Idents

On this page we look at other elements of BBC television presentation besides idents - in-vision continuity, slides, trailers, menus, ECPs etc.

We also have pages looking at idents from BBC1, BBC2, BBC3/Choice, BBC4/Knowledge, CBBC and UKTV, and regional ITV idents. See the panel to the right for further menu options. See the bottom of the page for further menu options. If you want to explore the subject of television presentation in greater depth, see our links page for related sites.


In-vision continuity


In-vision announcers were a regular part of BBC presentation until the mid-1960s. On 6.30pm on 8th October 1960, the BBC unveiled a new presentation studio at the recently-opened Television Centre, and with it a new team of four announcers who would appear between programmes throughout the evening - Michael Aspel, Judith Chalmers, Kenneth Kendall and Nan Winton. Other announcers in the early 1960s included Valerie Singleton, Sheila Tracey, Anne Gregg, Valerie Pitts, June Imray (seen here) and Meryl O'Keeffe.

Despite two small studios being built at Television Centre for this purpose, one for BBC1, the other for BBC2, it was soon decided to phase out in-vision continuity, and announcers no longer appeared on screen from around 1965. In the years since, it has mostly been utilised in children's television, starting in 1985, although in the 1970s some regions used in-vision announcers at certain times whilst opting out of network continuity.

A little more recently, BBC Choice's Northern Ireland opt-out service used on-screen announcers around the turn of the century, with Jennie Browne seen here, while BBC3 experimented with it for a short period from February 2008, with Jose Vanders seen on screen in addition to the usual out-of-vision announcers - see some clips at the bottom of our BBC3 page. The Gaelic-language channel BBC Alba also used in-vision continuity at launch.


Slides


Static slides such as these were used during the 1960s on BBC television for a variety of purposes, often appearing after the end of programmes, being used for special annoucements, or to introduce a weather forecast, for example. Also shown here is a BBC1 slide from the late 1970s, using a stripy logo which appeared a great deal during BBC1 presentation at this time, even though it took until 1981 to appear on the globe and clock.

Slides for specific programmes were a regular part of BBC television presentation until the early part of the 21st century. They would be used to promote upcoming programmes, either on the same night or on another day, or to cross-promote the other channel. During daytime hours where there were sometime intervals between programmes, they might remain on screen for longer periods of time with music, with the addition of the words 'follows shortly'. This was particularly the case during schools programming. They were also used as holding slides during technical breakdowns.


The first example here, for Jackanory, dates from around 1971. The second, for Morecambe and Wise, uses an updated version of the BBC1 COLOUR logo. This design remained in use until 1976, when it was replaced with the layout seen in the next two images, featuring the striped version of the BBC1 logo at the top of the screen.

With the change of globe in 1985, the new-look slides featured the BBC1 logo on its side - these were computer-generated from around September 1988. From February 1991, slides used the new BBC1 logo, with images from the virtual globe down the side.


It is believed that BBC2 used pictorial slides instead of a channel ident between December 1967 and November 1969. We don't have a genuine example of one of these, but this mock-up indicates how an introductory slide for Morecambe and Wise might have looked. From the early 1970s onwards, BBC2 used full screen pictures on its programme slides, as seen on this example for Play School. The stripy '2' logo was introduced onto the channel's slides in 1978, the year before it became the channel ident.

The 'TWO' logo was introduced in 1986, appearing on a black rather than white background as per the ident. From early 1989, slides were generated by computer. The new-look slides introduced in February 1991 originally showed parts of the new BBC2 idents down the left-hand side of the picture, but in September 1992 this was changed to plain black.


In the all-encompassing revamp of the BBC's presentation in October 1997, there was no longer any differentiation between BBC1 and BBC2 slides - both the programme name and channel logo were placed centrally, in order to aid the transition to widescreen. The newly-launched UKTV and BBC digital-only channels would also use this same layout - on UKTV they were more frequently used to lead in and out of commercial breaks.


Since the start of the 21st century, sightings of static programme slides have become much rarer, and are now all but extinct. These are the designs of slides for BBC1 and BBC2 that have been used this century - the Holiday slide dating from the start of the 'Rhythm and Movement' era in March 2002, and a revamped style, seen here for Panorama, introduced in May 2004. The Jamie Theakston slide is from early in the circles era, in 2007.

For BBC2, the Science Shack slide is from the 'personality 2's era in 2001, and the others from the 'Window on the World' era around 2007. By this time, slides were used almost exclusively during schools and Sign Zone programming.


Static slides have always been exceptionally rare on the BBC's digital-only channels. These examples are for BBC Choice in 2002, BBC3 in 2005 and BBC4 in 2003 - the latter being possibly the only one I have ever seen on that channel!


Trailers


As part of the BBC's presentation revamp of February 1991, a standardised design layout for BBC trailers was brought in, with the programme title and time appearing at the end using the Futura font, along with the channel logo in the top left corner (from March 1993 the latter would remain on screen throughout the trailer). Up until this time, there had been no standard design, making use of any layout and fonts that the trailer producer felt like using.

