MHPNews Update

The very latest news for MHP viewers. If you have an item that you think should be included here, please email it to

BBC 1 PDC and Regional Ceefax

Updated 9 Nov 97

BBC1 is now broadcasting PDC signals, which enables your video to cope with programmes that start late or overrun. Ceefax P697 has been updated to reflect the new service, which like BBC2 is still classed as "experimental". The new service started on Thursday 6th November and has been a long time arriving. Initially this Ceefax page predicted the start of the BBC1 service in Spring 1996. This changed to Summer, Autumn, "soon" before finally giving up predicting altogether. Still, better late than never.

The BBC are also rehearsing local news input into Ceefax from some regions. A full local news service, possibly on P160, is due "soon". We shall wait and see on this one, regional Ceefax was originally promised for Autumn 1989!

Ceefax P697 - PDC Information


BBC News 24

Updated 9 Nov 97

BBC News 24 Ident BBC News 24 is a new 24 hour rolling news programme from the BBC. Funded from the licence fee, it will be available to analogue cable subscribers in the UK, and will also be seen overnight on BBC1. It is free to air and commercial free and will take in the resources of BBC News gathering to present a UK oriented news service. It will not be available on satellite, or overseas but will be available on Digital Terrestrial Television, whenever that gets off the ground.

BBC News 24 Theme (courtesy of Neil Barrett)

The service launched officially at 5.30pm on 9th November, for the country's 2 million cable viewers. BBC1 will take as an overnight filler from midnight. This means the end of Test Card F and Pages from Ceefax which have been seen before the start of programmes since 1983. They were broadcast for the final time on BBC1 from 06:50 Sunday morning. With BBC2 running 24 hours a day for 5 days a week, the death of the terrestrial Test Card cannot be far away.

Analogue cable viewers have seen a pre-launch service for a week or more, including live news but also a lot of trails and promo films. Some technical difficulties have been seen during the pre-launch period.

BBC News 24 Studio
BBC News 24 Gallery The studio and newsroom all co-exist in room 2524 at the BBC Television Centre with a separate control gallery overseeing the output. Full rehearsals have been taking place for some weeks, as the new channel prepares to launch.

As can be seen above, the design and style of the new newsroom are somewhat different to the normal BBC news presentation, and the new service will have a more informal and "American" feel, whilst still retaining the authority and integrity of the BBC. (is all that possible?)

Launch director Mike Kavanagh has the job of ensuring that all the preparations go according to plan and that the service launches successfully. The new service uses a new computerised production system that allows journalists to pull in video and other resources, producing a full package that can then go live to air. There appear to have been problems getting the various components to talk to each other, as well as removing the Americanisation that the software has built in - particularly the pronunciation helper. Mike Kavanagh, BBC News 24 Launch Director

We would be grateful if any cable-enabled viewers could grab some of the launch pictures or any pre-launch test cards or captions that might be shown.

MHPNews Update Index
Last Update 29 Mar 2000