More TV Memories – BBC2.


1967-1974: Three years after the launch of BBC2, they became the first channel in Britain to show programmes in colour, and their ident at the time featured a “2” which would rotate and be in various colours, but after a while changed to only being blue. Also during this time a clock was used and unlike BBC1 there was no national anthem played at closedown. 2bbc5

1974-1979: The next symbol featured a “2” that was made up of several blue and white stripes, with turned around to create the symbol. Occasionally the background would change colour. This was the last time that a mechanical ident would be used on BBC2. The clock design was the same as in the previous look. 2bbc6

1979-1986: The next ident was far more technically advanced. It featured the “2” made up of white and orange stripes. It was the first computer-generated ident and was played live at the start of programmes. For a short while it was also accompanied by a short jingle before the first programme of the day. When schools programmes moved to BBC2 a variation of this ident was created which featured a yellow background. Also during this time the clock was upgraded from analogue to digital. 2bbc2

1986-1991: Another change and now the symbol says “TWO”. The letters would sometimes appear or disappear in the ident. Many people feel that this ident now captures its era as featuring rather dull and highbrow programming. What strikes me about the ident is like its predecessors it doesn’t feature “BBC” at all in any form, in an era where branding is seen as so important is just seems rather strange now. 2bbc7

1991-1997: The ident is relaunched and now features the most famous “2” symbol of them all. It has become as associated with BBC2 as closely as Channel 4’s symbol has with its programmes, making it all the more surprising that it was introduced 27 years after the launch of BBC2. The ident finally featured the BBC symbol and for the first time several variations were made, all featuring the same colour and a powerful and innovative soundtrack. Like BBC1 which relaunched on the same day there were also various trail styles, although as BBC2 was the more alternative channel some of their stings were a little more unusual. There were also several variations of idents made for special seasons of programming and this era is still considered to be among the best presentation that the BBC has ever had. 2bbc4

1997-2001: When the BBC symbol was changed, they couldn’t let the look go, so it was retained, with ever more odd idents added. By the end some of them were getting a little too far away from the original idea, with the “2” being turned into all kinds of unusual things including a Venus Flytrap and a kebab, but it still worked. Also around this time slides and the clock began to be phased out which was a shame because I always felt they worked well and were part of the all-round package and image of a channel. 2bbc1

2001-2007: After almost 11 years, a whole new look was introduced. By they just couldn’t get rid of that “2” now, so it was retained, and now gained a personality! All the idents were now on a yellow background and featured the “2” doing various things such as using a paintbrush or just bouncing around. Again more were introduced as time went by. This series of idents never seemed to be as popular as the previous era but I still think that they were a decent evolution of the idea. 2bbc3

2007-present: The idea was now “the window on the world”. Various things would happen through the shape of the “2”, such as looking through a zoetrope or a car mirror. Like with what happened to BBC1, after about a couple of years, some idents were dropped and the remaining ones were re-edited. That’s how it stayed for a while, but then something rather strange happened. In 2014 to celebrate BBC2’s 50 anniversary, some old idents were brought back, mostly from the second generation (1997-2001) of the “2” idents. It was good seeing them again, but then they continued to be used in place of a new look, although the current look doesn’t seem to have been officially retired. One ident from the first generation has now turned up, and it is odd to think that look was introduced almost 25 years ago now. After being so well unified, the look of BBC1 and BBC2 now seems all over the place and somewhat tired, maybe there will be another generation of idents soon. If you’ve got an idea and a million quid I’m sure they’ll be glad to hear from you. 2bbc8

More TV Memories – BBC1.


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. bbc1

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. bbc2

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. bbc3

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. vlcsnap-00411

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. bbc4

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. bbc5

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. bbc6

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. bbc7

The YouTube Files – an introduction.

Here’s a quick story about how I became interested in old TV clips on the internet and why I decided to upload my own.

We first got the internet in our house in 2000, but we didn’t have a computer at the time, so how was this possible? Because we had subscribed to On Digital we decided to take up a thing called “On Net”, where you could access the internet through your television. You were sent a keyboard and a modem and all that so we decided to give it a try.

I decided to have a look for sites that had old TV clips on them and I was really surprised that such sites existed. There was only really TV Ark and TV World in those days but I found them fascinating and a great way to increase my knowledge of various TV channels over the years. Also because it was the pre-broadband days the sites were very slow but it was enjoyable.

A few years later, when we’d finally got ourselves a PC, I went on sites including TV Forum and MHP. I learned a lot from these sites but I never really plucked up the courage to join a forum, and although MHP was a very good source it does seem a little 1998 now, but I joined and downloaded lots of videos. After a while I decided it was right to give something back.

