About Us

My journey to Retrotext began in 1980, managing viewdata services on Prestel, a world-leading electronic information platform developed by the Post Office (now British Telecom).

If you booked a holiday at a travel agent's in the 1980s, it is likely the booking was made via Prestel. Though a success in several industry sectors, such as travel, the medium never became popular with the general public not least because by the end of the decade teletext - another great British invention - had become the primary information source in households throughout the UK.


The BBCs teletext service Ceefax (See Facts) started in 1974, initially limited to 30 pages but later expanded to 100 pages and launched formally in 1976.It was intended to give BBC viewers free access to the same information that was coming into the BBC newsroom, as soon as the BBC's journalists had received it, in a pre-internet era where the only alternative was to wait for the next TV or radio bulletin to be aired.


ORACLE was the commercial equivalent of Ceefax and was first broadcast on ITV in the mid-late 1970s. During the 1980s, millions of Britons invested in new teletext-enabled TV sets which gave them immediate access at the touch of a button on their remote controls to comprehensive information including news, sport, weather, TV listings, traffic, travel, recipes, share prices, music reviews and much more.


In 1992, the franchise to provide the teletext service for ITV and Channel 4 was awarded to Teletext Limited and ORACLE was replaced by Teletext. By the end of the decade, over 20 million Britons used teletext services at least once a week to access information and, at one stage, Teletext Holidays accounted for 1 in every 10 holidays sold in the UK.

In the early part of the 1990s, Sky lanched its digital platform and it was this proliferation of channels which provided the opportunity for me to create and manage teletext services for independent broadcasters including MTV Europe, CNBC and National Geographic, followed in the Noughties by Racing UK, Setanta and At The Races. 

Changes in television technology led to the gradual demise of the medium, with the broadcasters I worked with, and others, increasingly switching off their teletext services in favour of their web sites. In 2009, ITV's Teletext service ended, with the BBC's Ceefax following suit in 2012.

During the halcyon days of teletext, football fans relied on Ceefax and Oracle/Teletext for the latest football scores and breaking news, with many a transfer rumour quashed with the words, "Well, there's nothing about it on teletext."

Arsenal football manager Bruce Rioch (who signed Dennis Bergkamp) discovered he had been sacked in 1996 by calling up page 302, while football legend and now Match Of The Day pundit Alan Shearer described Ceefax as an 'institution' when it celebrated its 30th birthday in 2004.

Many people of a certain age look back fondly on the teletext era and Retrotext provides the opportunity to re-live those big moments in your team's history in all their teletext glory! Start your trip down memory lane with Retrotext today...