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TVARK – The Online Television Museum
New TV ARK Logo.svg
TVARK Homepage 2011.png
TVARK's former homepage from 2006 to 2017
Type of site
Sound, video and image archive
Founder(s)Steve Hackett
Launched8 November 1998; 23 years ago (1998-11-08)
Current statusActive

TVARK is an online archival website of images, sound and video clips illustrating British television presentation history.[1] Content includes idents, programme promotions, title sequences, public information films, commercials, daily start-ups and closedowns, break bumpers and station clocks.[2][3] 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, plus Channel 4/S4C, Channel 5, various British Sky Broadcasting (formerly Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting) networks, and a few other digital, satellite and cable channels. Programme clips are grouped into genres such as quiz shows, fundraising events and imported shows.

This website is dedicated to the founder's late mother, Valerie Hackett.[4]


Television Ark was founded in the dial-up era on 8 November 1998, as a one-man hobby site 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, 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.

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, as well as 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 Adobe Flash streaming in H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, and the service called TVARK Interactive will include user accounts commenting on video statistics.

Since mid-2016, updates have ceased on the site. However, its social media pages (notably Facebook and Twitter) 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 entire rest of the decade. According to a message on the TVARK home page, the team were aiming to launch the new site "as soon as possible".

On 8 November 2019, TVARK announced that they would relaunch on 19 January 2020, this new version of the website will contain more adverts, programmes, British and international channels along with all videos previously on this site. The new website also has new and recaptured footage, adverts and intros of programmes. Shortly after the soft relaunch on 19 January of that year, the website went down due to connection error issues citing "overwhelming demand" and would officially relaunch shortly after TVARK posted an update stating their website's tech head found the connection issues that their staff were working to fix the issue quickly, and the site reappeared on 25 January. TVARK also stated on Twitter that while their site is in the Beta stage, their site could experience minor interruptions and brief outages during the Beta period.

The original website,, is back up, but only the welcome screen is available.

Submitting material

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

Formats accepted by TVARK (in alphabetical order): [5]

Reviews and awards


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, however the forums were removed earlier than planned on 18 December of that year.[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 that same year (30 July) 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.


Following the major relaunch in January 2020, TVARK is divided into many sections that each cover programming, idents and presentation and other aspects of television:

  • Branding – covers all presentation used for television channels in both British and international.
  • News – covers major events, weather forecasts, various election coverages, and also feature intros to regional and international news programmes following the relaunch.
  • Programmes – covers titles and credits over diverse genres in alphabetical order.
  • Features – covers podcasts, adverts, public information films, mistakes, test cards, motion graphics, studios/buildings, "just for fun" (such as mocks) and other memorabilia used by private collectors.
  • Talent – covers presenters, actors, graphic/set designers, composers, editors, writers, producers and directors.
  • SPARK – covers the site's very own retro teletext service. Content includes reviews of current television, the quiz game Befuddle!, opinion articles and its own weekly text soap Rex Road.
  • More TVARK – covers about us, what's new, terms and conditions, privacy policy, contact us, contribute FAQ, most wanted and links from other websites.

See also


  1. ^ Brooker, Charlie (1 April 2006). "Charlie Brooker's screen burn". The Guardian. London.
  2. ^ Dee, Johnny (26 July 2008). "Internet preview: TV Ark". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 May 2010.
  3. ^ "WEBSITE OF THE DAY -". Pocket Lint.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-03. Retrieved 2016-03-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "TVARK > More TVARK > Contribute FAQ". Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  6. ^

External links

This page was last edited on 2 November 2021, at 22:11
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