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Testing, testing.

I had the telly on late a few nights ago. The picture suddenly went to blue screen of death. After about 30 seconds, this was replaced by the test card

I haven't seen the test card in years. I didn't think they used it any more, even when there was a technical hitch. I remember seeing this in the afternoons, when BBC2 (and I think BBC1) closed down for about three-four hours. It would also be on at night, when broadcasting finished around midnight. I always thought the clown doll was nasty, and certainly wouldn't have liked it in my bedroom. Time hasn't improved my opinion of it.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
14th Jan, 2008 03:16 (UTC)
I take you haven't seen Life on Mars in which creepy test card girl appeared in Sam Tyler's nightmares.
14th Jan, 2008 10:46 (UTC)
I have seen 'Life on Mars'. I never thought the girl herself particularly creepy until then, but I *never* liked that clown doll,
14th Jan, 2008 19:29 (UTC)
She was creepy in LoM! But yes, that clown doll is much worse.
15th Jan, 2008 03:27 (UTC)
Apparently it's called Bubbles.

Not what I'd have called it...
14th Jan, 2008 15:11 (UTC)
yikes, that brings back some memories.
14th Jan, 2008 16:50 (UTC)
Isn't it odd that we have distinct memories of the test card, of all things ? It was a placeholder - we weren't meant to sit and look at it, just to take it as a sign to tune in again later, or change channels. Yet it's become a cult/nostalgia icon. I wonder if there's a T-shirt with it on ? I wouldn't be surprised if there was.
14th Jan, 2008 23:36 (UTC)
Theirs a hidden Testcard on the BBCi channel on Freeview, i have no idea how the original person found it, but here goes...

You can display the test card on any reasonably new Freeview receiver
using the following steps. Note that some older set top boxes do not
fully conform with the specifications and may be unable to access this

1. Tune to the BBCi channel (currently ch. 105)
2. When the BBCi background appears, press Yellow (within 30 secs)
3. Tune away to a different channel
4. Tune back to the BBCi channel (currently ch. 105)
5. When the BBCi background appears, press Green (within 30 secs)
The word 'Secret' will appear in the top right hand corner
6. Wait until the status page appears
7. Enter 3, 3, 5, 8, 2, Red, Green, Yellow, Blue
(note "33582" spells out the word "DELTA" on a mobile phone keypad)
8. Wait approximately 30 seconds
Test card W will appear

and the info on the new test card (actually J) can be found at
15th Jan, 2008 00:25 (UTC)
Well, I didn't understand the technobabble, but that's still an interesting article, thanks.

I was wondering why they still use that 40 year old picture, and found a good explanation here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1282160.stm - an entertaining article. Comments also included a link to the test card as a screensaver - though not a t-shirt.

I have a new Freeview box, so next time I'm bored, I may even try that sequence to bring up the test card.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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