BBC One 'Circle' idents

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The Hippos ident

The BBC One 'Circle' idents are a set of on-screen channel identities on BBC One since 7 October 2006. They also feature on the BBC Worldwide channel, BBC America. The idents contain images of circles being formed by nature, or people and their actions.


The Circles ident package was announced on the 26 September 2006 as the replacement for the 'Rhythm & Movement' idents that had been in use since Easter 2002. The previous idents were disliked by a large amount of the population, and when BBC One channel controller changed to Peter Fincham, he hinted in August 2005 that the dancers would be changed soon. He announced at the Edinburgh International Television Festival that "It may well be that the time is coming to look at a new way of doing it. No date or direct decision has been made but it's under review".

The new idents would come into force alongside a revised schedule for the channel. The idents themselves were designed and produced for the BBC by Red Bee Media and marking the end of Lambie-Nairn's time at the BBC after fifteen years. Imran Hanif composed the original music for all idents, having been selected from a shortlist of 12 composers and bands.

Components of look[edit]

All the idents revolve around a circular theme and all feature a scene which is revealed to end in a circle formation. The circle symbol was decided upon as a 'symbol of unity', but it was also a 'nod' towards the channel's heritage and in particular, the classic globe icon used in various styles for much of its history.[1] The idents would involve people, plants or animals moving, or whose interaction causes a circular shape, which is revealed at the end of the ident.[2][3] The circle would then be emphasized by white lines and a red eclipse animating around it and revealing the BBC One logo at the end.[2] The new BBC One logo featured a large lower case 'one' in the center of the circle, with a smaller BBC logo to the upper left of the 'one'.[2][3] The channel uses this logo on its idents and promotions, however uses a box logo, similar to the last look, for promotions where the BBC One logo appears alongside other channels. This boxed logo features the BBC logo above the lower case 'one' in a red box.[4] The box closely relates to the logos of BBC Two and BBC Four.

As with the previous look, no clock ident was used, a trend repeated across nearly all other channels in the UK, however the Generic, Helicopter, Capes and Kites idents may also be used for introduction into the news, following criticisms in the previous look that the dancers didn't have an ident suitable for this purpose.[2][3]

Promotion style features the BBC One logo appear at the bottom of the screen, before switching to the centre of a shaded red end-board, with the logo appearing in the centre. Static slides, now very much a rarely seen occurrence, feature the image as a cut out eclipse in the right hand side of the screen.[4][5]

In July 2008, the Kites, Moon, and Windows idents were dropped, but the Kites ident was reinstated on 2 May 2009.

On 2 May 2009, all the idents were made shorter with new adaptations of the original Imran Hanif music, with the exception of Generic, Hippos and Surfers.[2][3]

On 7 October 2014, the idents had their 8th anniversary.


