Goodbye Ceefax & Teletext. You were never perfect but I loved you.
Today is the first day since 23rd September 1974 that Ceefax has not been around. It’s a sad day for me, despite the fact that it’s not been available where I live for some time, as I always wanted to work for them or Teletext. Designing and writing have always been important to me and both Ceefax and Teletext seemed to do a lot with very little.
It may not have been the quickest system in the world and a way of going through sub-pages would have been very welcome but for years I read the news, found out the football scores, checked the weather and played games. The now/next system on P606 was great as well but the single most important system to come out of it was subtitling, opening up television to many people for whom it was a waste of time, previously.
However, despite all these happy memories, my favourite Ceefax/Teletext story is a great example of it’s drawbacks. I remember reading an article in around 2000 about the best way to follow a football match if you can’t get to the game in FourFourTwo magazine. After discussing watching the game on TV, listening on the radio etc…
It’s the 24th minute of Manchester United v Leicester City. Ryan Giggs collects the ball on the edge of his own penalty area and sets off on a mazy dribble. He goes past one, then another, skips over a lunging Robbie Savage tackle and carries on, jinking his way through crowds of defenders. He’s gone past 7 of the team on his own when he rounds the goalkeeper, winks at Robbie Savage then gets down on his hands and knees to head the ball over the line. It has to be the goal of the season, if not all time. Savage, in a fit of rage runs over to the wildly celebrating United players and kung-fu kicks Giggs in the side of the head, leaving him out cold. A 21-man brawl ensues. Shirts are ripped, the crowd are baying for blood. The referee eventually gets control of the situation, 5 minutes later, separates the fighting players and immediately sends Savage off. He tears off his shirt in frustration, gesticulates to the crowd and kicks a crate of Lucozade bottles into the United dugout, catching Ferguson smack in the face who has to go to hospital for treatment.
What does Teletext say?
Manchester United 1 - 0 Leicester City Giggs 24 Savage s/o 29