MHP The Ident Zone BBC2

Short Animations

Short Animations on BBC2 are used as "trailer bumpers", they are 3 to 5 seconds long, follow similar themes to the actual idents, and bind together a junction of discrete trails in to a combined package. They started out in promotional trails, where they were frequently used to punctuate the "line-up" style trails. This is where a single trail gives a preview of a whole nights programmes.

Later, the BBC realised that it was a waste to have these animations made, used in a few trails and then discarded. So they were allowed out on their own, inserted by presentation wherever suitable in between individual trails.

Since late 1997, some of the more amusing shorts will occasionally be seen at closedown on BBC2 instead of an ident symbol.

We will start our journey before the 1991 watershed with an example of a 1988 in-trail short. This was used for a line-up style trail, starting off with an empty sardine tin, which is opened to reveal an underwater scene with the capital "T" used in the "TWO" ident of the time. Small fish can be seen swimming around.

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BBC2 1988 Short - Sardine Tine
BBC2 1988 Short - Underwater The trail then went off to promote the evenings programmes. At the end, the "T" is shown underwater again, with restricted lighting from above. The "T" falls over on to the sea bed, at which point the evening menu is overlaid in white text.

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The BBC "TWO" era is we believe the first where short animations of this style were used. If you have any examples of this era or earlier, get in touch on mhp-chat

The 1991 series of idents changed the look of BBC2 and the way it was perceived by the viewers. The "TWO" era seemed to be on a higher level than most if the viewers. Whilst there was more to BBC2 than classical and intellectual programmes, the presentation did not do much to reveal this. From 1991, it was all change. Unless otherwise stated, the following examples are all more recent, 1995 - 1998. If you know when they were introduced, or can remember earlier examples, please get in touch.



TCF [?] Short

An odd one, used at the end of a trail package, TCF with the '2' replacing the clown. This capture is from the end of the trailer - the girl is in her usual position, then she suddenly picks up the clown, puts it off-screen, and puts the '2' in the clown's place, finally turning to face the camera in her original position. (1992).

bbc2_short_tcf.jpg (18271 bytes)
bbc2_short_alkasel.jpg (9794 bytes) Alka - Seltzer [?] Short

Two small '2's being dropped into a glass as if they are Alka Seltzers - the first one is dropped-in, then the second shortly after. Both fall to the bottom of the glass and then float in the water. This dates from 1992-1993


Snooker [?] Short

The first is the '2' made up of snooker balls. In the animation, the balls are all spread out, and slowly move together. When they form the '2', there is a gasp from the crowd! This dates from 1992-1993.

bbc2_short_snooker.jpg (7844 bytes)
bbc2_steptoe.jpg (11177 bytes) Steptoe [?] Short

This sad looking "2" sits rusting on a pile of old junk. Used before an episode of Steptoe and Son either 1995 or 1996.

"Ballet" Short

The "2" spins around like a ballet dancer, as the camera moves to show first the mirror image, then the real "2" in front of the mirror.

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.

BBC2 Short - Ballet
Bike [?] Short

A leather jacketed "2" suddenly sprouts wheels and turns in to a motor bike, which rides off towards the horizon. An electric guitar soundtrack accompanies this.

Newtons Cradle (1)

One of four similar shorts, based upon the "Newtons Cradle" type of toy, consisting of metal balls suspended by a cord. For these shorts, the balls have been replaced by "2"s.

BBC2 Short Loudspeaker Loudspeaker [?] Short

Loud music from the loudspeaker causes the "2" to shake away across the floor due to the Bass vibrations.

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.

"Rip 'n' Stick" Short

A velcro-clothed "2" slowly unsticks itself from one felt covered wall, to leap to another, and then gradually releases itself to leap over to the far wall as revealed left.

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.

BBC2 Short - Rip n Stick
BBC2 Short "Dancing" "Dancing" Short

The "2" dances from side to side, while watching the "2" on the telly do exactly the same thing. The soundtrack includes a tune and a squeaking noise, presumably caused by the "2" on the wooden floor.

