Skip to main content

Ceefax Disappears In London With Digital Switchover

We all probably have some fond memories of Ceefax. Or indeed, not so fond ones, of trying to book bargain holidays and staring at interminably slow loading pages of chunky text for way too long.

Still, the BBC's teletext service is a part of the country's heritage, having been running since 1974 - yes, that early - and it was remarkable technology back then. So now that the service is being switched off, it certainly feels like the end of an era, no matter how clunky the system seems in retrospect.

Ceefax is transmitted via the analogue TV signal, which was switched off yesterday in London - and so Ceefax disappeared in the capital too.

The service isn't entirely dead in the UK, still being available in parts of the north, south east of England, and Northern Ireland, but it won't be around there for much longer. Come October 2012, and the completion of the digital switchover, the nostalgic service will finally be dead and buried.

When it first went live, Ceefax carried just thirty pages of information. It expanded to hundreds of pages from there, and had a rival which it outlasted that you'll probably remember, as well - Oracle on ITV (and later Channel 4).

Currently, folks are getting all misty-eyed through their rose tinted spectacles on Twitter, with the closure triggering a host of remembrance tweets.

The Sun newspaper noted in a tweet: "#Ceefax switch-off sparks a No1 Twitter trend as fans say RIP to the classic text service."

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.