Pre Children's BBC
Prior to the launch of Children's BBC on 9 September 1985, BBC1 had used some branding for its children's strand. The origins of CBBC can be found in the "Children's Hour" of the original BBC Television Service, and ever since programmes have been included regularly in the schedule. Prior to 1985, Children's programmes received no special idents and continuity was done out of vision by the duty announcer. However, between programmes, some special branding was put in use to reflect better the audience they were serving.
Throughout the 1970s, the programme caption was changed to a blue and yellow variation featuring the faces of a boy and girl, as well as references to other programmes; Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout, Scooby-Doo, as well as title cards and logos to Play School and Blue Peter. The slide was in fact coloured by the NODD system used to produce the globe at the time. The slide was later changed in 1981 to a group of children staring at the caption in excitement, following the change of globe. Promotions now featured slides of balloons, with the programme name in the centre, and occasionally accompanied by the official static captions.
Just prior to the launch of Children's BBC, the last few months were marked by the use of a BBC Micro B computer to generate computer animations for the children's strand. Such animations were used to introduce programme, such as a spider spinning down onto a detonator triggering the words Hello from BBC1, and to link into promotions for further programmes, such as a group of sky divers falling from a plane to spell out a 'Later' caption. However, despite the graphics, programmes were still directly introduced by the BBC1 Globe, albeit occasionally accompanied by a choice of two different 14 note synthesized tunes. These animations were brought about as a temporary measure while Children's BBC was becoming operational.
The first ident for Children's BBC once again made use of the BBC Micro B computer. The design featured the word 'Children's' on top of a large sprawled 'BBC' made up of the three colours red, green and blue. In ident, each letter of the BBC animated in to the four note electronic soundtrack, with the Children's scrolling across afterwards. It originally had a blue background, but this was changed to black after a few months. The letters were also all turned yellow in autumn 1986, and were set against a white background whenever programmes were broadcast on BBC2.
Continuity was provided by a host of Children's BBC presenters who would appear in-vision from the Continuity Booth of the specific channel. The presenter would talk, interact with other characters, and view children’s pictures and letters, many of which would end up on the dressed back wall of the booth. For times when Children's BBC aired on BBC2, the presenter would appear in-vision; however the booth was not dressed with Children's BBC branding and was instead plain. The presenter would make a light heart of this however; Philip Schofield occasionally dressed in a dinner jacket for these occasions, joking that he did this because BBC2 was more high-brow. Promotions were of no particular style, with the promotion usually voiced by the duty presenter and featuring only the programme name and title at the bottom of the screen.
In 1987, the BBC Micro ident was replaced by one created using stop motion animation. In this ident, each of the letters of the word 'Children's' was allocated an image beginning with that letter. These images - a car, a horse, an ice cream, a lighthouse, a duck, a rocket, an elephant, a number nine and a ship - would all be drawn on screen by yellow wispy lines, which after drawing all the animals would animate out to draw the 'BBC' caption. This ident was played out from tape, as opposed to the live BBC Micro ident. These pictures also appeared on other Children's BBC items, such as stationery: letters sent from the Children's BBC office to children would have these images superimposed upon the background of the document. The ident was commissioned to mark the departure of Philip Schofield from the, now nicknamed, 'Broom Cupboard'.
During this time, the presenters began to devise new ways of filling the time slots, with competitions and features taking precedence. Alongside these new additions, changes were being made to BBC Presentation, and the Broom cupboard itself. In 1989, the continuity booth was equipped with NICAM digital stereo, and as a result in-vision Children's BBC presentation was moved temporarily to a smaller studio, nicknamed the 'Boiler Room'. Upon the return to the Broom cupboard, a new set, new schedule and new symbol awaited them.
The new ident was generated live on air by an Acorn Archimedes computer. The new ident featured a glossy, gold version of the familiar stylised BBC text, with Pale green text for the 'Children's' caption and a dark green background superimposed with small stylised CBBC's in the same font as the main 'BBC' section of the logo. The ident formed up through the use of zig-zag lines and concentric circles, which continued to move around and between the letters.
