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TVARK - The Online Television Museum
New TV ARK Logo.svg
TVARK Homepage 2011.png
TVARK's former homepage.
Type of site
Sound & Video Archive
Founder(s)Steve Hackett
Alexa rankPositive decrease 304,691 (April 2014)[1]
Launched8 November 1998
Current statusUnder construction (as of April 2019)

TVARK is a website that archives images, sound and video clips which illustrate British television presentation history.[2] Content includes idents, programme promotions, opening title sequences, public information films, commercials, daily start-ups and closedowns, break bumpers and station clocks.[3][4] Each item has a short written analysis.

The selection of clips represents the work of many broadcasting and production companies, principally the national and regional divisions of the BBC and ITV, and Channel 4, Channel 5, various Sky channels, and a few other satellite channels. Programme clips are grouped into genres such as soaps, game shows, quiz shows, comedy, drama and cult. Files are now available in the Adobe Flash format.


TVARK was founded in the dial-up era, as a one-man hobby site called "Television Ark" on 8 November 1998. At that time, there were just a few pages containing a handful of low-resolution clips that were easy to download but were smaller to look at than an average postage stamp. Over the years, the clips and images grew in size and quantity. The site expanded and was run entirely as a hobby by an eight-man team, with updates and additions made whenever time permitted. In December 2005, they absorbed the remains of, a website dedicated to television programming for schools. The site is dedicated to the founder's late mother, Valerie Hackett.[5]

During the summer of 2006, it was announced on their home page that they were having a summer break and would relaunch the site in the future. Unfortunately, higher resolution copies of previous clips were never made. The site relaunched on 25 December 2006 with very limited content. The relaunch saw a few better quality clips put into a new download system in an effort to prevent hotlinking and preserve bandwidth. This proved very unpopular as clips took much longer to view, especially for those with slower Internet connections. In addition, the relaunch saw the addition of a semi-transparent watermark (DOG) to new clips added to the site, in order to discourage "web snatching" of clips. Despite this, clips from TVARK have appeared on other sites, notably YouTube.

In July 2009, TVARK announced the end of RealMedia used on the site, with videos now using Flash streaming in H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. The service called TVARK iNTERACTIVE will include user accounts, commenting on videos and video statistics.

It has a sister website called TV Whirl.


It was decided in late December 2005 by TVARK's owners to close its forums. The forum was originally scheduled to close on 31 December 2005, however the forums were removed earlier than planned on 18 December 2005.[6] A new forum, The TV Lounge, was set up by the former forum staff as a separate venture. This forum closed in early 2007, and was replaced by "The TV Shelter", which had most of the members from both its predecessors.

The TV Shelter closed on 8 April 2014, but remains open to visitors and past members as an archive. Another new forum, "The TV Lounge", was established on 30 July 2014 as an initial collaboration with two former members of The TV Shelter. The name was intended as a tribute to the community's heritage.

Since the closure of the TVARK forums, TVARK continues to operate as before, with a new guest book being established in its place.

Current status[edit]

Since mid-2016, updates have ceased on the site. However, its social media pages, notably Facebook, are being regularly updated with new material, with the site itself being offline starting in March 2017 for the preparation of a "brand new website". The site originally stated it would return "later in 2017". However, subsequent delays had continued to push back the launch date of the new site, resulting in the site being offline for the rest of 2017 and the entirety of 2018. According to a message on the TVARK home page, the team are aiming to launch the new site in the summer of 2019.

Sections and content[edit]

TVARK is divided into many sections that each cover programming, idents and presentation and other aspects of television.

Channel-specific pages cover a range of current and former channels from broadcasters including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky and BSB, as well as international television stations and defunct early stations such as those offered by Sheffield Cablevision, Mirrorvision, Première, Rediffusion Cablevision, Music Box, and Worldnet.

News, sport and weather[edit]

The TVARK sections for news, sport and weather cover a variety of different channels. The News section contains titles and presentation for a number of different sources, and features clips from coverage of major events. The Sports section includes detailed insight into presentation, programmes and coverage of sporting events, and the Weather sections has videos and images of forecasts and of weather graphics including national and regional forecasts as well as forecasts from other International sources and some other channels.


The TVARK schools section contains information on various schools programming blocks and their looks, and also includes Open University continuity as well as presentation from the BBC Learning Zone strand. The section also includes the titles to many of the programmes shown in these sections.

Adverts and public information films[edit]

TVARK includes a wide variety of adverts in its Adverts section from both national and regional sources. There are some included from all areas of the alphabet and from all regions of the UK, via the ITV companies. The section is constantly updated and is full of all examples from all eras.

The Public Information Films (PIFs) section is also quite comprehensive with many examples of the PIFs played out to inform people, such as personal safety, drink driving, strangers and among others.

Endboards, Testcards & Teletext and Mistakes[edit]

The Endboards section details how endboards were originally shown: a piece of card on a stand in front of a camera. Some of these original endboards have been obtained from a personal collection, and these endboards are shown here as well as their messages of gratitude.

The Testcards and Teletext pages shows both a number of Testcards in both 4:3 and 16:9 format from national, regional and international sources, and Teletext pages from Ceefax, Oracle and Teletext itself. It also includes videos and slideshows of various pages, as well as promotions for the service and includes clips from programmes such as 'Pages from Ceefax'.

The Mistakes section shows videos of breakdowns, their captions and music, studio problems such as exploding lightbulbs and powercuts, and other such problems such as failing, or wrong video features and failed opt outs.

Programme genre pages[edit]

The programme genre pages contain titles for programmes of that specific genre from all channels, however frequently from the UK originating channels only. The programme genre pages are Chat Shows, Children's Television, Comedy, Drama, Gameshows, Imports, Music and Soaps. The Cult section is similar, however is for all the titles from Cult series, such as Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, Gerry Anderson series.

Presenters and miscellaneous[edit]

The presenter section of TVARK features all of the presenters they can find in their clips and attempts to detail where they are now and where they were in their career. It is currently incomplete due to the sheer number included in the section.

The Miscellaneous sections includes all of the videos related to the main broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky) that fit in no one section. The BBC sub category mainly includes some of their flagship factual programming, such as Horizon and Arena that does not have a programme category. The ITV and Channel 4 sections includes IBA announcements and promos. The Sky section features other programmes and EPG pictures. There is also a Quantel Paintbox showreel in the Other section.

Submitting material[edit]

The organisers accept tapes of vintage television presentation through the post.

Formats accepted by TVARK

Reviews and awards[edit]

  • Wanadoo (Summer 2004): Ten of Best (4)
  • WebUser (May 2004): Number 4 (Wallow in TV nostalgia)
  • TV Cream (April 2004): TV Cream's Top 50 Media Movers & Shakers (48)
  • BBC Somerset Sound: Discussing TVARK (Rating 5/5)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  2. ^ Brooker, Charlie (1 April 2006). "Charlie Brooker's screen burn". London: The Guardian.
  3. ^ Dee, Johnny (26 July 2008). "Internet preview: TV Ark". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
  4. ^ "WEBSITE OF THE DAY -". Pocket Lint.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-03. Retrieved 2016-03-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ [1]

External links[edit]