Menus/Now and Next

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.

Two UKTV menus from 1999, the first shown at the start of an afternoon's programmes on UK Arena, the second from the end of a line-up trailer on UK Gold, including a rare showing on the channel for Only Fools and Horses. The Saturday Night Comedy menu, meanwhile, dates 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.

BBC2 introduced now/next/later menus to accompany the launch of the personality 2 idents in November 2001. Also shown here is a menu announcing schedule changes on BBC2 in March 2002, and a now/next caption from BBC 2W, the Welsh digital-only opt-out of BBC2 which effectively replaced BBC Choice Wales in November 2001.

A later style of now/next caption from the personality 2s era. At the channel's next update in February 2007, new styles of captions were introduced, echoing the Window on the World idents. Two variants are shown here - the first featuring one of the idents seen through the '2', the other which used clips of the featured programmes.

An early menu from BBC3 in February 2003, and now/next/later captions from January 2007 and February 2008 - these were sometimes used in place of idents.

This menu comes from towards the end of BBC3's first incarnation as a linear channel, in early 2016.

Two different types of menu seen on BBC4's opening night in March 2002.

Also from BBC4, a menu from the end of a trailer in October 2002, along with a 'next' screen from September 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 (end credit promotion).

Two captions from CBBC, dating from 2005 and 2007.

BBC1 captions from 2010 and 2013, based on the Neon and Hippos circle idents respectively.

Evening menus introduced as part of the BBC's refresh of its presentation, seen here for BBC1 in October 2021 and BBC3 in April 2022.

A menu from the Gaelic-language channel BBC Alba, from 2021.

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