On this page we look at presentation on the digital-only channel BBC3, along with its predecessor BBC Choice. Click here for a look in greater detail at the story of BBC digital television. We also have pages looking at idents from BBC1, BBC2, BBC4/BBC Knowledge, CBBC, UKTV, schools television, and a page of ITV idents from the days of regional television.
BBC Choice was launched on 23rd September 1998 and was the UK's first digital-only channel - and indeed began a week before digital television was even available to the public! Click here for a look at the channel's programming over its lifetime.
The original idents took the theme of 'choice of three'. Shown here are 'Heart', 'Mouse', 'Fan', 'Punch' and 'Trumpet'. 'Heart' was the ident that launched the channel; ITV bosses were none too pleased when they saw this ident, as their own 'hearts' branding device was just weeks away from launching!
During 2000 BBC Choice moved away from its original 'best of the BBC' schedule, and towards a youth entertainment format. Most notably, 30th May saw the launch of Choice's most successful show, Liquid News. And to reflect the change in emphasis, 24th July saw the introduction of these rather lurid new idents - but they seemed suspiciously familiar...
Another year - and another new set of idents. By now, BBC Choice was heading well down the road to transforming into the youth channel BBC3. So on 6th July 2001, the hearts were dumped, and replaced by three idents all featuring three playful orange boxes. The idents originally had a green background - this was changed to blue on 11th January 2002. The soundtrack was changed every so often, usually using a current dance hit.
From the start of December 2002, builders started ripping through the BBC Choice idents, revealing a set of large 3D letters spelling out the word 'THREE' that was apparently under construction. What could it all mean? Soon, all would become clear...
BBC Choice morphed into BBC3 on 9th February 2003. The idents featured a big blue 3D 'THREE', surrounded by a family of 'blobs', created by Aardman Animations. The audio for each ident came from the BBC's massive sound archive, taken out of context to provide the blobs' voices.
Click here for more idents from this era.
The blobs, probably BBC3's most popular feature, just made it to the channel's fifth birthday - but they met their demise only three days later. BBC3's revamp of 12th February 2008 was much more than a case of simply introducing a new set of graphics, however - this was an ambitious relaunch of the channel with a raft of new programming. The new idents featured little people living in a bizarre 'media world', and each featured a redesigned logo which fills with pink liquid.
At the start of this period there was a brief experiment with in-vision continuity, both from announcer Jose Vanders (see clips at the bottom of this page) and viewer-submitted videos.
We said goodbye to the little people on 1st October 2013, as BBC3 unveiled a new set of idents. They used musical-driven animations which were projected onto a physical structure.
With the imminent closure of BBC3 as a traditional channel and its move online, new idents were introduced on 4th January 2016, which featured a new logo. Rather than use a numeral or spell the word out, the channel's name was now represented by three vertical bars.
These idents were used for the final few weeks of the channel's broadcasts until the early hours of 31st March 2016.
BBC3 regained a presence on linear television on 4th March 2019, albeit merely as a late night strand on BBC1 three nights a week. A new ident was introduced to link into programmes in this strand.
From our YouTube channel, some BBC Choice idents from 2000, and BBC3 idents and in-vision continuity from 2008.
Click below for more idents:
If you want to explore the subject of television idents and continuity in greater depth, I recommend the following websites:
The Ident Gallery
The Ident Zone
The TV Room
625: Television Room
History of BBC Television Idents at Wikipedia
Text copyright © Robert Williams, images and video copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation