MHP The Ident Zone BBC2

BBC 2 Idents A New Channel is Born

The birth of BBC2 was preceded by a publicity campaign and trade test transmissions. The mascot for the new channel was of "Hullabaloo and Custard", a large Kangaroo and a little baby kangaroo, safely stored in the pouch. The idea was that the baby kangaroo represented the new BBC2, launching from the older BBC Television Service. One of the graphics used showed an open back truck with a television set, the kangaroo driving with their head sticking out a hole in the roof. The caption was "Get Set for BBC2". I hope to present some examples of the mascots at a later date. The graphics were drawn by Desmond Marlwood.

The name Hullabaloo was chosen easily, there was going to be a lot of it in the months preceding the launch. After much head scratching and many suggestions, the baby was called Custard, as "everything goes with custard". There was much publicity material issued with the kangaroos, and even some toys were made. If anyone still has one, they are rare collectors items now.

BBC2 Opening Night, April 21st 1964.

The studio is dim and has a candle in recognition that they started a day late due to a power failure the night before. This studio was used for the start of programmes each night, an in-vision announcer presenting "Line Up" at 7.20pm.


The first programme was Play School at 11.00am earlier that day. Play Now! Download
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BBC2 Opening Night, Dark Studio with candle
BBC2 Opening Animated Ident The very first BBC2 ident.


It was animated with cross cross lines from alternate directions coming in to make the two horizontal bands, with the "2" dropping in from above and the "BBC" rising from below. It was accompanied with a short trumpet call. Play Now! Download
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In addition to the above ident, there was a separate one for each day, featuring the day of the week. It was similar to the static board right with the name of the day between the horizontal lines. The intention was for BBC2 to have a different feel each day, each evening programmes would have a common theme. This was the first UK television channel to use what is now known as "stripped and stranded".
This is a static version of the animated ident shown above. It was shown by pointing a camera at a large piece of card.
The very first mechanical BBC 2 clock from 1964. Note the Roman Numerals and the wonky logo. BBC2 Opening Clock on Black background
BBC2 Clock on Grey Background At some point in the early years, the clock changed to this grey-background version. The logo had been straightened by then.
Also seen in the early years of BBC-2 was this large "2". It was rotated in to view, usually with a different caption on the other side. Presumably it saved on vision mixers.



1967. BBC2 becomes the first UK television channel to launch a regular colour service on UHF.

This was the first colour ident on BBC2, and in the UK for that matter. It started off with an animated drawing of the "2" from top to bottom, with the white "Colour" appearing when the "2" is complete. Then the 2 starts rotating, revealing that it is a cube with the "2" in different colours on each face, starting blue, red, green and finally white.


See it animated in RealVideo (with thanks to Sean Hughes) Play Now! Download
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BBC2 First Colour Ident
The black and white style clock survived in to the colour era, as this example,   from around 1969, demonstrates.
Around 1969, the BBC2 logo received a new font caption and a horizontal line. The centre dot also changed colour. This is a static version. BBC2 Colour Italic Still
BBC2 Colour Italic Still on Blue Background A little later, a blue background version was introduced. This playing wth colours was quite common on both BBC1 and BBC2. Often the idents were black and white with the colour elements artificially generated on to the final image. It was therefore a trivial task to change the colour of the idents.
Introduced between Christmas and New Year 1974 and used up until 1980.

The alternate blue and white lines come together from different directions to make the "2". Whilst this reconstruction may look computer generated, the original was done the hard way, a mechanical model with lines painted on a cylinder.

BBC2 Cylinder Cyan and White Striped Ident
BBC2 1975 Clock This clock was used around the same time as the ident above. A very simple design, it was also used on BBC1. During the 1970's, BBC2 experimented with a number of clocks, some of which only lasted a few days.
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Last Update 29 Mar 2000