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.

3 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).


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