BBC Two '1991–2001' idents

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This article is about the set of idents used on BBC Two between 1991 and 2001. For more of the channel's identity before and after this timescale, see the channel's section within the History of BBC television idents.
Paint, the first and last of this series to be broadcast.

The BBC Two '1991–2001' idents were broadcast from 16 February 1991 until 19 November 2001, and again (in modified form) from 9 July 2014, on BBC Two in the United Kingdom. The idents, which consist of a sans-serif '2', accompanied by the colour viridian,[1] were created by branding agency Lambie-Nairn[2] (and later, BBC Animation & Design), who also created the Channel 4 logo.

The ident package was retained following the corporate rebrand of the BBC in 1997 with a new logo and new idents commissioned.

Conception[edit]

The newly-recruited BBC2 controller, Alan Yentob, noticed that the then-logo for the channel, which featured the word 'TWO' in red, green and blue within a white background and the 'O' being white, was affecting the reputation of BBC2. Surveys commissioned realised that most viewers thought the new look "dull" and "worthy". He then decided to commission a worthy successor capable of displaying the personality of the channel, revealing his thoughts in the How Do They Do That? episode - about the idents.[1][3][4]

I realised there was a problem almost as soon as I took over the channel [BBC2]. It was obvious that the logo [TWO] made absolutely no impact. In fact, it was something anyone could have told you. It was singularly unmemorable, and told you nothing about the personality of the channel. So we decided to commission a corporate design company to do some research.

—Alan Yentob[4][5]

The idents were designed by branding expert Martin Lambie-Nairn,[2] and first aired on the same day as the BBC1 virtual globe ident, also designed by Lambie-Nairn as part of a corporate rebrand of both channels.

We took this '2', actually, and you think to yourself "Well, there's nothing special about this". But there is something special about this, actually. It's a very distinctive '2'. It has very sharp bits on it and it's rather nice and fat. The reason we wanted that particular '2' is because we wanted to do things with it. So, you need lots of '2', lots of body on the '2' in order to achieve that.

—Martin Lambie-Nairn[4]

Idents[edit]

The idents featured a sans-serif '2' in a variety of different forms and environments usually accompanied by an element of the colour viridian and accompanied by a static corporate logo DOG below the '2'. Another DOG often used with the look was a small '888' legend in the top right of the screen. This meant that subtitles were available to accompany the programme on Ceefax page 888. Following the 1997 rebrand, the BBC logo was changed, with the word TWO added after the logo at the bottom of the screen. The '888' legend was also phased out, to be replaced with 'Subtitles' following the uptake in digital television and the increased use of the new BBC Text service. A section of the TV programme How Do They Do That? that was broadcast in 1995 described how the graphics and sound of some of the idents were created.[6]

The new idents commissioned after 1997 placed less emphasis on the use of the colour viridian and the bell/harp music. Later on, as the Internet began to grow, the URL of BBC's website (www.bbc.co.uk) was included in idents on-screen in January 2000.[7] The idents, Predator and Christmas 2000 were put back in use in 2006 but were withdrawn in February 2007 due to a rebrand. In 2012 BBC 2 NI used a combination of bell music, from several idents to create the titanic ident. These were created using perspex, motion control and a camera. As of July 2014, due to the 50th birthday of the channel, multiple idents from the series have been put back in use. They have semi-permanently replaced the main Window on the World package, sometimes in tandem with the 50th Birthday idents from the current series.

Regular[edit]

1991–1997[edit]

Title Air Dates Description
Paint 16 February 1991 – 19 November 2001;
28 July 2014 – present (Northern Ireland)[8]
Paint featured a white polystyrene '2' on a black & white background, splashed by a blob of viridian paint which hurtles in horizontally from the right side of the screen. In this ident's soundtrack (entitled "Wind Time"), the paint is heralded by a steady cymbal crash as it comes into view, reaching a peak upon contact with the '2', followed a two-note resonant sound, symbolic of the dripping paint. This illusion was created by moving the '2' and the camera onto its side by 90 degrees anti-clockwise, to make it appear as though the paint was falling sideways.[9]

The first showing of this ident as well as the first showing of the whole run, coincidentally or not, did not feature the DOG as it would later show the 1991 and later on the 1997 corporate logo, subtitles indicator (originally 888 then later on "Subtitles") etc.[1] It was both the first and last in this series of idents to be broadcast. This ident made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in February 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand;[10] and four months later was shown on both Network, Wales and Northern Ireland for their 90s Night, later being used in that version for the Afternoon Classics strand.[11] It also may be a Northern-Ireland only ident for the 50th anniversary.

Edited in October 1997.

Water 16 February 1991 – 19 November 2001;
31 July 2014 – present (Northern Ireland)[12]
This ident featured an aqua-coloured '2' on a background of the same colour, half submerged in a pool of water at a 45 degree angle. Using a similar method to Paint, the '2' and camera are both at 45 degrees, giving the impression of the water flowing diagonally when the shot of the '2' is upright. Wind instruments and reverberated ethnic percussion featured in the audio, enhancing the atmosphere. One of the four original idents to be shown throughout the run of the whole series. This ident made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in March 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand,[10] and also may be a Northern-Ireland only ident for the 50th anniversary (it aired with a blue DOG).

Edited in October 1997.

Blade 16 February 1991 – 19 November 2001;
1 August 2014 – present (Northern Ireland)[13]
One of the four idents to last the entire run, Blade featured a sharp, metal '2' falling into a viridian-coloured block and impaling it on its edge, standing and wobbling. Audio is a short, sharp cymbal crash with slow attack, subtly changing tone and fading out as the '2' has pierced the block. This ident was brought back as a Northern Ireland only ident for the 50th anniversary.

Edited in October 1997.

Neon 16 February 1991 – 19 November 2001;
1 August 2014 – present (Northern Ireland)[14]
Originally known as Sign, it had a '2' on a black background with seven viridian neon lights attached to it, flashing in random sequences. The soundtrack matched the timing of the lights as they flashed on and off.[15] It was one of the four original idents to be shown throughout the entire run. The Neon ident's music was repeated at Christmas 1995 with the Christmas BBC2 idents that year featuring Wallace and Gromit and the 2 ident covered in fairy lights – the music was played in time with the fairy lights flashing. This ident made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in April 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand;[10] and two months later was twice shown on Network for their 90s Night, later being used in that version for the Afternoon Classics strand.[11] It also may be a Northern-Ireland only ident for the 50th anniversary.

Edited in October 1997.

Copper Cut-Out 16 February 1991 – 31 December 1999 As the title suggests, it featured a copper cut-out of a '2' off of which sparks flew, as the figure glowed at its edges. This was punctuated with a loud, distinctive metallic clang sound in the audio, which overlaid a gentle, major chord pad.

Edited in October 1997 but was withdrawn at the end of 1999 along with Silk, Firecracker, Diary and Steam. This ident returned on 28 October 2013 for the Network and Wales airings of the Afternoon Classics strand.[10] It is likely it will make an appearance soon in Northern Ireland for the 50th Birthday of the channel, however not as likely as others.

Glass 16 February 1991 – 31 October 1993 Featured a glass-cut '2', which reflected light — with some noticeable viridian colour — in various directions. Soundtrack consists of a resonant bell-like chime, between lighter bells paired with breathy sounds, giving a relaxing feel. It was one of the first to be taken out of service, along with Paper Cut-Out, but was played by accident once in the North West in about 1996/1997. However, this ident continued in Northern Ireland until the 1997 revamp. A digitally-remastered, widescreen version was shown multiple times in Northern Ireland in October 2014, for the celebrations of ninety years of the BBC giving coverage to the region.[16] It is unknown if it will appear for the Afternoon Classics or generic/50 Years coverage.
Silk 16 February 1991 – 31 December 1999 This ident included a swathe of viridian silk literally drifting over the top of a '2' shape, as if they were ocean waves. Haunting wails and loud bell tolls to form a dramatic soundtrack, conjuring up imagery of the '2' as a sinking ship. The jingle used in Neon is also heard in the audio. Along with Copper Cut-Out, Elements of the jingle was reused for the titanic ident in 2012. However it is only used in Northern Ireland [17] This ident made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in March 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand,[10] and it is highly likely it will make an appearance soon in Northern Ireland for the 50th Birthday of the channel.

Edited in October 1997 but was dropped from the line-up at the end of 1999 along with four other idents.

Paper Cut-Out 16 February 1991 – 31 October 1993 Paper Cut-Out featured a completely grey, paper-like foreground, with a '2'-shaped cut-out in the middle. The background behind it featured a colourful blue sky, with white clouds. The audio track is minimal, with faint drums and a high-pitched, tweeting melody, heavy on repetition. It was one of the first to be taken out of service, along with Glass.
Black & White Copper Cut-Out 16 February 1991 – 3 October 1997 This ident was the black-&-white equivalent of the original Copper Cut Out with viridian sparks flying off the '2'. Was withdrawn from the line-up in October 1997, when the BBC corporate logo was revamped.
Shadow 16 February 1991 – 3 October 1997 A simple ident, showing the cast shadow of a slowly rotating '2' on a viridian wall. The soundtrack shares some note similarities with Paint and Glass, albeit is not as minimal, with hints of percussion and greater variety and prominence in the chords. Was withdrawn from the line-up in 1997, when the BBC corporate logo was revamped.
Water Reflection 16 February 1991 – 3 October 1997 A subtle variation on Water, the light was altered in such a way that it cast a reflection of the water line onto the top half of the '2'. It also had the same audio as Water. This was also withdrawn before the 1997 corporate logo revamp along with four other idents.
Garden 1 March 1991[citation needed] – 3 October 1997;
21 May 2001 – 19 November 2001; 1 August 2014 – present (Northern Ireland) [18]
Garden depicted a circular patch of grass in the middle, from which sprouted several white flowers that formed the shape of the '2'. Introduced as a regular ident in 1991 for a series of gardening programmes and few normal show, albeit with different music. The soundtrack originally had a remix of Water between 1 March 1991 and 25 October 1992, but from 26 October 1992 onwards, upon its big change was given its own soundtrack with the music being quite similar to that of Car a year later in 1993, small sound of bells to begin with and gets louder when the '2' rises from the patch. It was withdrawn before the 1997 corporate revamp, however it was brought back again for the 2001 Chelsea Flower Show, and again in Northern Ireland for the channel's 50th Birthday.
Powder 26 October 1992[citation needed] – 19 November 2001;
31 July 2014 – present (Northern Ireland)[19]
This featured a birds-eye view of the '2' falling onto a bed of white powder, revealing a layer of viridian powder beneath it, left streaked around the '2' as the stray particles clear away. Red and blue lights were cast onto the figure as it fell. The audio track has a sharp, cymbal-like effect as the '2' is falling, and this culminates in a deep cymbal crash as the '2' hits the surface, along with a sustained bass note. The soundtrack continues in the aftermath of the crash, with a faint, deep texture accompanying the bass, although this would have been rarely heard, due to the track usually being faded down for continuity by that point. This ident made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in February 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand;[10] and it also may be a Northern-Ireland only ident for the 50th anniversary. It also aired in Wales that April, for the anniversary of BBC Cymru Wales.