Part of a family of three shorts on the same theme.

"Behind The Telly" Short

The "2" kisses the on-screen "2", jumps down off the pile of videos, runs around the television, and then jumps up to the the "2" on screen again, whilst giving a squeak.

This is the second of a three animation series of shorts. The third features the same "2" bouncing on top of a television, and is called "Lurve".

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.

BBC2 Short "Behind the Telly"
BBC2 Short - Door Closing Door Closing [?] Short

The camera zooms in on the two as the door closes and the screen goes black. This short has been used as a closedown ident a few times. There are two different versions.

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.


Comes in two variants, one without music. The "2" is a magnet, and slowly everything metal in the room, particularly the nails keeping the floorboards down, rip out and fly to the "2", sticking as seen in the image right.

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.

BBC2 Short - Magnet
BBC2 Short - Dazed Dazed [?] Short

The "2" is in what looks like a brightly coloured padded cell. It hops around, bouncing of walls, until it comes to the front and hits the camera. It then retreats, looking dazed as stars spin around.

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.

Demolition [?] Short

At least two versions, a large demolition ball is swung on to a stone "2". However it is the demolition ball that shatters, not the "2".

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.

BBC2 Short - Demolition
BBC2 Short - Cuckoo Hooligan "Cuckoo Hooligan" Short

Starts off with a front view of an innocent looking Cuckoo Clock, ticking around to 2 O'Clock. When the hour arrives, no Cuckoo, but a huge "2" on a ridiculously long spring. The camera moves back and out of the way to avoid being hit, and the two dangles about as seen in this image, before springing back in to the clock.

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.

"Sub" Short

One of three animated shorts featuring the duck "2", who also stars in his own ident. This is called "Sub", the "2" pops up from underneath the bubbles, and like a submarine periscope, looks around in different directions, before sinking below surface again.

Also in this family are "Jaws" and "Ducks"

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.

BBC2 Short - Sub
"Ducks" Short

Not a lot of animation in this one. The "2" is static whilst the numerous ducks bob up and down in the bath, with lots of little squeaks.

"Jaws" Short

The third in this family of shorts, this features the Duck "2" swimming through the bubble bath squeaking the theme from Jaws.

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.

BBC2 Short Jaws
BBC2 Short - Spinning Plates Spinning Plates [?] Short

We start off at ground level with the many poles and spinning plates. The camera pans upwards to show the overhead view of the spinning plates in the shape of a "2". Oddly, BBC1 used spinning plates for one of their trail themes a year or so ago.

Click on the image for a RealVideo version.

"Vac Pack" Short

The "2" is picked up by the production line robot, put in a silvery bag, and then vaccuum sealed to reveal the shape of the "2" again.

bbc2_short_vacpack.jpg (18046 bytes)

Other Shorts that may appear here soon....

Football & Ski

The One where the "2" slides down the banisters


The One where the "2" bounces on a TV


The One where the "2" is in a fridge and falls down


The sneezing 2


The 2 trying to jump on a moving "splodge" on the floor, giggling as it goes


The "cliffhanger" 2 falling off the mantelpiece

Modern Art Deconstruction

The "art gallery", where the camera tracks left and reveals that the 2 is made out of different sections in different perspectives

Star Trek

The "Star Trek transporter" 2

Pump Up

The black rubbery 2 being pumped up in a greenhouse/conservatory


The 2 having its base cut around with a saw, a la the classic cartoon gag


The 2 moving along a wooden floor, carving a trail as it goes


The 2 crossing a low-lit corridor, going in and out of doors


A spider's web gets partially blown away to reveal the number 2


One where one by one, smaller and smaller twos pop out of the top of each other, and the final one is like a secret agent's camera.

Thanks to got to the subscribers of mhp-chat who helped put together the above list

The Ident Zone - BBC2
Last Update 06 Apr 2000