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noggin14,950 posts since 26 Jun 2001
The Intelfax service started at the beginning of 1996. I first got access to BBC World in December 1995, when pressing Text produced a "BBC World Text is coming soon" message.

Although there were full sections for sport and business, there was, for many years only a single news summary page on 101, containing three news stories - 1 paragraph each. The first two stories appeared on the 'News Headlines' section of the breakfiller.

Yes - I think that page was typed from a terminal in the BBC World Newsroom

In summer 2000, the Ceefax news service arrived on 102-124.

That matches my recollection.
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noggin14,950 posts since 26 Jun 2001
Thanks everyone, much appreciated!

I have a misty recollection of hearing the breakfillers used Macs, due to their media outputs? But that might be wrong.

Thanks again!

The BBC used Macs with broadcast video output cards for BBC Weather and a whole bunch of other uses, so it's entirely possible that a Mac was used to render the overlaid text (though similar cards were also available for PCs)

Macs didn't have suitable outputs as standard AFAIK at that point.
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itsrobert6,636 posts since 23 Mar 2001
Granada North West Today
I seem to recall that by 2002 when the technology hitherto used to generate the break filler was retired, they resorted to playing out the back-up version each and every break until the new dynamic junction came in around 2003/2004. As described above, during it's heyday the break filler was made up of neat 30" segments of news, business, sport, weather and coming up information, before resolving nicely to a neat musical conclusion. However, once the generic one was played out routinely, I seem to recall it used to be cut off rather abruptly if it was a short break duration. I think the full break filler was 3'00" but if the break was, say, 2'00" or less, it would just be cut off at that point. Personally, I think it was at its best in 2000/2001.
deejay3,012 posts since 5 Jan 2003
Central (South) Oxford
It was definitely a Mac that rendered the text. At one minute to each break, the automation (IBIS Landscape) would “stand up” the break. The Mac would go off and fetch data for Sport, Weather, News, Business and the schedule from teletext data. A laserdisc player would cue up the appropriate backing, and when it was all ready a thick white line would appear at the top of the output, which the network director could see on the preview screen in the pres gallery. If it didn’t appear, you generally had about thirty seconds to make sure your Aston menu was up to date and use that instead.

The breaks were constructed in 30” chunks, and it was generally something like Coming Up / News / Business / Sport / Coming Up. There were versions without Coming Up (for schedule changes or rolling news) and versions with weather (very rarely shown indeed!). If any of the data was out of date you could schedule a break of the same duration without the offending 30” segment, or (boss level network directing) you could mask that 30” live with your Aston coming up menu, leaving the music running. If the whole thing wasn’t working you could use a generic moving background for your break, and key the Aston coming up menu yourself (though most directors used a simple comp of Aston and static background).

It was pretty darn reliable too. The ABF’s use was curtailed in 2003 when the interfax teletext service ended and the BBC World teletext was just some news pages from Ceefax. I don’t think there was the data to support business, sport etc anymore. There was for a while a generic breakfiller, updated every month (December on BBC World type of thing) until the Dynamic Junction was ready.

The Dynamic Junction is a whole different story ... 😜

A weekend ABF from 1998, flags backings, no markets data on business and a short news summary and long programme at 1505.

1’05” into this clip, the generic flags backings for menus

2001 ABF, Weekday

2003 generic breakfiller “highlights in April”
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deejay3,012 posts since 5 Jan 2003
Central (South) Oxford
If you mean the black and white square top left, that’s the Cue Dot.

That’s added entirely manually by the pres director to warn that there’s a break coming. It went on at one minute to the break, and came off at 5 seconds before the break. Thus any partner station who was to insert local advertising into BBC World who had, for whatever reason, not got talkback at that point, would still know when the break was coming.

It was, generally speaking, just a backup. The automation generated pulses to trigger the breaks, plus a teletext type display which actually gave a schedule with break numbers, duration, on air time etc. The pres talkback with counts in and out of breaks, plus the cue dot provided a backup.
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deejay3,012 posts since 5 Jan 2003
Central (South) Oxford
Ah I see, no that was just the “break bumper”, nothing to do with the ABF, an entirely separate piece of video, played from laserdisc. The idea behind it was to separate the breaks from channel content proper, and ease the transition between anyone opting in and out for ads, especially if their timing wasn’t quite accurate.

BBC World Presentation was entirely tape based playout (with the exception of laserdisc for the Ident, break bumper and some other bits of branding) until around 2000 when it finally got a profile server. Even then, programmes and weather forecasts were still transmitted from tape, loaded individually by the network director into a stack of six Beta SP machines.

World presentation only moved to entirely server based transmission when it moved from TC to the Broadcast Centre in 2003/4.
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