On 16 February 1991, BBC1 and 2 both re-launched with corporate branding packages based on a Virtual Globe and the antics of a numeral 2. Both packages had a similar promotional design and both featured a large numeral above a BBC logo at the bottom of the screen. As part of this relaunch, Children's BBC also received its own symbol based on this design. It was implemented at the beginning of the academic year in September 1991. The new symbol took the emphasis away from the 'BBC' and placed it firmly with the 'Children's' part of the name. This new logo featured a large neon style letter replacing every other letter in the 'Children's' name, with the exception of 'D' which had a neon strip curve around the letter. This appeared against a dark background of an assortment of colours and accompanied by an upbeat soundtrack accompanied in some versions by a voice saying phrases such as "Tell that aardvark it's a wrap" and "Essential viewing coming up". The original electronic beat music was seen as too slow and dull originally, and so was replaced soon after.
Accompanied with the new look, the Broom cupboard received a makeover with new neon signage matching the new logo as well as the presenters name in a similar style to the logo. In addition to this, Children's BBC also received a corporate styling for promotions, slides and menus. Promotions were kept the same as the channel they were broadcast on, however the menu and slide design was unique. The slide design, in line with BBC1 and 2, featured a sidebar down the left hand side of the screen, with the channel logo located in the top left hand corner of the screen, above a BBC corporate logo. The Children's BBC slides however, also had the Children's BBC logo inserted sideways into the sidebar, and images from the ident featured as the background to programme menus. These slides and menus were used prior to a start-up into Children's BBC, and for promotional use outside of Children's BBC itself, for example after the morning strand was completed.
This logo remained with Children's BBC until 1997, however the ident itself changed within half that time. In 1994, Children's BBC moved out of the Broom Cupboard forever and into the small, but roomy by comparison, studio of Pres A. To mark the move, CBBC, as it was becoming increasingly known informally by the presenters, commissioned a new ident. Launched on 26 September 1994, the logo remained, however was rendered in 3D and set at a slight angle and formed in chunks. This was accompanied by a 3D BBC logo located in the bottom right corner of the screen, and set against a brightly coloured background of yellows and greens. This was later replaced by a version on a yellow background, with a 2D grey BBC logo.
Throughout this era, a variety of logos were produced by BBC Manchester's Graphic design department for use, that featured computer generated animations or cartoons and would include the Children's BBC logo in it somewhere, either as a whole or in part, and often accompanied by the BBC logo. These later logos and idents include:
- Alien - A farmers field is shown, with an alien spaceship hovering above and a scarecrow standing in the fields. The scarecrow turns around to reveal an alien in its place, and the shot pans out to the field with 'Children's' inscribed in it, and the BBC logo on the spaceship.
- Bee - A bumble bee encounters a venus fly trap, which it then swallows, before turning into the black and yellow BBC logo and the 'Children's' letters falling from above.
- Boy - Letters from the 'Children's' jump out from his face in various orders, and when the boy opens his mouth, the 'Children's' can be seen on his uvula, dangling from the roof of his mouth, with the BBC logo on his tongue.
- Christmas Rooftop - on a winter's night (with the flashing grey 'Children's' logo in the dark). Father Christmas twists a few times in a chimney (with the 'Children's' logo on the sack next to the chimney.) and boings up high into the sky, the reindeer stands in the chimney a few seconds and then Father Christmas crashes back into the chimney and the BBC logo appears on the grey paving slabs on the roof after the snow slides off the roof and the reindeer has a couple of giggles behind the rooftop.
- Christmas Tumble- Father Christmas strolls along the snow and then boings out of sight when letters of the 'Children's' logo [and a couple of presents] fly in all directions, then Father Christmas gasps when he sees the 'Children's' logo electrocuting on the reindeer's antlers while the reindeer hold the BBC logo between his teeth.
- Cow - Four cows are seen standing on small balls of grass, the last of which blows a bubble, containing the 'Children's' logo, with the BBC logo contained in three flowers.
