CEEFAX was probably the last really good thing the BBC did, the director general has admitted.
Speaking to the Radio Times, Tony Hall said the embattled broadcaster needed to recapture the magic of soothing text-based pages that use very crude bits of animation to depict things like a dog wagging its tail.
He said: “The way I see it is this. Waking The Dead – shit. The One Show – shit. Call the Midwife, Hairy Bikers, The Dancing Thing – shit, shit, shit.
“Ceefax – fucking wicked.
“This afternoon I watched a pilot for a grisly cop drama with James Nesbitt and that ginger bird from Doctor Who. Apparently it cost about four hundred, maybe five hundred grand, something like that.
“There were lots of explosions, moody autopsies and a bit of tit, but all the time I’m thinking, ‘this is bollocks compared to Ceefax’.
“Ceefax haunts me, I tell you – it’s like Banquo’s ghost or something.
“It has this innate poetry, even when it’s just randomly-selected pages of puzzles, weather news and a children’s story about a space rocket trip with a spaniel called Robin. It all makes such perfect sense.
“Like a babbling brook on a sunny day, Ceefax is complete and beautiful, it asks nothing and expects nothing in return.
“Also, I’m sorry for using the phrase ‘Banquo’s ghost’ earlier because I know that 94% of you will have no idea what I’m talking about which means I have broken the credo of the television executive.
“And look, now I’ve used the word ‘credo’ and you’re all going ‘credo? what the fuck’s a credo when it’s at home?’.”
He added: “I don’t know… I saw an advert today – eighteen and a half grand to drive a bus. I might go for that. At least it’s something real, d’you know what I mean?”