Title Air dates Description
Bikes 7 October 2006 – Present A group of three motorcycle stunt riders ride the "wall of death". Filmed at Shepperton Studios and directed by Stuart Douglas, the ident features a lot of fast paced film work, as well as a slowed down top down shot of the motor cyclists.
Capes 24 August 2008 – Present Numerous people in colourful rain coats on bikes ride through a rain storm, as people watch, the sun comes out. The final shot shows all the bikers forming a rainbow-like circle at a roundabout. Filmed on public roads in London and a private car park at Earls Court. The Directed by Matt Losasso, This ident is used before all BBC One programmes shown on the BBC iPlayer and is often used to introduce the BBC News.
Dog Display 29 August 2008 – Present A pack of dogs doing circles tricks, including jumping through fire hoops, jumping over fences and weaving in and out of sticks laid out in a circle which then produces the 'BBC One' animation. Filmed in the garden of a stately home in Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire and directed by Matt Losasso.
Football 7 October 2006 – Present Filmed at the Haberdashers Estate in North London and directed by Howard Greenhalgh, a circle of footballers kick their balls in time into the centre, so smaller rings form inside the circle of players. Usually used to introduce sports programming.
Helicopter 1 January 2008 – Present An aerial shot of a helicopter landing on the top of Bishop Rock lighthouse in the Isles of Scilly. Three variations of the ident were launched including slower paced versions and shortened opening films. The soundtrack for this ident was the most sombre when launched, featuring a lone choir singer as its soundtrack, however since May 2009 the soundtrack was changed dramatically to be more upbeat. This ident often precedes the BBC News.
Hippos 7 October 2006 – Present Numerous hippoes swim around in a circular formation. Produced using a combination of computer animation and live action backgrounds and directed by Charlie Mawer and Mike McGee, this ident was edited for length in May 2009, but the soundtrack remained the same. The ident is mostly used prior to entertainment or daytime programming.
Kites 7 October 2006 – July 2008, 2 May 2009 - Present A group of kite flying enthusiasts gather together to create a circle effect with their kites. Filmed at Ynyslas beach in Wales and directed by Matthias Hoene, it was the first ident from the new package to be aired. This ident was withdrawn around July 2008 but was brought back in May 2009 with a more upbeat soundtrack. This ident is often used to introduce the BBC News.
Lawn Circles 14 July 2007 – Present A group of suburban housewives each mow a series of crop circles in to their lawns using a variety of mowers from different time periods, which form three large circles when viewed from above. Filmed in a residential garden in Netherne On The Hill, Croydon.
Magic Forest 16 June 2007 – Present The natural world, and a group of fairies come together to create a circle in the middle of the sunlit woodland. Directed by Matt Losasso.
Mission Control 16 June 2007 – Present A group of British scientists successfully launch a pod to land on a distant planet. Out of the pod emerges a curious rover that begins drawing circles on the face of the planet. Whilst the robot spins, a shadow of a circular spaceship glides into the robot's circle, making a perfect fit, and exits at the same speed not stopping and soon comes off camera. Filmed at Shepperton Studios and directed by Matt Losasso.
Moon 7 October 2006 – July 2008 People in fishing boats come together to form the moon out of separate sections. Filmed at the Kamenjak peninsula in northern Croatia and directed by Howard Greenhalgh, this ident is one of two idents that have been withdrawn.
Neon 13 October 2007 – Present Neon figures come to life, stroll down the centre street and take a ride on a ferris wheel. Shot in Blackpool, the ident was conceived by James Spence and animated by Brand New School, New York. The ident was originally used before programmes during Saturday evenings only, however this became a regular ident when it was edited in May 2009.
Pedal Power August 2009 – Present Numerous people use pedal power to light up the circle around the BBC One logo, displayed on a red board in the field. Directed by Grant Gee, this ident was launched to coincide with the first programme of Bang Goes the Theory.
Penguins 5 February 2008 – Present Originally the Christmas ident for 2007, Penguins enter and skate around an ice rink with other skaters. Altered for everyday use, it was aired without Christmas decorations and a new soundtrack based on Imran Hanif's original composition and definitive three note signature counter tune. The 2009 edit saw the music being edited again. It is used frequently, but not exclusively, during the Winter period.
Ring-a-Roses 7 October 2006 – Present Also known as Petals, a group of children are shown playing with the natural flowers in a meadow before joining hands to form a "ring-a-roses" dance. Filmed in Coton, Northamptonshire and directed by Stuart Douglas.
Surfers 7 October 2006 – Present Carlos 'Coco' Nogales and others ride a huge wave before crashing down after formation of the BBC One logo. Filmed at Puerto Escondido on the west coast of Mexico and directed by Howard Greenhalgh, this ident was edited for time in May 2009, but the music remained the same.
Television Centre 20 November 2010 – 22 March 2013 Members of the public dance in the circular courtyard of BBC Television Centre. It was launched to introduce Strictly Come Dancing, but has since been used to introduce other programming as well. When Television Centre closed down on 31 March, this ident now became out of date.
Windows 7 October 2006 – July 2008 Residents on a housing estate use their windows to reflect sunlight into a ring. Filmed at the Greenwich Millennium Village in south east London and directed by Matthias Hoene. This ident was withdrawn in 2008.
World Cup June 2010 – Present Spectators at a football match stand up and wave different colour banners in a circle pattern. The ident was introduced for use during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The ident was directed by Matt Losasso, and is now used prior to sport programmes.


Special Idents[edit]

In addition to the usual set of idents used throughout the year, numerous other idents have been added for special occasions, both nationally and in the nations and regions. Some of these are included below.