They would, however, sometimes form part of a seasonal promotion, where trailers would be bookended with a short filmed or animated sequence. These were used particularly for the autumn and new year seasons of programming, but also at Christmas, Easter and during the summer months as well. The first two images shown here, used on a trailer for the comedy series Side by Side, are from 1992 and make use of a summer-themed sequence. Seasonal promotions outside of Christmas ceased around 1993, and the programme title and transmission time would now always appear over scenes of the programme itself.


From October 1997, the trailer design was almost identical to the design of programme slides, with the addition of day and time, and likewise would now be identical across all BBC and UKTV channels - though BBC Choice would break away in July 2001 when it introduced its new idents featuring three orange boxes.


Before long, the other channels also broke away with their own distinct trailer endboards - BBC1 using transparent white strips in March 2002, garish red shutters from May 2004, and red swirls from October 2006.


The trailer with a purple box for The Kumars at No 42 is from the start of the personality '2' era in November 2001. With the launch of BBC2's 'Window on the World' idents in February 2007, the trailer endboards would now feature scenes of the programme viewed through the '2'. The channel's revamp of its trailers in June 2009 drew much criticism for some unsuitably bright colour schemes - however this design would remain all the way until 2018, albeit with some amendments to the way the text was displayed in 2017.


BBC3 and BBC4 have regularly revamped their trailer endboards - these are various examples dating from throughout the 2000s and early 2010s.


These are the present style of trailer endboards. BBC1's are relatively little changed in the 'Oneness' era, with the logo moving to the bottom of the screen, a darker shade of red and the text appearing at a larger size, but in the same bespoke font as before. Since 2018, BBC2 has simply used its idents to link in and out of trailers, with the Reith font curiously animating between serif and non-serif versions. BBC4 also makes use of the serif version of the corporation's own font.


Menus


We start our look at menus with two of the static variety - a list of programmes read out by the continuity announcer, often shortly before a closedown or at the start of programmes. These examples from BBC2 come from February 1980 and March 1981 respectively.

Menus would also appear at the end of line-up trailers - where a whole evening's programmes would be promoted in one go. Here are two examples from BBC1, from December 1994 and July 1995.


The first image here is from the end of another Saturday line-up trailer, from October 2000. By this time, static menus read by the announcer were no longer regarded as able to grab viewer's attentions, and were now normally only being pressed into service to announce late schedule changes. That was the reason for the appearance of the second and third images here, both dating from 2001.


Another menu from a line-up trailer, dating from the start of BBC1's 'Rhythm and Movement' era in March 2002 - however this schedule did not go ahead as planned, and was replaced by the one shown in the middle. On the right, a static menu seen in January 2005 - this was not shown due to a schedule change, but presumably due to technical problems preventing the playing out of the normal trailers.


Two menus from BBC Choice from 1999, the first being of the type which appeared with music for around half-an-hour before the start of programmes, the second from BBC Choice Wales. Also shown here is a menu of just two programmes at the end of a trailer on BBC Knowledge, and a menu from the Learning Zone on BBC2.


Menus announcing schedule changes on BBC2 in March 2002, the opening night line-up on BBC4 from the same month, and from BBC3 in February 2003.

Menus are another part of presentation that has now almost entirely disappeared from our screens - trailers that promote a whole evening of programming are no longer used, and static menus read by the announcer have long since vanished.


Now/next/later


BBC2 introduced now/next/later menus as part of its presentation revamp in November 2001. They were introduced again at the channel's next update in February 2007, with two variants seen here, the first featuring one of the idents seen through the '2', the other which used clips of the featured programmes.


BBC3 sometimes used now/next/later captions in place of idents - these examples are from January 2007 and February 2008. Also shown here, a 'next' screen from BBC4 in 2005. Anyone fancy some battenburg?


With BBC's channel portfolio expanding, multi-channel menus began to be used from November 2002, promoting programmes on now across the network. The second example here dates from August 2004, and the third from December 2005. This type of caption was discontinued in 2007 when it was replaced by the ECP...


ECPs


Presentation that intrudes upon the programmes themselves has always been amongst the most contentious parts of the subject, such as the DOG ('digitally originated graphic'/'digital on-screen graphic' - the channel logo that appears permanently in the corner of the screen), the OSN ('on screen next' - a caption telling you what the next programme is going to be before the current programme has even finished), and the ECP ('end credit promotion').

Although announcers have chatted over the closing credits of programmes for decades, by the mid-2000s this was clearly deemed not enough to grab viewer's attentions, and so would often now be accompanied by some graphics - the ECP. In June 2007, the BBC introduced this fairly poor piece of design, which shrunk the programme down to a small box in the corner of the screen, rendering the closing credits barely legible, to the fury of viewers and programme-makers alike.

Adjustments were later made to this layout to improve legibility, but it was eventually replaced by a new format which sees the credits remain full-screen, but shifted across to the left-hand side so that graphics promoting upcoming programmes can be overlaid on the right.