A variant for celebrating 30 years of BBC2 had the background a cake with "30" on it; the 2 is blue and instead of powder flying away, cream flies away. It, unusually, has the same tune as the regular Powder ident. The following year, Centenary was shown, which saw a 2 plunging onto a bed of film, only causing it to bounce on the film.

Edited in October 1997.

Optics 26 October 1992[citation needed] – 19 November 2001;
23 July 2014 – present (Northern Ireland)
Optics included many optical fibres of mainly viridian and green colour, swaying from side to side, initially with great momentum but slowly and eventually settling into the shape of the '2' symbol. The slow-tempo audio (entitled "Inhale") was atmospheric, carried by warm melodic sounds and a deep bass note, with a high choir pad towards the end. Along with Powder, this was one of the first new idents to be added to the roster in 1992, and it was to be the joint-second-longest-running ident and would last for the rest of the series until the 2001 rebrand. Before the BBC Re-brand in 1997, apology screens would be made with a still image of this ident. The first of the idents produced with CGI, Optics was also the last ident to be played out with the slanted BBC logo in the early hours of 4 October 1997. This ident made a comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in February 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand,[10] and it also may be a Northern-Ireland only ident for the 50th anniversary.[20]

Edited in October 1997.

Car 1 November 1993[citation needed] – 19 November 2001;
18 July 2014 – present
One of a new series of idents introduced in 1993. It featured a viridian '2' with an aerial moving about on wheels in a yellow studio, in the same manner as a remote-controlled car. The car noise varies in pitch as it whizzes around at varying speeds. It's possible that this inspired the 2001-2007 series of idents.[21] Two variations were made: one with the car coming from the left hand side (the more common version) and one coming from the right hand side. The former variation made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in April 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand;[10] and two months later shown in Wales for the 90s Night.[11] The same variation has been brought back in July 2014 for the channel's 50th anniversary,[22] and was one of a few to air in its 50th Anniversary form in Northern Ireland before showing in Network and Wales (alongside Woodpecker, Duck, Zapper, Dog and the currently Northern Ireland-only idents),[23] being the second (after Dog) to show on Network afterwards two days later.[24]

Edited in October 1997.

Dog 1 November 1993[citation needed] – 19 November 2001;
22 July 2014 – present
Also known as "Fluffy Dog". This ident included a fluffy green '2' whirring, yapping and doing back flips in the manner of a toy mechanical dog. The bassline of the audio track is the same as that heard in Copper Cut Out. Along with Car, this was one of the first new idents to be added to the roster in 1993, and allegedly replacing Glass and Paper Cut Out, it was to be the joint-third-longest-running ident and would last up for eight years until the 2001 rebrand. There was also a special variant where the '2' turned into a scared piece of cotton, it was seen during a Monster Night from 1998. This ident made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in March 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand;[10] and three months later shown in both Wales and Northern Ireland for the 90s Night.[11] This ident has been brought back in July 2014 for the channel's 50th anniversary,[25] and was one of a few to air in its 50th Anniversary form in Northern Ireland before showing in Network and Wales (alongside Woodpecker, Duck, Zapper, Car and the currently Northern Ireland-only idents),[23] being the first of those to show on Network afterwards the next day.[26]

Edited in October 1997.

Balloon 1 November 1993[citation needed] – 3 October 1997 Another of the more simple idents, Balloon featured a silver, helium-filled balloon in the shape of a '2' bobbing around gently in a fixed spot. This was withdrawn in 1997 to avoid a clash with the BBC One 'Balloon' idents.[27] The music for this sequence begins with similar ethnic percussion to Water, and, in the middle, an ascending flute trill is heard. A bongo drum could also be heard supporting the soundtrack. Two versions of the ident were made: one with the music starting with the percussion, and one with the music starting with the trill, the latter being more common.
Crystal Ball 1 November 1993[citation needed] – 19 December 1993 Also known simply as "Ball", this was rarely seen ident that was introduced as one of the 1993 idents, Crystal Ball was inexplicably dropped after just a month before Christmas. It featured a crystal ball rolling across a blue, purple and green background, revealing a distorted image of a '2' as it passed over the middle of the screen. One possible explanation for its removal so quickly after launch was the similarity between it and the BBC One 'Virtual Globe' ident. It's also rumoured that the ident was pulled due to the reduced visibility of the '2', which was only in view for a split second. For it's soundtrack (entitled "Abstraction"), a sparse minor chord composition overlays subtle howling effects, lending a mystical feel.
Firecracker 1 November 1993[citation needed] – 31 December 1999 Also known as "Firework", this ident featured a viridian '2' on a rusty-looking brown desk, with live firecrackers attached to it. The firecrackers go off, launching the '2' towards the camera, before it is pulled back into place by an attached cable — which can be clearly seen after the final explosion. The final firecracker actually fails to go off. The featured soundtrack (entitled "Puff Ball") starts with a rich, deep orchestral texture as the fuse burns down, then as each firecracker goes off, it is paired with a simultaneous crash and musical note — while both during the explosion and in the aftermath, windchimes play a waltz through the piece.[28] The notes played during the explosions are vaguely similar to what became BBC Two's signature tune from 2001–2007. This ident made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in March 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand;[10] and three months later was shown in the region for their 90s Night.[11] It is highly likely it will make an appearance soon in Northern Ireland for the 50th Birthday of the channel.

Edited in October 1997 but was withdrawn at the end of 1999 along with 4 other idents.

Diary 1 February 1995[citation needed] – 31 December 1999 This ident featured a white '2' on a black background, with paper layers peeling off and drifting away. This was originally meant to have several layers quickly peel off, but instead looped the same four layers in different directions due to tangling wirework.[29] The music (entitled "Harmonic Beauty") consists of a gentle E-minor chord-scale piece, led by a harp on single plucked notes, plus very faint, high-pitched strings. This ident along with Steam were the last regular idents to be added to the line-up before the 1997 revamp. This ident made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in March 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand;[10] and three months later was shown in the region for their 90s Night.[11] It is highly likely it will make an appearance soon in Northern Ireland for the 50th Birthday of the channel.

Edited in October 1997 but was withdrawn at the end of 1999 along with four other idents.

Steam 1 February 1995[citation needed] – 31 December 1999 This featured a viridian-coloured, metallic '2' of extremely hot temperature, as a ring of syringes dispensed water droplets which fell onto and around the figure. Any drops landing on the boiling '2' instantly evaporated into steam, and upon impact were accompanied by a tinkling sound on the audio track. The soundtrack bore a strong resemblance to that of Optic, only with a D# chord progression, with four synth-lead notes in order to create an atmospheric feel. This ident along with Diary were the last regular idents to be added to the line-up before the 1997 revamp. This was also the first surviving regular ident at the time of the BBC Revamp on 4 October 1997 to feature the new logo. This ident made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in March 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand,[10] and it is highly likely it will make an appearance soon in Northern Ireland for the 50th Birthday of the channel.

Edited in October 1997 but was withdrawn at the end of 1999 along with four other idents.

Like Firecracker, the four notes played at the beginning of the ident are vaguely similar to what became BBC Two's signature tune from 2001–2007.

1997–2001[edit]