- Egyptian - In Egypt, a mummy walks past where the lizard sits on the coffin, a lid opens and bandage comes undone one by one the letters of the 'Children's' inside and a lizard dances an Egyptian dance.
- Frankenstein - a sad monster looks out of the window, Thunder rumbles and lightning crackles as the machine contains the 'Children's' logo, The monster cheers himself up by pulling every lever of the machine whilst electrocuting himself.
- Jazz - The Children's BBC logo is seen split vertically, and stretched directions, against a plain blue background and a jazzy version of the soundtrack.
- Mechanical Dogs - Metal, mechanical dogs bark at letters of the 'Children's' raised on metal stilts above them, which come together to form the logo. The BBC logo is on one of the dogs.
- Otis the Aardvark Paint- A cartoon version of Children's BBC puppet Otis the Aardvark, paint a picture and the logo is in the middle of the painting.
- Otis the Aardvark Toffee - A cartoon version of Children's BBC puppet Otis the Aardvark, eats toffees out of a tin, and gets his nose caught in the tin. The logo is on the bottom of the tin.
- Pig - A live piglet roams around an area with numerous 'Children's' imposed on the floor, and just as many BBC logos imposed on the back wall. Various shots of the pig end with the Children's BBC logo on the pigs rear.
- Princess & Frog - A princess kisses a frog, turning her into a variety of objects including a cow and a pair of pants, before becoming a frog. Another kiss turns both into the Children's BBC logo, before the changes continue.
- Sculptor - A man in a toga sculpts a block of stone with the BBC logo carved into it. However he hits too hard, resulting in the stone crumbling away to reveal the 'Children's'. The man then himself crumbles into a delighted child.
- Singing Fish - Two fish sing a short song about how good Children's BBC is, while the other holds up the words. The Children's BBC logo appears on the back wall.
- Space - A spaceship flies round planets, before crashing into a moon, leaving the Children's BBC logo to circle to wreckage.
- Surfboard - A man surfs on a board, before falling off, sending a large wave into shore, which washes up the Children's BBC logo
- Teen's Bedroom - A teenager straggles out of a messy bedroom into the hall. While he is gone, the numerous letters of the logo, the BBC logo, and the logo of the channel it is on all appear in different locations around the room. The same is repeated when he staggers back in.
- Underwater - A diver appears inside a fish bowl, only to reveal the bowl is underwater, inhabited by an Elvis fish.
In addition to these, some were used for certain programmes, such as Saturday Aardvark, which used bubbles with letters of the 'Children's' on them, and the Breakfast show. Originally this utilised a personalised TV screen with CBBC ident displaying in the viewer, but was later replaced by a cereal box that poured out Children's BBC logos, BBC logos and logos from some of the programmes. BBC Scotland also had their versions of the CBBC idents, same as CBBC expect with 'Children's BBC Scotland" being used at the end. They were used for the first three weeks of the Summer before MegaMag and Up for It! from 1994 - 1997.
On 4 October 1997, the new BBC logo was launched by the corporation, and all of the BBC's channels and services received a makeover. CBBC was no different, with a new logo and idents package to match a newly refurbished set for TC9. The new logo was seen everywhere on every channel in near identical design, so that the BBC's output was centralised, and as a result CBBC's logo featured a 'C' added in front of the BBC blocks logo, with the name of the service added after, be it CBBC One, CBBC Two or later, CBBC Choice. Whereas before, CBBC tried to portray the end of one service, and the beginning of another, this look made it feel like CBBC was taking over that service.
The new idents all featured a yellow and black colour scheme, and featured a two-dimensional animation based around a surreal concept, an interesting design, or an adventure scene. Promotions for the service featured the same promotional style as the other services, with the CBBC logo at the bottom and the programme and channel details centred at the bottom for widescreen, which came later in c. 2000. Also getting a makeover was the set in TC9. Again following the yellow and black theme, notable parts include large CBBC logos extending upright the columns, a large video wall made up of 12 televisions, and a desktop computer used to promote the CBBC website.