When I first went on YouTube I decided to look for old BBC and ITV clips. I realised what a remarkable source this site could be, as a Londoner I was only familiar with Thames/Carlton/LWT and now I could watch videos from any region I wanted and finally discover famous announcers and local news programmes from regions that I had never been to.

One day I decided to compile all the advert breaks I had on some old tapes all on to a few tapes, and then on to a few discs. These were lying around for a while when I realised that it would be great to share these with people and finally reveal myself to be fan of old continuity clips.

So one day I just decided to join YouTube. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into but I thought I might as well try. There were a lot of people whose channels I enjoyed on YouTube and when they all started to subscribe to me and comment on my videos providing dates and things I was hugely flattered, it felt as if I had been accepted into the group of people who like to talk about this subject online and I was really pleased.

I now have 2,143 subscribers which has exceeded all my expectations, so I wondered how I could expand my presence on the internet. A few years later I decided to join Twitter. Once again, I was pleased that just about all the people I wanted to follow who knew their stuff about old TV followed me back and it was great that they wanted to give me my support and they were interested in what I had to say. I decided to use Twitter to upload some old scans from TV magazines, plus pictures of old TV clips.

So this year, now I was more confident and I wanted to share my knowledge, I decided to start a blog where I could talk in more detail about my memories of programmes that I have enjoyed watching over the years and after only a couple of weeks on here I’m pleased with my progress.

So one thing I will do on here is talk about some of the strange clips that I have found on YouTube, not those stupid videos will people falling over “that have taken the internet by storm”, just any TV shows I’ve enjoyed watching that fall into the “unclassifiable” category, I’ll upload my first piece reviewing a YouTube clip later.

Remembering UK Play – Part 3.


Here is the third and final part of my look back at UK Play.

Podge And Rodge. Two dirty old twin brother puppets tell filthy stories from their bed. I think this was done by the same people as Zig and Zag.


Pop Upstairs Downstairs. Mark and Lard return with a pop trivia game show that has the same format as University Challenge but played for DOUBLE POINTS! Two teams of three faced a starter question for 20 points. vlcsnap-00027If they got it right they then received three supplementary questions (or “suppository questions” as Lard called them) for 10 points each. They then finished off with a quickfire buzzer round. It was good stuff and they always separated the clever people from the halfwits. vlcsnap-00028ReBrand. One of the last shows to be made by UK Play, this was a lively debate show hosted by Russell Brand.

RePlay. A show where Al and Joe have a look back at the history of music vlcsnap-00017videos and give it a gentle mocking.

Rock Profile. Probably the best known of the UK Play shows, Jamie Theakston interviews Matt Lucas and David Walliams who play a wide variety of pop and rock stars. Also featuring lots of amusing made-up Rock Facts. A very good show. vlcsnap-00021The Score. A live show about football featuring sketches and reports. Because of course UK Play didn’t have any football coverage the show mainly consisted of taking some calls and reading out some results. vlcsnap-00007The Sound Of Play. A fairly straightforward music video show, although it was a little more alternative than MTV with some indie/rock videos being played among the pop ones and you never knew what would be next. Oh look, it’s the new video from Gay Dad! Because I was around 15-18 when UK Play aired I was interested in chart music a lot so I watched this frequently. There were also spinoffs looking at specific years or genres such as The Sound Of 1989 or The Sound Of Discovlcsnap-00026Swivel On The Tip. One of my favourites, a comedy show that was a parody of “Yoof TV”, characters called “Hoxton Finn” and the like. Only really notable vlcsnap-00014now because some of the cast went on to bigger things, including Nicholas “Nathan Barley” Burns, Kathryn “Two Pints Of Lager” Drysdale and Emily “Bits” Booth. vlcsnap-00015Tenuous Links. Mark and Lard again. This time they introduce some music videos and you have to spot the connections between the songs. vlcsnap-00029TOTP Plus. Not too much of an extension of Top Of The Pops, it was just a show that played some music videos of songs currently in the top 20 plus repeating a few performances from the TOTP studio.

Unnovations. A show that was a parody of shopping channels, a easy target probably but it did well. It also guest starred some bloke who used to be vlcsnap-00044in The Bill and it was made by the same production company as TvGoHome which was on E4 around the same time. vlcsnap-00018Vic Reeves Examines. Jim looks at a different subject every week with help from a celebrity. I remember a particularly good one when Johnny Vegas introduced Vic to the world of pottery.

Two extra notes:

Other programming. As well as repeating a lot of BBC2-type comedy which I might reflect on in another article soon, UK Play also occasionally showed cult children’s TV shows including Camberwick Green and Trumpton.

