BBC Video (UK)

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Logo descriptions by James Fabiano, Sean Beard, Kris Starring, and ChuckSc.
Logo captures by wisp2007, V of Doom, VPJHuk and zman1997
Editions by iheartparamount, VPJHuk and others
Video captures courtesy of Logo Archive, TheRoute19, ratpackmanreturns, mrtivuk, Other Files, TheHorrorBull, - VPJLogo - and others

Background

BBC Video was formed and established in 1980 as a division of BBC Enterprises to distribute BBC television programmes for home video (later "BBC Worldwide") with John Ross Barnard as head. In 2004, BBC Video merged with Video Collection International (VCI), to create 2 Entertain, although as of 2020, BBC uses their own logos still on releases of their material. Their videos originally went through CBS/Fox Video (from 1985 to 1998) and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (from 1998-2000) for U.S. distribution. The license was taken over by Warner Home Video in 2000. Today, while Warner still owns home media rights to BBC Video, their logo has been replaced by the 2Entertain logo, except on Charlie and Lola. In Australia, their videos were originally distributed by PolyGram Video, before Roadshow Entertainment and ABC Video (the Australian "ABC") took over in 1996.

1st Logo (1981-1988)

Nicknames: "BBC Star", "Cheesy Starlight", "Scanimate BBC"

Logo:

  • Opening: Against a black background, many colored parallelograms come from the top and bottom of the screen towards the middle, where a white four-pointed star is being drawn, with the smaller one starting with the top spire, while the large one starts with the left. The colored shapes stop coming from the bottom as an orange line with a "V" shaped bend in the middle arrives, accompanied by a "shadow" effect. It stops below the star, and the parallelograms return from the bottom as the letters "BBC" and "IDEO" are drawn in white at either side of the "V", with the outsides first, then the insides on the left, then the reversed happening on the right. The line with the "V" is also traced over with white. After the logo forms, all the parallelograms eventually stop as a light shines inside the star and leaves a blue after-shadow.
  • Closing: The rainbow parallelograms are flying towards "BBC VIDEO", which disappears as if it was being played backwards; that is, it's sort of being "drawn away." The parallelograms stop and the 4-pointed star remains. As a copyright notice appears (in the Futura typeface) reading "© BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION and BBC ENTERPRISES LTD. (year in Roman numerals)", the star "shines" and is drawn away too, leaving a small light which flashes a few times and then fades.

Variants:

  • On 101 Great Goals, the logo is superimposed onto a soccer match. At the end, a still of the normal opening logo with a copyright stamp is used.
  • On widescreen releases, the words "This is a wide screen film" fade in shortly before the star stops shining.
  • The copyright date (in Roman numerals) may be in a different font, other than Futura. It also looks like the 1981 date is the only one that appears to be "natural" as the rest appear with some kind of video effect.
  • Starting in 1985, a shadow effect was added while the star is being drawn away.
  • On the 1988 release of The Young Ones, as well as Dad's Army tapes from the era, it cuts to the copyright notice whereas the whole thing is silent.
  • On Watch With Mother tapes, the logo turns gray-scale when the 'V' comes in, the closing starts in gray-scale but turns into color before the text is drawn away. Another version exists of this where it fades to the B&W effect as well on some other releases.
  • On a promo variant, the logo seems to fly backwards as it finishes.
  • On a trailer/promo VHS, we see the regular logo for a few seconds until we cut to a black background with a blue book sideways with the print logo of the time. In the bottom (or in the end of the tape, the top), we see "NEW VIDEO TASTIES" in yellow.
  • On rock concert releases we see the text "ROCK FLASHBACK" appear in black, with a white outline. Another version has this in an orange Revue font with a yellow outline.
  • A shortened version of the closing variant exists, starting from the small light flashing.
  • On most U.S. video releases distributed by CBS/Fox Video or Playhouse Video, the copyright disclaimer in the closing version is blacked out due to legal reasons.

FX/SFX:

  • Opening: The "drawing" and flying shapes.
  • Closing: The logo drawing away.

Music/Sounds: There were six versions (seven all together if you include the closing):

  • Opening:
    • (1980-1984) A big band marching band-type tune, with kettle drums, in B♭ major. Used from the beginning until 1984.
    • (1980-1984) A Moog synth tune with a marching-band flair (sounding similar to the first tune) in A major. Used in tandem with the first tune.
    • (1981) An orchestrated version of the first and second tunes in a different key (C major), led by violins. Used on Treasures of the British Crown on Laserdisc, released in 1981. It is unknown if it was used on any other releases.
    • (1981-1984) A laid-back rock version of the first and second tunes in a different key (D♯/E♭ major).
    • (1984-1988) A bouncy synthesized theme that ends with drawn-out synth notes and a 3-note synth-horn fanfare. A "whoosh" is also used to mark the appearance of the "V". This is the one you are most likely to find and has been composed to match the animation as closest as possible. Used from 1984 until the end, and was composed by Peter Howell, who also arranged the 1980's version of the Doctor Who theme.
    • (1987) A tune sounding like it was played from a music box. This was used only on Watch with Mother tapes beginning in 1987.
  • Closing:
    • (1980-1984 variant 1) A re-arranged version of the marching band-type tune with a powerful flourish.
    • (1980-1984 variant 2) A re-arranged version of the Moog synth tune with a longer beginning and more grand ending.
    • (1981) A slower re-arranged version of the string-led tune.
    • (1981-1984) A slower re-arranged version of the rock tune with an electric guitar strum.
    • (1984-1988) Ascending synth notes and chimes that lead into a shorter version of the opening logo's music with a different ending.
    • (1987 Watch with Mother variant) Same as beginning, but the start of the tune is extended.
    • (1980's) An extremely rare re-orchestrated variant can be found on Great Railways - Flying Scotsman.

Availability: Uncommon. Seen on any early releases of BBC programs. It appears on the original Fawlty Towers tapes, and some Postman Pat tapes too. The opening and closing logos appear on the 1986 Playhouse Video issues of the BBC Video release of Doctor Who. Strangely, the 5th closing variant made a surprise appearance on Netflix prints of the BBC version of The Secret Garden, possibly due to using an old video master. It also appears on early releases of Series 1 of Last of the Summer Wine, including the first DVD releases (which have the episodes as compilation films for some reason). The 2nd closing variant can be found as an Easter egg on the DVD release of the Doctor Who story Revenge of the Cybermen. The 4th opening/closing variant appears on a 1984 British pre-cert tape of Open All Hours, released in the United States by CBS/Fox Video in 1989. The "NEW VIDEO TASTIES" variant can be spotted on a trailer/promo tape. The "Rock Flashback" variants can be spotted in John Martyn - In Vision 1973-1981 and Deep Purple - California Jam. The shortened closing variant can be spotted at the end of the VHS for Col. Culpeper's Flying Circus.

Editor's Note: The logo is a favorite of many due to its really nice animation and catchy music, especially the 1984 music.

2nd Logo (1988-1991)

Nicknames: "COW Globe", "BBC Globe", "Video Globe"

Logo:

  • Opening: On a black background, the text from the warning screen flies in. After several seconds, the text flies out as we fade to a map of the world, metallic gold (land) on blue (sea), which waves up and down. The map folds into a rotating globe (which is a modified version of the BBC 1 "Computer Originated World" ident from 1985-1991). The reverse of the globe can be seen through the "sea" of the globe. From the front and bottom of the screen, "BBC VIDEO" in a copper Times-like font flies in. When it stops below the globe two of the letters sparkle before the program starts.
  • Closing: The sequence reverses, with the "BBC VIDEO" flying out and the globe unfolding back into a map. The same copyright text from the previous logo appears. This was the BBC Enterprises copyright disclaimer, which was occasionally cut from U.S. releases by CBS/Fox.

Variants:

  • On Australian releases, the tape's OFLC rating certificate appears in place of the copyright info.
  • The copyright text may be in a different font, other than ITC Avant Garde Gothic.
  • A rare extended variant was seen on some releases.

FX/SFX: It's all CGI.

Music/Sounds: Calm synth music with tribal beats. The beginning sounds like the song "Hallelujah" by "Enigma". For the closing logo, each section of the opening logo's music plays in reverse order.

Availability: Appears on some older CBS/Fox releases of BBC material. Blackadder Goes Forth is one video that has this logo. On the logo's final year, it was used in tandem with the next one. The 2020 Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 26 (UK/Australia)/Doctor Who: Sylvester McCoy Complete Season Three (US) Blu-ray box set retains this logo on the alternate 1991 VHS cut of the Doctor Who serial "The Curse of Fenric".

Editor's Note: While the logo is not as common as some of the other logos, it's still a unique take on the COW globe at the time.

3rd Logo (1990-1997)

Nicknames: "Streaks of Death", "Ominous BBC", "Bring Out the Caskets", "Blue, Red, and Green"

Logo: On a black background, a blue streak comes in from the right of the screen and a green streak comes in from the left of the screen. The two streaks merge to form a red line in the middle of the screen and they leave behind green and blue lines afterwards. The BBC boxes fade in above, forming a CGI version of the 1988 BBC logo used at the time.

Closing Variant: The same as the beginning, except with the BBC Enterprises copyright disclaimer appearing on the bottom. Starting in 1995, "BBC ENTERPRISES" is replaced with "BBC WORLDWIDE".

Trivia: This is basically the BBC ID from 1990.

Variants:

  • On the 1991 VHS tape Bottom Fluff, a tape containing outtakes and unused footage from the sitcom Bottom, silhouettes of the show's stars, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmonson can be seen messing around at the bottom of the screen during the second half of the logo.
  • On the 1995 VHS release of the Doctor Who episode "The Five Doctors", the logo is snatched up by the Time Scoop (the device that kidnapped the Doctor's incarnations and his companions at the beginning of the story).
  • Very early releases with this logo have the copyright disclaimer in a different font (e.g. Helvetica or Gill Sans).
  • Starting in mid-1997, the closing variant has a different caption, saying "Distributed under licence by BBC Worldwide Ltd." and underneath there is an copyright date saying "© BBC (in its print logo) (year in Roman numerals)".
  • On They Think It's All Over: No Holds Barred, the closing logo had a different copyright notice reading:
© TALKBACK PRODUCTIONS LIMITED/
BBC TELEVISION
(year in roman numerals)
  • At the end of the 1997 VHS release of BBC TV Cooks - Rick Stein Cooks Fish, the copyright stamp below the BBC Worldwide disclaimer reads "© BBC Worldwide (year in roman numerals)".

FX/SFX: The colored streaks, the merging and the boxes and notice fading-in.

Music/Sounds: A somber and creepy 9-note piano piece followed by the sound of a choir holding the final note.

Music/Sounds Variants

  • A low tone version of the music exists. On this version, the music comes in when the green and blue streaks merge.
  • On the "Five Doctors" variant, a spinning whirl sound is heard when the Time Scoop steals the BBC logo.
  • At the end of the 1997 VHS of Diana: A Celebration (one of the last tapes to use this logo), it is completely silent. This also occurs at the beginning and end of the UK VHS of the same release, as well as Poldark Series 1 Volume 1.
  • On some re-releases (mainly from those that originaly contain the 1984 version of the 1980 logo), if you listen very closely, you might hear the 1984 music from the 1980 logo playing faintly over the logo and warning screen, due to poor plastering.

Availability: Appears on some BBC programs tapes from the era, like Series 1 of Yes Prime Minister. The Doctor Who variant is also included on the 2008 DVD release of "The Five Doctors", not as the opening logo, but as an Easter egg. To find it, go to "Special Features" on Disc 2, then highlight "Nationwide" and go left. This logo is intact on the DVD release of Wallace and Gromit in Three Grand Adventures from DreamWorks Home Entertainment (around 2004, but not seen on the later HiT Entertainment reprint). This weirdly also appears on Netflix prints of A Blackadder Christmas Carol, possibly due to using a video master; presumably, it also appeared on PBS broadcasts of the same, as the CBS/Fox release followed this with the BBC Lionheart Television logo. It can sometimes plaster previous logos on re-releases, and is seen on all Pingu tapes at the time in the UK (Barrel of Fun used the last logo though, although a rare print contains this logo instead). A silent variant (with the 1993 copyright date) is included at the end of the UK DVD of Poldark Series 1 Volume 1 released by Playback in 2003 due to coming from the 1993 video master. The closing logo (with the 1994 copyright date) is included at the end of the DVD of Doctor Who: More Than 30 Years in the Tardis from the Doctor Who: The Legacy Collection DVD box set released in 2013. The closing logo (with the 1995 copyright date) is included at the end of Red Dwarf Smeg Outs on the Red Dwarf: Just the Smegs UK DVD released in 2007.

Editor's Note: It's known as one of the more ominous logos in the logo community due to its somewhat depressing music and black background, combined with the strange-looking BBC logo and limited animation; however, it is a great logo.

4th Logo (1992-1997)

Nicknames: "Streaks of Death 2.0", "Bring Out the Caskets II", "Streaks of Peace", "Blue, Red, and Green II"

Logo: Against a white marble background, three black boxes swing in from the right. As they turn sideways, the letters "BBC" enter each one. Once the logo is formed, three colored streaks (one blue, one red, and one green) pass under it and leave similarly colored lines under the boxes. Finally, the word "VIDEO" (in gray) appears under the completed logo. Everything seems to be italicized, even the boxes.

FX/SFX: The flying letter boxes; very modern animation.

Music/Sounds: Same as the 3rd logo.

Availability: It only appears on American home video releases of BBC programs, such as Absolutely Fabulous. This logo was used in tandem with the other one. In the UK, it was recently discovered on the VHS release of Red Dwarf V.

Editor's Note: Its music is still ominous, but the brighter environment and more dynamic movements make it calmer.

5th Logo (October 1997-2009)

Nicknames: "Square Boxes", "Rainbow Smoke", "BBC Ribbons" "Calm BBC", "Blue, Red, and Green III"

Logo:

  • Opening: On a navy blue background there are several ribbons going from top right and top middle of the screen and the bottom middle of the screen highlighted in red, blue, and green. The current 1997 BBC logo (in white) fades in.
  • Closing: Same as above, except when the BBC logo fades in, the BBC Worldwide copyright disclaimer and copyright date fade in.

Variants:

  • Sometimes, the logo can be in widescreen; also, the ribbons move differently. This is mostly seen on recent DVDs.
  • Occasionally, the BBC logo in the copyright info is replaced by a text version.
  • An extremely rare variant (presumably a prototype) exists, where the ribbon is thicker and only moves a little bit before looping. The background is also black and the BBC logo is slightly different, with shorter squares and black text.
  • On The Best of BBC Comedy, instead the text "BBC Worldwide & The Sunday People Present The BBC Comedy Collection" appears in Gill Sans. BBC Worldwide and The Sunday People have their logos represented instead, and they, along with "BBC Comedy Collection" are much larger. An announcer also is present, saying "You're watching The Best of BBC Comedy, a hilarious compilation prepared exclusively for readers of The Sunday People."
  • Starting in around 2004, the BBC copyright stamp doesn't have "BBC" in its print logo anymore.

FX/SFX: The ribbons moving.

Music/Sounds: A calm synth-string/harp theme with a hi-hat clash that's actually a slightly more upbeat arrangement of the 1990 theme. For the logo's first year, the theme was slightly different. The "prototype" variant is silent.

Availability: Common. Seen on VHS tapes and DVDs released by the company prior to 2009. One of the last releases to use this logo was the Warner/2Entertain Region 1 DVD of Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection - Remastered. The 2000 closing variant is strangely seen on the 2005 Region 4 DVD Release of Wallace and Gromit: 3 Cracking Adventures (possibly because the master is likely taken from the original 2000 UK DVD release, it is also likely a reprint of the original 2001 region 4 DVD). The "prototype" was found on a 2001 Italian VHS print of Teletubbies: Tubby-Toast! The 2020 Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 26 (UK/Australia)/Doctor Who: Sylvester McCoy Complete Season Three (US) Blu-ray box set retains this logo on the alternate 1998 VHS cut of the Doctor Who serial "Battlefield".

Editor's Note: This logo is a favorite of many, especially in the UK. There's debate that this logo was originally going to be for the 1988 BBC logo due to the colors being prominent with it, but was changed at the last minute.

6th Logo (2009- )

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Nicknames: "Flashing Box", "Colour Concentric", "Purple BBC"

Logo: A red screen flashes in a red lens flare, and it causes a BBC squares logo to appear, this time in a small, purple background. The background then glows in red as several flares in different colors, suddenly flashing one by one, light the BBC logo. The effect of flashing also appears on circles that left. The color in the background changes each time a flash appears.

FX/SFX: The flashing, the background changing colors, and the lighting up of the BBC logo.

Music/Sounds: A synthesized tune accompanied by strings, organs and drum beats.

Availability: Current. Can be seen on BBC home entertainment releases since 2009.

Editor's Note: A decent logo, but it's not as popular as previous ones from the company.

7th Logo (2017- )

Logo: We see several white lines stretching and forming a star-like shape, then these separate (explode) and disappear, leaving some of the dots moving, while the BBC logo appears in the center. The dots disappear after a few seconds.

Variant: A shortened variant which starts with the "explosion" can be seen at the start of post-2017 episodes of Doctor Who whenever they are shown as well as streaming and international prints of some BBC shows such as Top Gear.

FX/SFX: The lines and dots moving, the fading of the BBC logo.

Music/Sounds: A creaking sound, which is later accompanied by an orchestral theme.

Availability: Current.

Editor's Note: Somewhat plain compared to past BBC Video logos.