  • Snowball - Christmas 2006 and 2007 - A community coming together to build a giant snowball.[2] Filmed using various sized polystyrene snowballs, the largest of which was 6 metres (20 ft) high.[2] The ident first aired on Saturday 16 December at around 18:00, finishing on New Year's Day after BBC Breakfast when the original idents were restored.[2] This ident was revived for Christmas 2007 to run alongside the Penguins which also debuted on Saturday 15 December, and was last shown introducing 'Weatherview' on New Year's Eve 2007 around 02:00.[citation needed]
  • Penguins - Christmas 2007 - Filmed at an ice-rink in Romford, 3D animated penguins skate round the decorated ice rink alongside normal skaters. The ident first aired on Saturday 15 December at 18:10, and was last seen before linking into BBC News 24 on New Years Day at 02:25.[2] The ident was re-introduced in February 2008 as a regular ident.[2]
  • Wallace and Gromit's Runaway Sled - Christmas 2008 - Wallace and Gromit were the subject of the Christmas ident this year, due to their new adventure A Matter of Loaf and Death forming a part of the schedules. Gromit is seen pushing Wallace up a hill on a sled before Wallace slides down the other side of the hill and lands head deep in snow. Gromit then takes his place, performing tricks on the sled as it slides round the circular indented hill containing the BBC One logo. Written by Rachel Webb and James Spence and created by Aardman Animations using stop frame animation, the ident first appeared at 18:10 on 13 December. There are different versions of the ident: in one version, Wallace can be heard talking, whereas he is silent in another. A version was also made which preceded news and serious programming had slightly slower music, did not feature the characters and cut straight to the circle in view. The ident was last aired at 2:00 a.m. on 2 January 2009.[2]
  • Doctor Who - Christmas 2009 - David Tennant, as the tenth incarnation of the Doctor from Doctor Who, is the theme this year to mark the Doctor Who story "The End of Time", which would be Tennant's last appearance as the Doctor.[2] The ident sees the Doctor walking through a snowy forest, and using a herd of reindeer to pull his TARDIS free from the snow and to use it as a sleigh.[2] A news ident was also created featuring a darker sky, sombre music and all traces of Doctor Who removed.[2] The ident package first aired on 12 December at 18:45 and was last aired in the early morning of the 2 January.[2] However, the ident featuring the Doctor was withdrawn early at 6:45 p.m. on 1 January when the second part of The End of Time was broadcast, introduced by David Tennant himself. From that moment, David Tennant was no longer the Doctor, and the idents outdated, and so the news ident was used for the remainder of the evening.
  • Christmas Lights - Christmas 2010 - An ident showing people enjoying Christmas on the streets and turning on Christmas lights on the houses in a circular cul-de-sac. Variations featuring different starting films were used, as was a news version which went straight into the circular ending with slower music. The ident was first aired at 18:00 on 11 December, and was last seen in the early hours of New Years Day introducing the BBC News Channel.[2]
  • Consider Yourself One Of Us - Christmas 2011 - A mixture of idents were used this Christmas. The main ident featured many celebrities who would be featuring in programmes on the channel that Christmas, such as Sir Bruce Forsyth, Michael McIntyre, David Jason, Brendan O'Carroll, Frank Skinner, Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, a Cyberman, Graham Norton and The Outnumbered kids (Tyger Drew-Honey, Daniel Roche, Ramona Marquez) in a homefront setting with a crackling fire, singing "Consider Yourself" from Broadway Musical Oliver. After all the celebrities have appeared they all stand in a circle. The backdrop then disappears to reveal a snowy landscape and Carol Singers and sledgers gathring round them. They all sing together and look up into the sky. The circle is blurred out and large snowflakes start to fall from the sky as the logo forms. A news version was made which cut straight to the blurred out circle. Shortened versions were made, which showed a group of celebrities before cutting to a cake to make the circle. A final variant featured The Gruffalo as the theme to introduce and promote The Gruffalo's Child. The Gruffalo, with his daughter on his back, slides down a hill before crashing into the snow at the bottom, making a hole where the logo forms. The Gruffalo is seen interacting with his daughter on the right hand side. All variants featured instrumental music used in the main ident. The ident package originally debuted as a trailer 30 November after programmes until the ident was first shown on Saturday 10 December at 17:35. The main ident is currently the longest in ident history as the actual feature runs for 1:15 before the logo appears. The whole package was last used New Years Day 2012, the original idents were restored 8:00 that evening.
  • It's Showtime - Christmas 2012 - Reflecting the theme of the channel's promotional trailers for this Christmas season, the ident features a long line of sparkly dust forming a Christmas tree on the backdrop of a show curtain before forming the BBC One circle, with the BBC One logo itself re-painted in a shade of gold for the first time in the history of these idents. A second ident, to be used before the news, replaces the tree with an already-drawn snowflake that morphs into the BBC One logo and removes the background music. A longer version of the 'Snowflake' variant, with background music was later introduced, along with an additional ident that used fireworks as the backdrop to reflect the New Year. Special variants were also used to precede the film premieres of Shrek Forever After and The Princess and the Frog. First shown at 19:30 on Tuesday 11 December and was last used in the earlier hours of the 2 January 2013. The regular idents were restored later that day.
  • Have A Wonderful Christmas - Christmas 2013 - A sparkly-looking BBC One logo is drawn up on a sheet of wrapping paper, reflecting the theme used in the channel's promotional trailers for the festive season. Four versions were created for the look: one with robins on the paper, angels either side of Christmas trees, a kaleidoscope snowflake, and another that featured reindeer. A fifth variant was later introduced featuring baubles with the Toy Story characters inside, to reflect that the channel had all three films from the Toy Story series being shown over Christmas. A silent version of the snowflake ident (with just the sound effects) is used ahead of the news. At first, the Capes and Kites idents was used ahead of the news. First shown at 19:10 on Saturday 7 December, which was the earliest ever date for the launch of Christmas presentation in BBC's history until the following year, and was last used just before 23:15 on Tuesday 31 December. The regular idents and presentation were restored the following day.
  • Christmas Trees - Christmas 2014 - A set of idents based around popular TV shows being broadcast over the Christmas period, shown as Christmas trees. Three versions have been created, a blue TARDIS tree for Doctor Who, a glitterball tree with a dancing fairy for Strictly Come Dancing, and a cake tree with gingerbread men decorations for The Great British Bake Off. These idents consist of people coming together in a forest to decorate individual trees, then panning out, revealing the circular formation of the trees. A shortened version that features just the forest of trees is used to precede the news and other serious related programming (e.g. The Queen's Christmas Day Message). These idents were first shown at 20:15 on Saturday 6 December 2014 which is now the earliest launch date for Christmas presentation in the BBC's history and was last used at 23:15 on Wednesday 31 December. The regular idents and presentation were restored the following day, The Glitterball tree was the last one used.