Title Air Dates Description
Aerial 4 October 1997 – 19 November 2001;
23 July 2014 – present (Northern Ireland)
Aerial featured a dark green '2' with aerials attached to it in a red studio, appearing in random places between flashes of static, before finally appearing in the centre of the screen. The soundtrack is slightly similar to Car (which aired in 1993 from the previous era), featuring notably prolific use of harp sounds, albeit in the D-chord-scale as opposed to the F#-chord-scale in Car. This was the first ident to be shown with the then-new "BBC TWO" legend. This was one of the new idents to be added to the line-up after the 1997 revamp along with Duck, Paint Pot, Zapper and Gorilla. On 21 June 2014, the ident was shown in Wales for the 90s Night.[11] It is currently being used as a Northern Ireland only ident for the 50th birthday.[30]
Duck 4 October 1997 – 19 November 2001;
21 July 2014 – present
This ident depicted a soapy setting, from which a yellow '2' resembling a rubber duck emerged, giving a little squeak. Later showings of Duck has the 'BBC TWO' DOG's colour changed to black in order to be visible on the lighter background. This ident has been brought back in late 2014 for the channel's 50th anniversary, with a white DOG,[31] and was one of a few to air in its 50th Anniversary form in Northern Ireland before showing in Network (which happened in the early hours on the 26th)[32] and Wales (alongside Woodpecker, Car, Zapper, Dog and the currently Northern Ireland-only idents) [23] Three stings exist of this - all three have been shown in Northern Ireland.
Paint Pot 4 October 1997 – 19 November 2001;
27 July 2014 – present[33]
In a parody of the original Paint ident, a silver paint pot is bombarded by lots of little viridian '2's, once again falling sideways.[34] The music is similar to Paint, with some slight changes to the score. Usually, apology screens were made on this ident. This ident has been brought back in July 2014 for the channel's 50th anniversary,[35] often airing as the lead-in to Newsnight, and some people think it is out of place (outside Northern Ireland) without Paint showing alongside it.
Zapper 4 October 1997 – 19 November 2001;
25 July 2014 – present
This featured a fly zapper in the shape of a '2' upon a wall. A fly is attracted to it, but the zapper breaks on contact and the fly buzzes away, leaving a smoke trail behind it. Behind the sound effects of the zapper is essentially the same audio as Sign. This ident made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in March 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand;[10] and three months later shown in the region for the 90s Night.[11] This ident has been brought back in July 2014 for the channel's 50th anniversary,[25] and was one of a few to air in its 50th Anniversary form in Northern Ireland before showing in Network (on 7 August[36]) and Wales (alongside Woodpecker, Duck, Car, Dog and the currently Northern Ireland-only idents).[32]
Gorilla 12 October 1997 – 19 November 2001 There were two variations on this ident. A gorilla stands up a yellow '2' in one ident, named Gorilla Shadow and knocks it over in the other, named Gorilla Tantrum. Originally a special ident for a wildlife programme, it became a regular symbol. The music (entitled "Forest Canopy") is the same for both idents, and is suitably jungle-themed. It is highly likely both idents will make an appearance soon in Northern Ireland for the 50th Birthday of the channel.
Swan 19 January 1998 – 19 November 2001;
9 July 2014 – present
Introduced at the start of 1998, it featured three white '2's swimming past a clearly bemused swan, which shakes its head shortly after. The soundtrack was of mid-slow tempo, no percussion, with harp and a rich, dreamy background texture. This ident made a 2014 comeback on BBC Two Northern Ireland in February 2014 for the Afternoon Classics strand (with the 1991-1997 logo);[10] five months later, this ident was the first of two (alongside Predator/Venus Fly Trap) to have been brought back in July 2014 for the channel's 50th anniversary.[37] As of the 2014 comeback, it is the one aired most often. A sting exists where the swan 2s swim away from the swan.
Dalek 13 November 1999 – 19 November 2001; 19 August 2014 – present (Northern Ireland) Originally a special ident for Doctor Who Night, its popularity meant it went on to join the roster of regular idents. It featured black & white Daleks in the shape of '2's moving between a grey corridor. The audio intro draws inspiration from the style of the series' famous theme tune lead. A variant on this ident, named Exterminate, has the sequence opening with the Dalek '2' shouting the familiar phrase. Both variants have aired for the 50th birthday of the channel in Northern Ireland.[38] It is also believed this may have inspired the 'Invisible Walls' Ident in the next batch some 4 years after the introduction.
Excalibur 1 January 2000 – 19 November 2001;
31 July 2014 – present (Northern Ireland)[39]
One of six new idents to be introduced at early 2000, Excalibur featured a cerulean-blue '2' rising from a pool of water sideways, à la Paint. As the '2' emerges, stray droplets of water fall off the '2' and back into the water, causing (vertical) ripples, with each drop that hits the water being accompanied by a finger cymbal-esque note on the soundtrack. This only ident did feature the cerulean, not the viridian. It was the last in this series of idents to be broadcast on BBC Two Scotland. It also may be a Northern-Ireland only ident for the 50th anniversary.
Catalyst 1 January 2000 – 19 November 2001;
31 July 2014 – present (Northern Ireland)[39]
Catalyst features a turquoise polystyrene '2' on a dark teal & white background, in this ident, a bunch of liquid droplets fly in from the top right corner of the screen and cause flames to flare up around the '2' on contact. This is heralded with the sound of dramatic, blaring horns. The flames die down after about 16 seconds, revealing the 2 to be completely undamaged, before the cycle starts again. It also may be a Northern-Ireland only ident for the 50th anniversary.
Wave Day 1 January 2000 – 19 November 2001;
23 July 2014 – present (Northern Ireland)
Originally called Wave, this featured a dark cyan '2' within a sheet of blue liquid that splashes around it throughout. The soundtrack opens with a three-note melodic synth chime that features occasionally thereafter, and the sound of filling water serves to enhance the visuals. It is also a Northern-Ireland only ident for the 50th anniversary.[40]
Predator 1 January 2000 – 19 November 2001;
22 May 2006 – 18 February 2007;
9 July 2014 – present
Predator begins centered on a '2'-shaped butterfly sitting within a jungle environment. The camera then zooms out, and the '2' is gobbled up by a larger green '2' in the form of a Venus Flytrap. The audio starts off quiet and gentle, but then builds to a crescendo as the butterfly '2' gets swallowed, before returning to quietude. This ident was later revived (albeit with the then-current look) in mid-2006 (renamed Venus Fly Trap), and remained in occasional use until the entire set was revamped in 2007. This along with the Christmas 2000 ident (used for the 2006 Winter Olympics between 10–26 February) were the only idents to be revived in the 2001-2007 set. This ident was the first of two (alongside Swan) to have been brought back in July 2014 for the channel's 50th anniversary thus making this the only ident to be revived twice in 2 different sets.[37] The ident usually appeared before (and still does as of both comebacks) programmes about gardening and horticulture.
Kebab 1 January 2000 – 19 November 2001;
27 July 2014 – present[41]
Kebab has a '2' made of meat on a kebab spinning. It has a new Eastern soundtrack (entitled "Arabian Freakact"), differing slightly in each variation. There were 3 variations where the kebab was in different stages of cooking. The ident has been brought back for the channel's 50th birthday in a new variation[42] - the variation currently airing is a mixture of Version 1's visuals with Version 3's music.[43] The ident usually appeared before (and still does as of the 2014 comeback) programmes about food and cooking. As well, a sting exists.
Woodpecker 1 January 2000 – 19 November 2001;
21 July 2014 – present
This ident depicted five metal poles, of varying distance, against an orange background. Viridian '2's edge their way down the poles in the same manner as a mechanical woodpecker. The soundtrack features a fitting whistled four-note jingle, vaguely similar to what became BBC Two's signature tune from 2001–2007, amongst the drilling of the woodpecker '2's; all of this overlaying an F#/A major chord pad. As well as being shown in Wales for the 90s Night on 21 June 2014,[11] this ident has been brought back in July 2014 for the channel's 50th birthday,[25] and was one of a few to air in its 50th Anniversary form in Northern Ireland before showing in Network (on 11 August[44]) and Wales (alongside Car, Duck, Zapper, Dog and the currently Northern Ireland-only idents).[23] As well, a sting exists.
Wave Night 2 September 2000 – 19 November 2001 Introduced in the last half of the year, it was a retake on the original Wave (Day) ident. It now featured a darker background and liquid pool, with a bright cyan '2'. The side(s) at which the liquid rose were also reversed, for example starting up the left side instead of the right. The soundtrack was the same as the original Wave Day, with some changes to the filling water sound effects. This was the final ident to be added to the regular roster before the entire set was revamped in 2001. It is likely it will make an appearance soon in Northern Ireland for the 50th Birthday of the channel, but not as likely as the others.

