United Kingdom

Meet the man who brought Ceefax back from the dead

When the BBC got rid of its Ceefax service there was widespread disappointment.

But one dedicated software engineer has created his own teletext system to keep the concept alive.

Peter Kwan, 63, uses a network of volunteers to run the service, which he has named Teefax.

Peter Kwan, 63, uses a network of volunteers to run the service, which he has named Teefax

It features classic Ceefax-like content including horoscopes, BBC news, weather, travel and even jokes, as well as an archive of teletext pages. Mr Kwan says it is a labour of love that fans find ‘nostalgic’

He said: ‘It is all run by enthusiasts. There are about a dozen around the country who all concentrate on their own bits. We have a chap in Ireland who provides regional news and weather'

It features classic Ceefax-like content including horoscopes, BBC news, weather, travel and even jokes, as well as an archive of teletext pages. Mr Kwan says it is a labour of love that fans find ‘nostalgic’.

The grandfather-of-two from Stroud, Gloucestershire, said: ‘People can mostly find whatever their favourite page was on Ceefax. Usually they’ll have the page number memorised. We’ve got a couple of quizzes and games, too.

‘It is all run by enthusiasts. There are about a dozen around the country who all concentrate on their own bits. We have a chap in Ireland who provides regional news and weather.’

To access Teefax, users have to plug a Raspberry Pi – a basic computer used to help people learn to programme – into an analogue TV. The teletext pages are downloaded from a server and sent to the TV where they are accessed by pressing ‘text’ on the television remote control. Mr Kwan’s project began in 2016 after Ceefax – a phonetic take on ‘see facts’ – was closed in 2012 after 38 years.

He said: ‘Towards the back end of teletext I was working for a company that produced the equipment to create Ceefax. I realised I could make the equipment myself using modern technology, so I started doing that.

‘We have a solid fan base, that’s for sure. As for audience, I have no idea. If it breaks I quickly get complaints, so I know that people are using it.’

Ceefax was closed in 2012 after being operational for 38 years