The Test Card Circle was formed in 1989 and in 2014 we celebrated twenty five years with composer and test card arranger Peter Hope / William Gardner. We have over 200 members spread across the UK and on to the Continent and produce a high-tech magazine in colour. The quarterly publication, of around 50 pages, includes a wide selection of articles on trade test and Ceefax memorabilia, information on where to find out about test card music, intervals, trade test colour films, Service Information, captions and other items of tv nostalgia. Our first issue was presented on BBC Breakfast Time in March 1990.
The TCC holds an annual convention each spring where up to half of our membership gather together in an attractive hotel in Herefordshire. It is the highlight of the year for anyone interested in library music and the test card, but there are also other social events organised by members in different parts of the country. Our patron is the distinguished radio and tv broadcaster John Ross-Barnard JP who compiled many of the trade test tape programmes for the BBC in the 1970’s. The legendary David Allan produced all the trade test music from the 1950’s until early 1970’s and we were fortunate to foster excellent relations with the late George Hersee, principal designer of the major British test cards and the father of Carole on test card F.
Our 2017 gathering provided the setting for the launch of a brand new 10inch vinyl record called Test Card Grooves where all the money raised in sales will be donated to Chichester Hospital Radio. The record has gone Global and is being played on various radio stations in the UK and abroad.
Also within our 28th anniversary celebrations we enjoyed a myriad of vintage tv from the highly acclaimed Kaleidoscope group which specialises in finding missing episodes of famous tv programmes.
For our twentieth anniversary in April 2009 we welcomed the star actor, Ron Chudley and his wife all the way from Canada. Ron starred in the 1962 Oscar winning trade test colour film The Home Made Car. Our souvenir journal to follow was a colour spectacle of photos and stories from the weekend which also saw us riding around the town of Leominster in two vintage Bullnose Morris motor cars.
In 2010 we celebrated our twenty-first birthday party with special guest, test card girl Carole Hersee and a film of her exclusive interview is available to members.
At our annual gathering in April 2011 the British Film Institute launched their new Blue-ray disc amidst a blaze of publicity with four films in HD quality, including Giuseppina, The Home Made Car and Skyhook - all Oscar winning James Hill productions.
A vast amount of work has gone into the research and documenting of this area of television not covered before and we have accomplished the task of archiving nearly all of the material used for television's trade test and teletext transmissions (the years 1969 to 1978 are often considered the finest in the collection). The majority of music is now in excellent digital quality and the test cards have been recreated authentically by specifically designed generators.
The trade test colour film collection comprises around 140 priceless glimpses of everyday life and we have managed to track down all but a handful. These films were transmitted until August 1973 during regular trade test transmissions on BBC 2.
Our members range from young to retired, from all walks of life and society - a widely spread fellowship where being a member is much more about forming new associations and socialising together rather than only building up personal collections.
There are new and lasting friendships to be made and many ways to hear and see your favorite material. As you may discover this can become quite addictive for those passionately devoted to the subject, but it should be stressed that being a member of the TCC does not automatically entitle members to the right to have any material to order. There are many outlets available and you will be guided to these through our magazine and elsewhere.
I hope we will meet you at some of our events, but if you are unable to attend, our quarterly colour magazine is a great way to keep in touch with all that is happening in the UK and beyond.
In a recently completed project all past issues of our magazines can now be purchased on CD-ROM for £10.
The Circle has its own internet website / chat room for members to share and exchange memories and current trade test practices on a daily basis. It’s a great way to keep in touch with others from a geographical distance and now a monthly internet radio show is hosted on-line for members and friends of the TCC. Details of this and all on-going events can be obtained through our quarterly magazine.
If you feel you would like to join the Test Card Circle then all you have to do is to send your remittance by cheque or postal order to the secretary at the address below and you will receive our latest magazines for the current year (from July) shortly afterwards.
Our website is updated regularly and you’ll find out more by clicking below: