On this page, we look at idents and continuity from Children's BBC as a strand on BBC1/2, and from the CBBC and CBeebies channels. We also have pages looking at idents from BBC1, BBC2, BBC3/BBC Choice, BBC4/BBC Knowledge, UKTV, schools television, and a page of ITV idents from the days of regional television.
Up to, and including, the early 1980s, there was little to differentiate children's presentation on BBC1 from adult output, save the use of specially designed programme slides and menus. Then from around the start of 1984 a series of BBC Micro computer cartoons were used in addition to the BBC1 globe to introduce programmes - these were still voiced by the usual BBC announcers.
The term 'Children's BBC' was first used in September 1985, when in-vision continuity with Phillip Schofield was introduced. The cramped BBC1 continuity booth in which he introduced the afternoon's programmes eventually became known as the 'Broom Cupboard'. Phillip was succeeded by Andy Crane in 1987; he in turn was replaced by Andi Peters in 1990, and then Toby Anstis in 1993. For much more on this era of Children's BBC presentation, visit The Broom Cupboard (external site).
The first Children's BBC ident was a very basic affair, again produced on a BBC Micro. The word 'Children's' originally appeared at the bottom of the screen before moving to the top; later on, the background changed from black to blue. A new animated version of the ident was introduced in 1987 (not shown here) which was then replaced in 1989 by an ident generated by an Acorn Archimedes computer.
In the autumn of 1991, a new ident was launched, which fitted into the new BBC corporate style as seen on BBC1 and BBC2 since earlier that year, and used a similar smoky background to that seen on the new BBC1 globe. The musical jingle that accompanied this ident from 1992 onwards ended with the phrase 'tell that aardvark it's a wrap', which may have been the inspiration for future CBBC puppet Otis the Aardvark!
The end of an era came in September 1994 when Children's BBC was forced to move out of the Broom Cupboard and up the corridor into Presentation Studio A. The change saw the launch of a new version of the ident. Also shown here is a yellow variant from the CBBC Breakfast Show on BBC2.
Following Toby Anstis's departure in 1995, a variety of presenters linked children's programmes, including Zoe Ball, Simeon Courtie, Kirsten O'Brien, Chris Jarvis, Ana Boulter, Josie D'Arby, Steve Wilson, Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood.
In 1997 Children's BBC moved home again, to Studio TC9 (formerly the make-up store) at Television Centre, which opened up into the Blue Peter garden. Shortly afterwards, in the all-encompassing BBC revamp of October 1997, Children's BBC officially became CBBC (though the abbreviation had been used informally for some years), and a series of simple, but witty, animations were introduced across BBC1 and BBC2, using the appropriate logotype for each channel.
On 1st December 1999 the CBBC on Choice strand was introduced on BBC Choice - the idents were the same, but simply used a 'CBBC' logotype. (There had previously been a Saturday afternoon strand titled CBBC Choice, which had its own set of idents). Michael Underwood was originally the sole presenter of CBBC on Choice, before Adrian Dickson, seen here, took over.
In September 2001 CBBC continuity, which up till now had steadfastly remained in 4:3, switched to 16:9. The idents remained from 1997, but were re-cut, speeded up and converted to widescreen.
These changes were a short term measure - as on 11th February 2002 CBBC relaunched with a whole new look and the start of two new digital channels - CBeebies for pre-school children, and the CBBC channel for 6-13 year olds. Children's presentation on BBC1 in the afternoons and BBC2 in the mornings also took on this new look and used the same branding.
Both channels used the theme of blobs in their presentation - doesn't the pink-and-yellow blobby theme on this CBeebies ident remind you of a certain star of Saturday night television? CBeebies continuity was pre-recorded and originally came from the oddly-named Studio TC0; seen here are Chris Jarvis (who returned after presenting Children's BBC in the mid 90s) and Pui Fan Lee (aka Teletubby Po).
CBBC's blobs were green, and somewhat less cutesy. Continuity for the CBBC channel originally came from Studio TC2, moving to TC9 in 2004, with CBBC on BBC1 and BBC2 moving from TC9 to TC10. Michael 'Abs' Absalom and Ortis Deley are the presenters seen here. Others included Richard McCourt and Dominic Wood, who returned to present in the CBBC studio until they landed their own show in August 2002, Dick and Dom in da Bungalow.
During term time CBBC included a segment of schools programming, known as Class TV - see our Schools page for more.
The blobs theme was revised in October 2005, with a more 3D-type blob whizzing round the screen. In December 2006 it was goodbye to the traditional studio set, along with some of the presenters, as CBBC presentation moved to Studio TC12 and a much smaller 'virtual' set with a fixed camera. Most links were now presented by either Gemma Hunt or Anne Foy.
An entirely new look to CBBC was introduced on 3rd September 2007, with a set of impressive new idents in which the four letters that make up the channel's name appeared in various wacky situations, some involving personalities from CBBC's programmes. Click here for more idents from this era.
On the same day a new presenter, Ed Petrie, joined to present in the 'CBBC Office' in what, at long last, was a return to more of a Broom Cupboard-style of presentation - maybe because the people who grew up with the Broom Cupboard were now running the BBC?! Subsequent presenters have included Iain Stirling, Chris Johnson, Katie Thistleton, Cel Spellman and Lauren Layfield. In 2011, CBBC continuity moved from Television Centre in London to MediaCity in Salford.
The idents were changed again in September 2014, but retained the 2007 logo. A year later, CBBC celebrated its anniversary with a special hour-long programme reuniting presenters from the past thirty years.
In March 2016, shortly before the channel's hours were extended to run until 9pm, a brand new logo was introduced. This appeared in a new set of idents, some live action, others computer-animated, while the CBBC Office became known as CBBC HQ.
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
Text copyright © Robert Williams, images copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation