Add to

digitiser? biffovision? ... the tv show?

Written: 04:47 on January 28, 2007  |  By: liam  |  MORE…
I doubt anyone under the age of 18 and anyone outside the UK has heard of Teletext when I was young it was the hip thing - like the internet except the only way to respond to it was by post or phoning a premium rate number. It was full of bright pixels of colour and information aplenty just by dialing a three digit number on your TV after locating the secret broadcast sent down the TV signal. It was what the reveal button was invented for and the reason kids it is on your TV remote - it's not for clearing censors on porn as I swear some kid had said on a forum recently.

OK I know Teletext still exists at a button press and I know people know it is there but I can't imagine that with the Internet existing and with Digital TV it's get the same traffic it used to when I was young - especially considering digital TV gives you subtitles at a button and now and next on command. Which must have been the most popular uses for Teletext. I'm so old I remember when Fasttext was introduced, I couldn't wait to get my hands on a TV that could do that imagine going to my favourite Teletext pages with only one push of a button - think of how much easier it made Bamboozle. My most fond memory of Teletext was Digitiser which I read every morning for about 10 years while eating Pop Tarts and watching Big Breakfast.

Digitiser or Digi as I will probably type a few times, for those who don't know, was a computer game "magazine" on Teletext which was updated daily. The presented computer game news in a hilarious, offbeat, satirical, surreal way that was so unique it's kind of hard to describe it to people who didn't read it. News stories were hosted by a range of characters, one such was a Zombie (Zombie Dave) that spoke in a code that once you decrypted it because obviously clear he was speaking some pretty crude things - which of course was hilarious. There would be cartoons scattered all over the pages, especially the letter pages, which were usually the highlight of the update. You can never forget the Snakes or the Man and I'm sure they pre-empted the Internet's love for Mr. T by a number of years. Actually they got in trouble quite regularly with the Channel 4 Directors and people in charge of Teletext for being too crude and pushing the limit too far and everyone loves a rebel.

It's pretty clear now that where now we have Internet Memes from 4chan, ytmnd, b3ta, fark, et al. Digitiser was doing the exactly same thing just in a more confined environment. I know at the time out of my friends the ones that read Digitiser would almost talk in a secret code to each other about the recent updates from "reversible sledgewicks", describing something as "huss" to "moc-moc-a-moc" or adding -uss, -O, -ston, -Oh! and -me-do to any word and then ending passages with just "And!" it would leave the rest of my friends in complete confusion. Their loss. And!

There is far too much stuff for me to ever go through and the good thing is I don't have too because the Internet has achieved it all for me:

The point is; it was awesome and played a big part in why I got into computer games and also made me feel part of an incredibly elite (read pathetic) club. If you got a letter printed it was amazing, hell me and friend got them to draw Yoda once and I remember trying to record it onto VHS and actually just got some of Brookside.

And, I started to ramble on again. The reason I decided to write this was because even though Digi maybe dead the people who created it and ran the thing are not. Mr. Biffo and Mr. Hairs were the two people who started it however after a time it was just Mr. Biffo. Who after a while realised he was a good writer (with a tiny space for text he managed to fill it with humour and subject matter effectively - me being a history student means I do the opposite - I just keep writing on and on with no humour - so being concise is a talent) so he has moved onto TV writing in the past he contributed a lot to kids TV specifically My Parents are Aliens which was wonderful. He also writes a monthly column for Edge magazine.

He has a blog like most people in the world and what started all this is I was catching up on my bookmarked blogs that I haven't read for a while. I knew he was working on a sitcom "Now The Weather" for Channel 4 and I wanted to see where it was going. But I was hit upon with wonderful news. BBC3 have commissioned a pilot for a TV show written by Mr. Biffo and Mr. Hairs called "Biffovision" which is some sort of odd sketch show which sounds like it's more or less a live action version of Digitiser without Computer Games… which is just exactly what I want out of TV. So I'm very excited and I hope someone else is too. He has constantly updated his blog about this and I'm sure he will keep doing that so go over there keep checking it, also the pilot is scheduled for March. So woo!

He also has a book coming out about his conversations in chatrooms with men when he was pretending to be a woman called Confessions of a Chatroom Freak or you can get it from Amazon but it doesn't have a picture so I didn't want to link that one. I'll definitely buy it when it's released I also hope other people will and I hope everyone enjoys.

And so ends an impromptu ramble about Teletext, Digi and beyond.


We love comments at dovka. In fact, we take these comments and put them into a big stew. They're so full of internetty goodness that they keep us full up until lunchtime.

leave a comment

19 + 19
Saving... Comments can take up to 10 seconds to post due to spam checking.
Samriddhi Dastidar at 10:13 on March 13, 2007
Biffovision sounds good
Vraaaaak! at 10:18 on March 26, 2007
Homfrussss. Huss-me do!
Chris at 12:40 on March 29, 2007
I saw the Biffovision pilot on the telly the other day (or rather, I SkyPlus-ed it because it was on in the middle of the night). It was very good considering it's only a pilot. God bless you for writing about it, sir, thus causing your blog post to be the third hit on Google when you search for "Biffovision".

What is dovka?

this is a group blog run by a group of irc zealots, the prefabricators; each is a member of an exclusive irc channel on phrenzy.


here's a list of destinations that are worth visiting…


we talk about a range of stuff here at dovka:


always dedicated to the cause, the prefabricators microblog whilst out exploring the real world…

  • anthony: Does not really enjoy the TV choice in Emergency. — 6 am
  • liam: take it back and recast james callis as the new doctor. — 59 HRS AGO
  • liam: my lips seem to have developed a lifeform — 251 HRS AGO
  • anthony: waiting for work to be done. — 306 HRS AGO
  • anthony: wishes Christmas vacation started now. — 329 HRS AGO
  • liam: I would be happy if my body temperature would stop fluctuating between ~106F and ~ -3C. — 352 HRS AGO

dig through our monthly archives and find old relics:

RSS Feed for this page
Add to Technorati Favorites