After reviewing the ITV regions, now here’s a look at the presentation of the other main channels, BBC1, BBC2, Channel 4 and Channel 5. I’ll write more about the Christmas variations some other time, but for now here’s my review of BBC1 presentation since the introduction of colour in November 1969.
1969-1974: The first colour globe is introduced. The colour was actually added electronically so it could be made any colour but at this time it was blue on black. Also behind it is a mirror which features the land moving as the globe rotates. There is also an analogue clock, and programmes end with the national anthem being played over the globe. This globe often turned up in Monty Python for spoof continuity announcements.
1974-1981: The globe is modified for the first time just after Christmas, it is now yellow and blue and the word “colour” is dropped from the name. There is still no consistency with the look, with trails and slides not carrying a generic look. The analogue clock also remains and this version would be used for almost seven years.
1981-1985: The third variation on the mirror globe, which is now green on blue, and again the “BBC1” has been changed on the bottom to how it appeared on slides. A digital clock is now introduced. By this point essentially the same technology had been used on the globe for 15 years and it was being to look rather tatty, with the paint beginning to flake off the globe, it was definitely time for a change.
1985-1991: The globe becomes computer-generated for the first time. This is the first BBC1 ident that I can remember and again it was very impressive for the time with the rotating globe with the golden land. By now the design for trails changed every season, and slides also became computer-generated in 1988. There was still a digital clock used too.
1991-1997: At last BBC1 brings in a generic look, maintaining the globe for the 1990s but now featuring various colours and patterns, and sometimes it’s rather hard to make out the land. The “BBC” symbol has also been added to the ident for the first time since it was introduced three years earlier. Now all trails and slides would look the same on both channels. There was also some creative use of the “1” on trails. There continued to be a clock too.
1997-2002: For the first time there are multiple idents on BBC1. A new “BBC” symbol was introduced and the globe was changed to a hot-air balloon which toured around various landmarks in the country. I’m not sure why the globe is orange and red. The idents also had a soundtrack for the first time. There were a lot of changes during this era including the closedown being dropped, the first wave of digital channels and widescreen programmes being introduced, more promotion for websites, and the clock and slides slowly being phased out.
2002-2006: The globe leaves the screen after 39 years and the dancers are introduced, all dressed in red and doing various dances around the world. This look was never that popular with viewers, it was odd seeing something else apart from the globe. There was no clock used any more and trails continued to be all in the same style. What was it all about.
2006-present: All change again as the “circles” era is introduced. Various things happen that then create a circle shape. This look has been used for nearly nine years now. For some reason about three years in BBC1 dropped half the idents and edited the remaining ones, and no new ones have been introduced for years now. Some of them aren’t bad but they do become dull the 10,000th time you see them. Maybe a change is due.