Special[edit]

Since 1974, BBC Two has aired special idents for use at national celebrations such as Christmas. The Christmas idents were changed annually throughout this period (except for 2001 where the channel would have rebranded prior to Christmas of 2001), and were seen as a Christmas tradition for BBC's 1 and 2 to produce a new Christmas package on an annual basis (This tradition was broken in 2003 when BBC One reused the previous year's ident, and in recent times when the same ident was used alongside BBC Two for 4 Christmases consecutively). In contrast, Halloween and St. Valentine's Day idents were only produced between 1991 and 1997. As well as the Holiday idents, many other special idents were produced, mainly to introduce themed nights of programming on the channel, or specific programmes.

1991–1997[edit]

Title Air Dates Description
Made in Japan 14 September 1991 The animation starts with a Japanese "2". A smoke effect billows out, and the Japanese "2" dissolves through to the usual "2". Audio was the same as Paint.
Pop Art 5 October 1991 Some very random animation. Audio was the same as Glass.
English 15 October 1991 A tea-cosy appears in the centre of the screen which is removed to reveal the "2" as a teapot. Hilda Ogden style ducks can be seen on the wall.
Christmas 1991 Christmas 1991 A wrapped up 2 set against a cloudy night sky with stars and the moon interacting and looking.
Rembrandt Week 3 March 1992 The "2" is part of the eye in a self-portrait of Rembrandt. It starts as a pencil sketch, and as the camera pulls back, we see the artist's hand adding detail to the painting in a series of mixes, until the finished portrait is revealed.
One Day in the Sixties 7 March 1992 – 4 September 1993 The ident had suitably groovy music to accompany it, as the various small squares alternated randomly between 60s imagery and the familiar "2".
One World 27 March 1992 The globe is a flat disk which starts the sequence side-on, rotating 90 degrees along its vertical axis, until it faces the camera. Coloured powder "blows" on to the disk, finally forming the image on the left. The sequence is obviously the reverse of how it was shot - the powder was blown off the disk as it rotated away from the camera. Audio was the same as "Paint".
Wet and Windy 9 May 1992 This ident was used for heavy weather programmes during Saturday evenings of May 1992. The cyan moon-shaped "2" is reflected in the window, which bangs open and shut the door in the wind and rain.
Billboard 11 May 1992 In time-lapse, a man on a ladder pastes the advertising billboard with sheets of paper, finally revealing the complete picture - a large "2". Audio was similar to Copper Cutout.
Edinburgh Nights 14 August 1992 This ident was used for programmes during the 1992 Edinburgh Festival. A red curtain both opens, then an aqua-coloured "2" welcomes to the stage and steps in to the spotlight.
War and Peace 3 October 1992 A "2" made of barbed-wire forms around a single poppy.
Halloween Night 31 October 1992 The Halloween Night special consists of three idents. The first was a parody of Paint, in which red blood splashes on the 2, and then cut off by a chainsaw.

The second ident for "The Vault of Horror" night of programmes features the 2 electrocuted by jump cables.

The third ident, a parody of the Ghost sting, featured the 2 covered in white cloth and stabbed by a knife.