- Blobs - Black blobs, similar to those found in a lava lamp, are seen rising up the screen.
- Cat and Bird - A bird pecks around in seeds and crumbs before finding a worm stuck down a hole. Pulling the worm free, the bird finds out it is a cat's tail, who promptly chases after the bird.
- Cat and Mouse - The cat chases a mouse into its hole and lies in wait. The mouse emerges disguised under a leaf. The cat, impatient, sticks his head in the hole, allowing the mouse to get away.
- Dragon - A dragon scrambles up on to a rock, prepares to take flight, only to fall down to the bottom.
- Fish - A shoal of five fish swim across the screen, turn so they are only seen as thin lines emitting bubbles, before turning back across the screen. A longer version of this ident was produced.
- Frog - A frog, sat on a lily pad, spots a fly above him, sticks his tongue out to catch the fly, only to be pulled off into the air.
- Magician - A magician performs the act of pulling his own shirt off, as he attempts to pull something from his top hat, much to his embarrassment.
- Man and Dog - A man walks his fluffy dog on a lead. The dog however gets caught on a rock and unravels into a single line, much to the owners bemusement.
- Mole - A mole digging a tunnel comes to the surface to clear his glasses, before continuing on.
- Mouse - A mouse (out of breath) arrives on screen and comes up with the idea to take his ears off for wheels, his tail for handlebars and his nose for a seat, becoming a bicycle, then cycles quickly off the screen, the rest of its body looking like a bike racer. A still from this ident was used when they had technical difficulties at the time.
- Octopus - An octopus swims into view, spots the viewer, and hides himself in his own ink, allowing him to get away.
- Space Girl - A girl flying a spaceship in the Japanese Manga style.
- Snail - A snail moves on, checks nobody is looking, and quickly scratches his back by lifting his shell off.
- Spiral - Various swirls, spirals and circles all moving towards the screen.
- Tiger - A tiger stalks and hides in a jungle environment, and surprises the camera.
In addition to these idents, there was also idents for the programmes Saturday Aardvark and the CBBC Breakfast Show. BBC Scotland also had their versions of the CBBC idents, same as CBBC expect with 'CBBC TWO Scotland" being used at the end. They were only used for the first three weeks of the summer going into Up For It! and UKOOL Live from 1998 - 2001. Special idents were commissioned for Christmas and summer, when the 'CBBC HOT' name was used. An animation was also introduced for the end copyright, originally a coin spinning and falling over, this became numerous signs moving towards the viewer in c.1999. In 2001, CBBC switched to widescreen and as a result the branding was altered. Some idents were withdrawn entirely, while the rest were mixed in with others to form montages that were used instead. The music was also changed, with two versions now used: for CBBC's older viewers and for CBBC's younger viewers, in what would soon be called CBeebies.
On 11 February 2002, CBBC changed dramatically in both look and remit. The day marked the launch of the CBBC Channel, resulting in a new platform for the well-known brand. Also launched at the same time was the CBeebies channel and strand, resulting in CBBC's remit changed from 6–12 years of age, to 8–12 years. To mark both, a new identity was created for both to mark the occasion.
Designed by Lambie-Nairn, the bug idents featured green moving bugs that contained the BBC logo as well as purple, textured 'C'. The bugs could split into others, and would often be depicted either fighting amongst themselves, or as being split or separated multiple times. In-vision was still used, with TC9 being used for links on BBC One and Two, and the CBBC channel using TC2, however the set was changed to vivid backgrounds with blob shapes on, often with the idents playing in the background. Promotions also changed so branding only occurred at the end, at which a wavy blue banner at the bottom would flow it with programme details on, usually with a blob looking in from the side of the screen. The new channel also had a DOG featuring the BBC logo, with a Blob containing the 'C' only in front. The DOG was not used on terrestrial links, although a clock was occasionally added for morning links, either on its own or located inside a static blob.
