CBBC Memories – Artifax.

Artifax (CBBC, 1991-1993)

This is a CBBC show from the early-90s, and unlike Hart Beat which mostly focused on art, this one covered an area a little wider, looking at design and technology as a whole. Artifax was described by Radio Times as “the style and design magazine”. Among the hosts was Margot Wilson, who also used to be one of the hosts of Hart Beat.

Artifax had a memorable opening sequence, which consisted of shape things floating around a maze (not very well described I know), and every week there would be features in the studio, along with location reports explaining more about how things worked and were created in areas such as art and clothes, and why styles constantly changed and went in and out of fashion.

These included a look at computer games and how they were made, and also debated things like what kind of market various games should be aimed at. Is there anybody out there who wants an Atari Lynx? And there would also be a look at the Top Ten games on the scene, including Sonic The Hedgehog 2, and of course this was accompanied by the Top Of The Pops theme.

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There were also surveys that viewers could take part in, because their views really mattered, honest. And also featuring were some celebrities who would tell us about a particular item that meant something special to them. There were three series of Artifax, and there were repeat runs in a summer morning slot until 1994, but there is no Wikipedia entry.

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This show reminds me of something else. As you might know by now, I didn’t keep many magazines from when I was younger, much to my frustration, but a while ago while looking through an old box I found a magazine from 1996 called 10 15, which came with The Times every Saturday, and was aimed at younger readers (and at that time I was in that age group).

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This featured articles on music, sport, animals, and so on, whatever fancy things people that age would be interested in, and I noticed that the editor of this was Margot Wilson, so I presume that’s what she ended up doing after Artifax ended. And on the back cover there’s a poster of characters in a cartoon called Santo Bugito that I have no memory of watching at the time, how fantastic.

5 thoughts on “CBBC Memories – Artifax.

  1. Des Elmes says:

    TOTP Year Zero presenter Adrian Rose – who we should be seeing on BBC4 fairly soon, assuming no skeletons have come out of his cupboard – was the lead host of Artifax’s second series in ’92.

    It probably wasn’t a coincidence that he’d left TOTP by this point – and it probably wasn’t a coincidence either that “Now Get Out of That”, the TOTP theme of the time, was the accompaniment to the Top 10 computer game countdown.


      • Des Elmes says:

        I should have said, “assuming no skeletons have come out of his cupboard *and* he hasn’t said no like Mike Smith”…

        When one discovers his CV since TOTP and Artifax – in particular, ten years at Celador, including playing a pretty big role in making WWTBAM such a success worldwide – and that he also changed his surname along the way, one *can* understand to some extent why he might prefer that the BBC does not repeat his Pops episodes.

        While his wish has to be respected, it’s still pretty disappointing when all the other surviving Year Zero presenters *are* happy for the Beeb to repeat *their* eps, as is the estate of Steve Anderson (who sadly passed away in 2012).


  2. Michael says:

    Oh, there’s Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the SEGA Mega Drive which appears in the screencap of Artifax. I bet that game was released on 24th November 1992 in both Europe and the USA which was known as Sonic 2sday, although it was released in Japan on 21st November of that year.

    When this game is also locked on to the Sonic & Knuckles cartridge, it becomes Knuckles the Echidna in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 which features Knuckles as a playable character.

    There’s also a 2013 remastered version of that game which was developed by Christian Whitehead and Simon Thomley for iOS and Android, following their remastered digital re-releases of Sonic the Hedgehog CD and Sonic the Hedgehog; and was published by Sega in late 2013, (Whitehead and Thomley would also go on to develop Sonic Mania which was released in 2017 with an expanded re-release version called Sonic Mania Plus being released the following year as well). The 2013 remastered version of Sonic 2 features Sonic, Tails and Knuckles and also features Hidden Palace Zone being restored and included as a scrapped zone during the development of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and it also comes with its own original boss and new enemies.

    Sonic 2 is also set to be released as part of a new 2022 Sonic compilation called Sonic Origins alongside Sonic 1, Sonic CD and Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Also of note, Sonic social media manager Katie Chrzanowski (who took over as the coordinator from Aaron Webber in March 2019 which was three years ago) even hopes that there might be more news on that compilation game soon and also has confirmed that Sonic 3 & Knuckles will be in 16:9 widescreen when this game is released as part of the 2022 compilation along with Sonic 1, Sonic 2 and Sonic CD.



    • Des Elmes says:

      …Is Sonic 2 your favourite video game of all time? (It’s one of *my* faves, anyway.) 😉

      And with the greatest of respect in the world, you really don’t have to say that you *bet* it was released on 24 November ’92 in Europe and the USA, because it was indeed released in these markets on that date (and it was indeed released in Japan three days earlier).


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