', Austin Maxi says: "Closing titles usually played over a scene of Rosco’s police cruiser chasing the General Lee Dodge Charger round and round some..."
- In 'Life Without George', Austin Maxi says: "‘Everywhere you look it’s two by two, everyone’s got someone, save for you!’ as the theme song told us...."
- In 'Call Me Mister', Austin Maxi says: "I remember that the Australian lead character’s vehicle of choice was a Mini."
- In 'Break in the Sun', Austin Maxi says: "The theme music to ‘Break In The Sun’ was John Renbourn’s ‘Reflections’."
- In 'Six English Towns/Six More English Towns/Another Bloody Six English Towns', Graham says: "Alec was born in 1907 and died in 1985 at the age of 77. He was a great historian and the..."