Idents

BBC1 1997-2002

The BBC1 globe went off in an unexpected and imaginative new direction on 4th October 1997, in the form of a hot air balloon flying over various UK locations. Around sixty clips were made in all, along with a number of further versions for special occasions.

We start with the original set of balloon idents from 1997. Hover the pointer over each image for more information about the idents.

Idents filmed in England:



Idents filmed in Wales:



Idents filmed in Scotland:



Idents filmed in Northern Ireland:



More idents were introduced in autumn 1998 and throughout 1999 - unlike the originals, on these idents the balloon was digitally inserted into a filmed background.



This final set of new idents was introduced in March 2000. Known as the 'lifestyle' idents, they were mainly used during daytime hours.



The arrival of digital television in autumn 1998 enabled BBC1's idents to be shown in 16:9 widescreen for the first time.

In the spring of 2000, around 20 of the original balloon idents were withdrawn from network use. Shortly afterwards, those that remained had the BBC's website URL added above the channel logo, as shown below.

Idents filmed in England:



Idents filmed in Wales:



Idents filmed in Scotland:



Idents filmed in Northern Ireland:



Two compilations of video clips of the idents on this page, covering 1997-2000 and 2001-2002, can be found at our YouTube channel.


Stings/bumpers:


These additional clips featuring the balloon, lasting no more than a couple of seconds each, are what are often known as 'stings' or 'bumpers', and appeared in between trailers during junctions. They can be distinguished from the main idents by the smaller version of the channel logo at the bottom of the screen.


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