Continuity. When I first saw UK Play all the announcements were made by the same woman and it took me a while to realise that they must have been pre-recorded. Curiously, UK Play was renamed Play UK in November 2000 but it made little difference. Due to poor ratings and the collapse of ITV Digital it closed in September 2002. A great shame, but they put a lot of effort into making some good shows despite the tiny viewing figures. vlcsnap-00012I hope you have enjoyed this look back at this great but obscure channel.

Remembering UK Play – Part 2.


Off we go again with the second part of my look back at UK Play…

Having A Pop. A comedy sketch show with Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley vlcsnap-00006when they were also delivering quality items on Radio 1. It was made on a budget of about 10p but at least they tried.


Here Is This. Comedy sketches featuring the roller coaster adventures of such characters as Barry Gibson, Bobby Peru and a mild-mannered sales representative called Keith Lemon. I must admit I didn’t find it that funny at the time which is why I remain rather shocked at the continuing success of the Mr Lemon character.

Herring In Fiji. The comedian Richard Herring visits Fiji. That’s about it for that one really.

Honky Sausages. A sitcom about a dysfunctional family living in a council flat in Ladbroke Grove. I haven’t made this up.

Joe’s Pop Shop. A very odd sitcom featuring presenter Joe Mace running a record shop.

The Joy Of Decks. Songs and music videos get remixed together, giving viewers a great chance to get down and boogie.

Mental! Handily subtitled The Music Quiz in case you weren’t sure what the show was about, Iain Lee hosts the game show where people showed off mental_4their musical knowledge. Lee later said that it was the worst programme that he’d ever hosted. And this is from someone who hosted The 11 O’Clock Showmental_8The Mitchell And Webb Situation. The comedy sketch show that Mitchell and Webb did after Bruiser but before That Mitchell And Webb Look when vlcsnap-00008they were still fairly unknown. Cheap and cheerful stuff, also featuring Dame Olivia Colman among the cast. Incredibly, this has actually come out on DVD.


Next Stop Phil Kay. The crazy Scottish comedian goes on a tour bus around Scotland doing his thing, including mocking all the famous landmarks. phil0001

Nu Music. A showcase for up-and-coming bands to perform on TV. Most of them probably faded into obscurity. Hosted by the bloke off The Stone Roses. vlcsnap-00013The Phone Zone. A live spin off from The O Zone. It was a show where vlcsnap-00035viewers could phone in and make requests, and there were also competitions and video votes, it was UK Play’s equivalent of MTV’s Select. It was hosted by the likes of Jayne Middlemiss, Joe Mace and Vernon Kay. After The O Zone ended, the show was renamed TOTP@Play to try to attach itself to the Top Of The Pops name instead and promptly ended. phone0001Pick ‘N’ Mix. A show where a mixture of live performances from the BBC archive and new music videos were linked by Jamie Theakston walking around somewhere. vlcsnap-00024That’s it for now, the third and final part is later.

Remembering UK Play – Part 1.

Here is the first part of my review of some of the original programming that was made for digital channel UK Play. I don’t know how many people will remember these shows because they are now very obscure but I promise you that they all existed and were repeated endlessly. I spent a lot of my teenage years watching Channel 37 on On Digital and enjoying these shows and I want to share those memories with you. Where possible I will provide pictures, some from my own collection, plus a few from some YouTube clips that I found, so credit goes to the original posters. Off we go…

The Alphabet Show. Described as “a mix between Sesame Street and CD:UK”, Lauren Laverne introduces some music videos that are all connected by the same letter.

Bob Downe All Over Britain. Camp Australian comedian and “The King of Crimplene” Bob tours the country visiting clubs to do daft jokes and meet lots of people.


Boy George One On One. Some famous people are interviewed round the vlcsnap-00009pop star Boy George’s house. They include Jonathan Ross, Rowland Rivron, and, er, Katie Price.


Cherry Pop. A show where music videos were linked by some up-and-coming comedians. They were the stars of the future, who presumably were never heard of again.


The Chris Moyles Show. The “roly-poly DJ” as he was always called at the time brought some of the style from his Radio 1 show to the TV. He was joined by his mate Comedy Dave who was dressed as a matador for no vlcsnap-00039reason. Chris would also be joined by celebrity guests who he would be vaguely rude to before introducing some music videos. The best bit though was in later series when he was joined by a random lipstick-wearing musician bloke who would perform songs that just consisted of him thumping a keyboard whilst shouting “I’m a crazy motherhubbard!” which bemused vlcsnap-00038even Chris.