Christmas 1992 Christmas 1992 A red 2 appears as fairy lights on a Christmas tree.
A Night of Love 13 February 1993 The "2" symbol rose out of the water, with its reflection making the shape of a heart.
Birth Night 27 February 1993 An ultra-sound scanner showed not a baby, but a "2".
Crime and Punishment 16 May 1993 A shot of a prison cell from above shows light from the "2" shaped window with bars across. It was revived in 1997 lineup as a sting.
After Margaret 27 October 1993 A "2" is fixed to the door of Number 10 Downing Street after it slams the door. Audio was the same as Powder.
Animated 2 1 November 1993 – 16 November 2001 This special ident was introduced in 1993 before animated and cartoon programmes, a black "2" with a piano falls from the sky accompanied by piano music and crashes to the floor before displaying the 2 in its place and the Animated letter being formed above on the top left hand side. It was withdrawn in 2001.
Christmas 1993 Christmas 1993 A metallic coloured 2 is hoisted up atop a Christmas tree by hobbit like creatures.
30th Anniversary 16 April 1994 This appropriately named ident was used on 16 April 1994 to celebrate BBC2's 30th Birthday. The "2" plunged down from a great height (like "Powder", and with the same audio) with cream splattering everywhere.
Moon 28 June-2 July 1994 Another appropriately named ident was used between 28 June and 2 July 1994 to celebrate Neil Armstrong's landing on the moon for 25th Anniversary. The "2"-shaped spacecraft lands on the moon. Audio was the same as Optics, albeit with astronaut sounds.
Shakespeare 16 October 1994 This special ident is used for a month of seasonal Bard on the Box programmes. A potato-shaped "2" suddenly appears from the black cauldron after 5 seconds of magical myth.
Berlin Wall 29 October 1994 Another special ident was used to coincide with the season on Berlin and the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The Great Berlin Wall in the mid-center of a "2" gets hoisted away by a crane to reveal a 2-shaped hole and see a dark blue sky background in the center area of Berlin.
Christmas 1994 Christmas 1994 A large yellow 2 in a dome against a tundra landscape.
Centenary 7 January-31 December 1995 This ident was used in 1995 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of cinema and film. The "2" plunged down from a great height onto a bed of film and cinema tapes.
Christmas 1995 Christmas 1995 Wallace and Gromit accompany a 2 covered in fairy lights while sat at Christmas dinner. As with Neon, the music plays in time with the fairy lights flashing.
Christmas 1996 Christmas 1996 A wizard walks on clouds in the sky, before spinning and turning into a 2 made of stars.
Mars Weekend 4 July 1997 It starts in close-up on the "2" Martian surface, then zooms out to reveal the full scene, with the flying saucer blipping in and out of view. The soundtrack sounds suitably Martian! There were two versions - one with the flying saucer, and one without. This was the final new ident before the channel's revamp in October 1997.

1997–2001[edit]

Title Air Dates Description
Christmas 1997 25 December 1997 A white 2 in a snowglobe. A few variants with the faces of BBC Two's Christmas lineup appearing as reflections in the snowglobe were made; however, only one (with the cast of Shooting Stars) was shown.
Red Dwarf Night 14 February 1998 A series of five idents, each used on "Red Dwarf Night" in February 1998. Each ident was transmitted only once. Unfortunately BBC Presentation made a mess of the first one, fading up half a still on top of the image.

The theme is a love affair between the "2", which has a red antenna sticking out of its head, and a skutter, one of the mechanical robot service droids on board Red Dwarf. The theme of a love affair was fitting, as it showed that Valentine's Day. Idents show the 2 rejecting the skutter's passes, the 2 and skutter at a cinema date in which they noisily share a soft drink, disrobing to have sex (complete with saxophone theme), getting married and, finally, the 2 giving birth to their children.

Evolution Weekend 27 March 1998 The single ident was animated by starting with the still image of a "2" in clear water. A stone is dropped causing large ripples in the water. We see the reflection of a monkey peering into the water, as it morphs into an ape, early man, and into modern man before he moves away to reveal the "2" where we started. Further ripples are seen with just the "2" visible.
Christmas 1998 25 December 1998 A green fairy moves back to reveal the 2 atop a Christmas tree with surreal white and green colours.
Millennium 1 January–31 December 1999 A camera zooming down on an hourglass reavels that many little 2's are falling instead of sand, counting down to the new millennium.
Christmas 1999 25 December 1999 A similar theme to last year, and the first ident to feature the bbc.co.uk URL. The 2, complete with wings, knocks the fairy off the tree before taking her place, a christmassy view from the cities against a cerulean background as the 2 with wings sits well at the top of the Christmas tree.
It's Scary Out There 29 January 2000 The ident features an empty graveyard. The camera then zooms further into the graveyard until a giant '2' pops out of nowhere, and the camera zooms back.
Simpsons Night 23 June 2000 Two idents that were produced for Simpsons night. The first one was a parody of the show's opening titles, showing a yellow coloured '2' cracking the camera recording it. The second shows a power cut in the Simpsons household. The Simpsons family are all '2's.
I Love 1970's 22 July 2000 An orange '2' appeares in a lava lamp before disappearing moments later.
X-Files Night 13 November 2000 – 19 November 2001 3 idents were created for use throughout X-Files night, two joined the regular roster of idents (Camcorder and Super 8) however the third was only used on the night. It is possible either Camcorder and Super-8 will make an appearance soon in Northern Ireland for the 50th Birthday of the channel.
Christmas 2000 25 December 2000 Two small white 2's skate on top of, and fall off, a huge ice-covered 2 against a blue background. This ident was reused for the 2006 Winter Olympics and sporting programmes. Due to the 2006 use, it possible this will serve as the Christmas ident for the 50th Birthday of the channel (2014).
I Love 1980's 13 January 2001 The '2' would be seen dancing to a song of Don't You Want Me by The Human League from the featured 1981 ident. In the 1986 ident the two can be seen kissing the television screen.
Comedy Zone 26 February 2001 A series of three idents with a caricature of Anne Robinson behind a blue, techno-like background with 2s behind her. In one ident she is shown dancing to Kelis' Caught Out There. Those idents also doubled up as continuity announcements, as the voiceover would match the Robinson caricature's mouth movements.
Star Trek Night 16 September 2001 Also known as 'Teleporter'. This ident was originally a sting, the '2' can be seen teleporting. This was the last ever ident used for one of BBC 2's themed nights.

