On this page, a quick look at a few of the idents that have been used on Channel 4 and S4C over the years.
We also have pages of idents from BBC1, BBC2, BBC3/Choice, BBC4/Knowledge, CBBC and UKTV, and regional ITV idents. If you want to explore the subject of television presentation in greater depth, see our links page for related sites.
Channel 4 opened on 2nd November 1982 from transmitters in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland (though it took around five years to achieve universal coverage). The launch ident is one of the best-known in British television, and, although it wasn't the first graphical ident, it was much more sophisticated than BBC2's symbol. The ident was accompanied by the channel's theme, 'Fourscore', composed by David Dundas.
The multi-coloured '4' lasted until October 1996, when it was replaced by a set of idents each featuring four circles, with the '4' placed inside one of the circles. This was in turn replaced at Easter 1999 with idents consisting of a series of vertical blinds moving from left to right across the screen (not shown here).
On New Year's Eve 2004 Channel 4 introduced an ingenious series of idents, where the '4' appears made up from scenes of everyday life. The symbol can be seen fully formed only momentarily in each ident - blink and you miss it!
In September 2015, Channel 4 launched new idents that were frankly too esoteric for their own good. The famous '4' now didn't even appear at all - instead elements of the symbol was seen deconstructed in various scenarios.
Two years later, the blocks were reassembled into a giant character for a set of amusing new idents, three of which are shown here. The character can be seen getting up to mischief in various scenarios - playing football in the street with the local kids, struggling to keep up with wheelchair cyclists, and walking to the top of a hill and bellowing the 'Fourscore' theme at a nearby town at high volume! The danger of these sorts of idents, especially with the set only consisting of a small number of them, is that the joke can wear thin on repeated viewings.
Since the introduction of digital television, Channel 4 has launched a number of spin-off channels, including E4 in January 2001 ('Channel 4 without the boring bits') and More4 in October 2005 ('Channel 4 without the silly bits'). The idents shown here date from the mid-2000s, when E4 had its very own kitsch band, who could be seen playing in all sorts of odd locations; More4, meanwhile, used a set of purely graphical idents.
In July 2012 4seven was launched, which shows all the same programmes as Channel 4, just in a different order. The clever idents are reminiscent of those used by the main channel at the time.
One day before the start of Channel 4, Wales received its own fourth channel. S4C (Sianel Pedar Cymru) took the Welsh language output from BBC1 and HTV, with English-language programmes from Channel 4 filling up the rest of the schedule. When digital television started in 1998, it was possible for Welsh viewers to receive the full Channel 4 service for the first time, so a fully Welsh-language version of S4C was introduced - S4C Digidol. The bilingual S4C service ceased in 2010 upon the demise of analogue television in Wales, and all viewers could now receive both the Welsh-language S4C and English-language Channel 4.
With the BBC producing some of S4C's programming, and now some providing some of its funding, S4C is the only non-BBC channel to be available on BBC iPlayer.
Here are three idents from S4C, dating from the late 80s, late 90s, and 2019.