  • Daffodils - 1 March 2007-2012, 2013-2015 - A special Saint David's Day ident used on BBC One Wales only. The ident used the 'Moon' ident music from 2007 to 2009; from 2010 onwards this was replaced by the edited 'Roses' ident music, which is an adaptation of Imran Hanif's original composition and definitive three note signature counter tune that has graced all the circle idents since 2006.[8]
  • Robert Burns - 25 January 2009 - Shown to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, this ident features two mice circling on an untidy heap of manuscripts, in reference to a poem by Burns, To a Mouse. Seen on BBC One Scotland only.
  • Ashes to Ashes - April to July 2009 & 2010 - Used to promote the second and third series of Ashes to Ashes, it featured the characters of the programme seated in an Audi Quattro set in 1982. It premiered on 11 April 2009 and was directed by Tim Pope and conceived by James Spence and Joe Lee.[8]
  • Glitterballs - November to December 2009 - Ident promoting and shown directly before Strictly Come Dancing. In this ident, the circle is centred around a glitter ball and uses a variation of the show's theme music as the ident's background music. First shown on 7 November and not seen after 12 December 2009.[2][8]
  • EastEnders - February to September 2010 - Ident promoting EastEnders' 25th anniversary, it features the regular cast members looking in amazement as the Albert Square turns into Albert Circle. Written and Directed by James Spence, it was first aired on Monday 15 February on the 25th Anniversary week, and continued to air at the start of most of the programmes to celebrate the 25th Anniversary year. This ident was last aired on the 10th of September following set changes as part of a story arc, namely the fire at the Queen Vic pub.[2]
  • Planet Dinosaur - Ident promoting the new dinosaur documentary series Planet Dinosaur. The ident uses an edited clip from the programme; a Camptosaurus is seen eating plants whilst the camera moves to reveal an Allosaurus, whose zoomed in eye is where the logo forms. It was used between September 14, 2011 and October 19, 2011, which was the series' run.
  • Wild Week - An ident used on the Wild Week season on BBC One Northern Ireland. The ident focuses on a duck and uses the Forest ident music.[10]
  • Frozen Planet - An ident used to introduce and promote the Frozen Planet documentary series. A group of penguins are seen. The logo forms around the sun.
  • Planet Earth Live - An ident used to introduce and promote the Planet Earth Live. Similar to Frozen Planet, the earth is seen, before the camera zooms in, to reveal a desert with birds and elephants.
  • St David's Day 2012 - Shadows of people walking towards the sunset are shown. Only seen 1 March 2012 on BBC One Wales. The soundtrack is the original unedited music from Forest.
  • Love 2013 - The BBC One logo gives way to a rippling background upon which is written 'LOVE 2013'. A variation was also made for spring entitled Love Spring.
  • Africa - The BBC One logo appears on top of an African night sky, and separately on a flock of flamingoes'.
  • BBC Won Wales 2013 - An aerial view camera zooms in onto the Millennium Stadium. A rugby ball can be seen flying out of the stadium, leaving behind it a trail of smoke. The camera pans around 180 degrees and after a firework explodes, 'BBC Won Wales' appears. March 2013.
  • BBC Onesie - A bunch of people dressed up in onesies walk up some curved stairs. 'BBC Onesie' appears. Used to link in Comic Relief 2013 back from BBC Two after the 10 'O Clock news.
  • The Voice UK - Special ident to introduce the second series of the talent competition, The Voice UK, in 2013. The four coaches (Danny O'Donoghue, Jessie J, Tom Jones and are seen in their revolving chairs before the camera rests on the view of the stage from behind the microphone.
  • Love 2014 - Similar to the Love 2013 ident, but with a different soundtrack. The BBC One logo gives way to a rippling background with the words 'LOVE 2014' written inside a heart shape. First used at 00:30 on New Year's Day 2014.
  • Torchwood: Children of Earth - The ident begins with different idents, but while it pans out, the screen loses signal, which is replaced things from Torchwood series in glitches.
  • Commonwealth Games 2014 - Panoramic views of the some of the venues of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are seen before the camera rests on the roof of the SSE Hydro where the BBC One logo forms. The music from the 'Capes' ident is used. Introduced the channel's coverage of the Games from 23 July to 3 August. Scotland continues to use this ident.
  • Enjoy 2015 - Various items and themes related to the month of January, such as high street store sales and a fireplace are shown before the BBC One logo appears on a plain red background, with a mug of cocoa in the 'O' of the logo. Another ident showing the two people riding at the ice skaters and the gloves showing the two are shown before the BBC One logo appears on a plain red background, with birds eating a suet ball that forms the 'O' of the logo. First seen at 00:30 on New Year's Day 2015 and was last Used airing into BBC News on the 1st February 2015