The traditional bugs look lasted until the 30 of September in 2005, when the blob concept was redesigned. A single blob was now used: it featured a larger and plainer 'C' letter and was turned into a three-dimensional object, which would zoom around a screen often accompanied by a ball from which many arrows could point and later in closedowns it was shown the swirling circle would show at the pointing arrows until it would go to black.That style was changed so that the end screen changed to a single shot of the bug with the programme name below, and the DOG was also updated. In-vision continued to be used, however it was used less and less: CBBC moved out of TC9 in December 2006 to TC12, where the presenter would just stand in front of a bluescreen while only a fixed camera is used.
CBBC re-launched again in the autumn of 2007, with a new logo revolving around the letters of CBBC, each in a different style. A new set of idents followed these up, revolving around scenes including each of the 4 stylised letters before coming together at the end. These scenes could involve cartoon figures, or stars of current CBBC programmes. Numerous different styles were made involving the different scenes, and were added to regularly to reflect programmes. Children could also make their own versions, the so-called Mash Up, on the CBBC website, and indeed some of these were added to the main set. At the end of this sequence, a two-dimensional cartoon style endboard was added that contained the CBBC logo animating into place, against a white background with the green zig-zag lines of the look animating around the edge of the screen. This was altered in Autumn 2010, when the CBBC logo was given a 3D glossy look, and as a result the end boards were changed to a fully formed CBBC logo moving around on the green bars on the screen.
Accompanying these idents at the end of the CBBC strand or Channel, were two cartoon characters. These, in the form of a dancing fox and a hairy monster, would point out additional CBBC services. This would normally consist of pointing out the CBBC website and, if currently broadcasting, the CBBC channel. Promotions consisted of the video with the CBBC logo, programme title and times appearing at the end on the green zig-zag lines that accompanied the channel. This was altered in 2010, so the video would shrink into a box contained within the white and green lines where the CBBC logo now originated at the end of the idents. The programme title would now be overlaid the white background, rather than be incorporated into the design. The DOG for the CBBC channel was also changed to the new logo, however it retained its green colour scheme, and would often animate, with the letters popping out and in at regular intervals.
The new look was created by the Children's BBC marketing team, with Red Bee Media designing the new logo and idents, and Fallon, who created the new TV trails that were used prior to launch.
CBeebies was launched on the same day as the CBBC Channel: 11 February 2002, with an original age range of pre-school children only. Following changes within the BBC Children's department, this changed to ages up to 6, with CBBC targeting ages 6 to 12.
The idents for the channel, designed by Lambie-Nairn, are the same as at launch and consist of yellow blobs, the opposite to the green blobs launched with the CBBC Channel with a much younger feel, as befits the target audience. The yellow blobs would bounce around gently to each other in a brightly coloured and patterned environment, with the CBeebies logo located in the centre top of the screen. The soundtrack was also gentle, with children's voices calling out the channel name, and the whole look was deliberately meant to be parallel, but completely different from their sister channel, CBBC. In addition to these idents, some idents were created featuring the presenters bouncing the CBeebies logo around, and some which featured the blobs taking part in time related idents, such as sleeping on the moon in the bedtime hour or drinking milk at lunchtime. Some idents are specific to strands of programmes, such as Discover and Do.
CBeebies, like CBBC before it, make use of in-vision continuity links, however these are not presented by the CBeebies directors, but are recorded rather than broadcast live. The presenters make use of a large, colourful space with smooth lines and everyday objects, which is again appropriate to the age range.
Promotions originally featured a similar style as CBBC, with a pattered and coloured bar running across the bottom of the end of the promotion, featuring the title and CBeebies logo. This was changed c.2008 to three red, pattered curves overlapping each at the bottom of the screen. The CBeebies logo and programme name would be contained within the centre circle, with the left curve taken up by a yellow blob containing a clock with the time of the programme on, and the right occasionally containing details such as whether the programme was new. The channel also uses a DOG, in the form of the yellow CBeebies logo, which occasionally rotates to reveal a yellow blob.
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