Thursday, 30 January 2020

The end of text

With all eyes fixed on Britain's exit from the European Union tomorrow, another momentous severing from an institution that has also been part of our lives since the mid seventies has gone all but unnoticed, namely the BBC's decision to end its Red Button text service, which began as Ceefax in 1974 before morphing into its current incarnation in 2008 (rival broadcaster ITV axed theirs, Teletext, in 2009).

I know that you can find all the information online now, but it's still not the same as pressing those familiar buttons: news headlines (102), local news (1635), football headlines (302), scores (316), tables (324), fixtures (330), cricket (340) and rugby league (370).

What's even worse is the dishonest way they've gone about announcing it: not a decision taken lightly, regret having to do it, blah, blah, blah. I'd have more respect for them if they just said that as pretty much everyone can check things on their phones now, and those that can't will have to push off to the local library if they can find one still open, they're no longer prepared to pay to keep it going (the service has already been cut back, removing some of the "fringe" items like American sports that some of us found useful).

As the BBC comes under attack on several fronts - for the excessive pay of its executives and presenters, the removal of free TV licences for pensioners, and its perceived political bias - it really knows how to alienate those of us who are normally first in line to defend the public service broadcaster (and don't get me started on their shifting of Jazz Record Requests around the radio schedule).

No comments:

Post a Comment