In addition to the idents above, some modifications were made to existing idents to promote other programmes. A chameleon, which caught and ate a fairy, was added to the Forest ident to promote Life in Cold Blood in February 2008;[8] and to promote the BBC One Wales series Rolf on Welsh Art, the Forest ident was again modified to have a paint like appearance. In addition to this, red noses were added to some of the hippos in the Hippos ident for Comic Relief programmes in 2007 and 2009,[8] and an animated Pudsey Bear was added to the Ring-a-Roses ident for the BBC Children In Need appeal for 2010. A modified vesion of Mission Control was made for Doctor Who episode The Bells of Saint John with the end of the ident appearing as if it had been hacked by the Shard. In preparation for the 50th Anniversary special of Doctor Who, The Day of the Doctor, various idents throughout November have featured a rewind effect, with the Eleventh Doctor intruding and informing the viewer that "the clock is ticking". A similar modification was made in August 2014, to promote, and which featured, the first episode to involve the Twelfth Doctor.

BBC America[edit]

The idents are also used on BBC America, the BBC's outlet in the United States. The BBC America versions of the idents feature the words 'One World' in the same font and position as the 'One' in the BBC One logo, before animating into their two line BBC America logo. These idents were cut down compared to the original British versions, however they retained their original soundtrack when the British versions were changed in May 2009.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hippos help revamp BBC One idents". BBC News Online. 26 September 2006. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Luxton, Simon. "BBC One 2006". TVARK. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Idents 1". TV Room. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Luxton, Simon. "BBC One 2006 Continuity". TVARK. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Miscellaneous 1". BBC One 2006-present. TV Room. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Idents 2". TV Room. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Idents 3". TV Room. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g "Idents 8 Special". TV Room. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  9. ^ Video of this ident
  10. ^
  11. ^ Ramsay, Greg. "BBC America". TVARK. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Rhythm & Movement
BBC television idents
7 October 2006–present
Succeeded by