TV Cream

Pot pourri


There’s nothing the media likes more than a story about on-screen channel idents, preferably when there’s a sum of money involved they can make sound astronomically large and therefore utterly wasteful.

Well, nothing the media likes more save for a story about a story about on-screen idents and how much it has cost to replace them.

The so-called BBC3 blobs are on their way out, and fair enough. They’ve had a decent innings, a longer than average lifespan when placed in the history of channel idents, and now it’s time for a change.

It’s unclear precisely how they have been, in the words of The Guardian, “a huge hit” – how do you measure the hit potential of a logo? – but rest assured there’ll soon be another anti-BBC topic for that paper to drone on and on about, probably involving a “leaked email” from yet another conveniently anonymous “disgruntled staff member”.

Meantime let’s recall the five best examples of on-screen branding with slightly more claim to have been huge hits, thanks mostly to the fact they a) disappeared ages ago but are still fondly remembered and b) looked really rather nice. In no particular order:

1) 1970s London Weekend:

2) 1960s BBC2 – in colour:

3) Early 1990s Channel 4, Christmas special:

4) BBC2 “paint”:

5) Central Television – the original:



  1. Tim

    January 29, 2008 at 9:13 am

    The handover to LWT from Thames Television in the seventies and eighties was always a great moment – it meant the weekend had started! Usually the handover meant the Six O’Clock Show with Michael Aspel, Danny Baker, Janet Street-Porter and Fred Housego. Brilliant.

  2. fl3m

    January 29, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    I grew up on the cusp of Central/Granada and I’d always been fascinated by idents and
    continuity ever since I noticed that the bits in between the programmes on either channel weren’t the same.

    Central’s original ident was ace, but it didn’t seem to last very long before the blocky version came in and their continuity was a bit rubbish on the whole.

    On the other hand, Granada’s yellow symbol on a blue background was a simple, understated classic. And they still had in-vision announcers a long time after most channels had done away with them.

    My all time favourite though is the old BBC globe, with the mirror behind it. In all it’s various guises, how long did that one last for?

  3. Paul McQuillan

    January 30, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Behold, some classic ‘idents’ in motion:

  4. MrChairman

    February 1, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    The appearance of the LWT logo on a Friday evening is totally synonymous for me with the beginning of Play Your Crds Right and thus, the weekend. In fact, it was some time before I realised the start of the PYCR theme wasn’t the end of the LWT fanfare.

  5. Zokko

    July 26, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    I miss idents on the start of I.T.V. shows. The ‘L.W.T’ one was far and away the best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top