Dream Performances. Lauren Laverne sits on a bed and introduces some classic live performances from a band.

Either/Or. A creepy game show hosted by Simon Munnery of “The League Against Tedium” fame.


Flatmates. A game show hosted by Sara Cox round someone’s house who asked people questions to find out how much people who lived together really knew about one another. Would they risk the end of their friendship to win a prize?

Fool’s Gold. A very odd show were some street performance artists did their mischievous thing whilst perplexing onlookers.

Footage and Mouth. A show where music videos were introduced with bizarre redubbed clips from the BBC archive.

Funny Noise. A show where comedians introduced music videos and told a few jokes, some in character. The likes of John Shuttleworth, Al Murray, Harry Enfield, Bob Downe, Phil Kay, John Thomson, Sean Hughes and vlcsnap-00033Simon Day turned up.

Get Your Hits Out. Lauren Laverne (again) introduces some music videos old and new.

Part two coming later…

“It’s got a bed and it rocks!”

We never had satellite in our house. We knew some people who did but we only had the four channels (for five from March 1997). Digital TV launched in late-1998 but we were never sure if it was for us.

That was until we saw an advert in May 1999 for digital terrestrial company On Digital that said that buying a box was free when you subscribe. So we thought that we might as well have a try, and dad went down to Tempo (yes, really) to get a box.

We managed to plug it in and switch it on, and the first thing that appeared on the screen was Channel 6, ITV2. (indeed, ITV2 being on Channel 6 on Freeview is a hangover from the On Digital days). Suddenly we had more than five channels and we were thrilled. The programme that was on ITV2 was some entertainment programme called Bedrock. The first time I used the EPG we got a description of what this programme was about: “it’s got a bed and it rocks!”. How useful.

We stuck with it from when the name changed to ITV Digital in 2001, to the terrible end in April 2002. It seemed inevitable really, it did seem that we were backing the wrong one, On Digital being the Betamax to Sky Digital’s VHS so to speak, but finally entering the multi-channel era was fascinating.

As this was still the early days of digital TV, there are a lot of shows and channels that I remember where it did seem that hardly anybody must be watching this. That’s a feeling that I don’t really get now because even though there are lots more channels than those days everybody now has at least Freeview.

This means that I have memories of lots of shows that are now really obscure, with very little written about them on the internet, and almost no clips anywhere, and it’s surprising how many original shows were made for these channels among the repeats.

So the plan is to share some of my memories of the On Digital era and write about great but forgotten channels including UK Play, Cartoon Network and BBC Choice.

If you have never heard of these programmes or channels, and even if you do vaguely remember them, I want to revive and share some memories of this era of TV that incredibly is over 15 years ago now.

I am currently doing some research on some of UK Play’s programmes so look out for my views on those here soon.

What Am I Doing Here?

And by that I mean… here’s some more information about what I will talk about on this blog and what I aim to achieve.

It will essentially be split into these ten categories.

Children’s TV. I’ll talk about some of my favourite presenters, some of my favourite shows including cartoons and the like, and my favourite Saturday Morning moments.

Comedy. I’m a big fan of TV comedy, I’ll reveal some of my favourite shows, characters, and funny moments.

Comics. I’ll talk about some of my favourite comics, such as The Beano, plus my favourite characters and artists too.

Continuity. Yes I like the bits between programmes too. I’ll talk about some of my favourite announcers, daft adverts, a review of the ITV regions, but I promise not to endlessly rant about IDENTS.

Games. I do like computer games and I used to have a PlayStation, so I’ll talk about some of my favourite games and also some magazines that I used to like including The Official UK PlayStation MagazinePlayStation Power, and PSW. And I go all the way back to having a Commodore 64 so expect some memories from that era too!

Game Shows. One of my favourite TV genres, I’ll talk about game shows, some famous, some not so famous, plus my favourite hosts and moments.

Music. I’ll talk about some of my favourite shows including Top Of The Pops and The Chart Show, some of my favourite compilations from the “Now” and “Hits” collections, and also some of my favourite songs.

Radio. I’ll talk about some of my memories of Radio 1, my favourite presenters and stations, plus my favourite radio comedies too.

TV. I will talk about various things including some of my favourite channels from the OnDigital days including the likes of BBC Choice and some of the programmes that I remember they showed. The BBC Genome will come in very handy for researching this! I’ll also talk about other things including some of my favourite presenters.

YouTube. I’ve uploaded a lot to YouTube, and I always like to look for clips of old or weird TV. I’ll pick some of my favourites and describe them here.

So that’s it really, I’ll bring you the first proper post soon. If you like the sound of all that, it’ll be great to have you join me, see you soon.