Stings[edit]

During the run of the idents, there were also quick, usually humorous short animations shown before the trailers known as 'Stings'.[citation needed] Examples included a 2-shaped pancake landing in a frying pan, a '2' performing stunts on a bicycle, or a set of spinning plates in the form of the '2'. These were sometimes themed to suit a particular event, such as sport coverage; for instance, a set of snooker balls racked in the '2' shape. Animations were also created to match the theme of a year's Christmas symbol. During the 1995 Christmas period, for example, a set of short animations featuring Wallace and Gromit were used, along with a similarly themed ident.

These 'sting' animations were usually only a few seconds long and, particularly from the 8th March 1993, the '2' would become a character rather than a symbol, an idea that was carried on for the BBC Two yellow idents from 2001.[citation needed]

Since 19 August 2014, BBC Two Northern Ireland has been airing a selection of stings from the set.[35] Three days after, Network followed suit.[45] Bizarrely, only ones related to idents have been shown (Sub, Jaws and Ducks, Woodpecker, Swan Change Mind and Kebab).

Further references[edit]

  • The 1991-1997 version of Powder was aired in the titles of the 3rd National Television Awards on 8 October 1997 on ITV. This was the final broadcast of this version, and it had ceased to exist on BBC Two some days before. It was only a second long clip of the ident.
  • The B.F.T. titles from Children's BBC in 1991 featured a small recreation of the Blade ident in the opening titles.
  • 'Glass' appeared as part of a spoof BBC Two programme menu sequence in 1994 comedy series The Day Today, which aired shortly after the ident had been removed from regular network use.
  • A British Pizza Hut advert from 1994 parodied the idents greatly. The advert started with the Paint ident. A man appears, presumably the "painter", and tells the viewer about a new offer at Pizza Hut, before splashing the screen with paint while doing the 'Hit the Hut' hand motion. This then changes to a family eating in Pizza Hut as a big '2' falls down from nowhere and pierces into the table (a parody of Blade), and the family say "that could take someone's eye out". The advert closes with a version of the Powder ident with the Pizza Hut logo replacing the '2'.
  • The '2' features in the opening titles of BBC Two shows Top of the Pops 2 and BFT2
  • In 2013, the Copper Cut-Out was re-aired for the 'Afternoon Classics' block. When the block ran again in 2014, BBC Two Northern Ireland re-aired several of the '1991-2001' idents including Dog, Optics, Paint, Powder, Swan (which used the 1991 slanted BBC logo rather than the Gill Sans BBC Two from 1997 until 2001), Zapper, Neon, Silk, Steam, Diary, Car, Firecracker and Water. Some of the idents were transmitted in error as part of the 50th Birthday re-airings explained below.[46] Alongside it was the 40th Birthday ident from the 'Personality 2' set.[47]
  • In 2014, Powder was re-aired on BBC Two Wales as part of the 50th anniversary of BBC Cymru Wales.
  • On 21 June 2014, BBC Two had a '90s Night' which showed programming from and dedicated to (in the case of I Love '96) the 1990s. Various idents from this set were aired including Paint (the only one shown in all three regions), Neon (Network only), Firecracker (Northern Ireland only), Dog (Wales and Northern Ireland only), Copper Cut-Out (Network only), Aerial (Wales only), Zapper (Northern Ireland and Wales only), Car (Wales only), Diary (Northern Ireland only) and Woodpecker (Wales only).[11]
  • In July 2014, BBC Two have semi-permanently brought back a selection of idents from the set to run alongside the 50th Birthday set from the 'Window on the World' package, complete with the 50th Birthday dog. The first two, Swan and Predator, were brought back on 9 July.[37] Later in the month, as well as the month after, Car, Woodpecker, Duck, Paint Pot, Kebab, Zapper and Dog were added. Aerial, Paint, Catalyst, Wave Day, Excalibur, Powder, Water, Neon, Dalek, Exterminate, Optics, Blade and Garden have all been shown in Northern Ireland, and they may potentially be shown in other regions later in the year if it continues, as one or two more or are rumoured to be added later in the year.[35] The date has not been announced for when they would end, but a BBC spokesman said two months after re-introduction that "the plan is to keep these retro idents on air for the foreseeable future and into 2015."[48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "BBC Two | 1991 Idents". TVARK. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  2. ^ a b Lambie-Nairn, Martin (1997). Brand Identity for Television: With Knobs On. Phaidon. p. 129. ISBN 9780714834474. 
  3. ^ Lambie-Nairn, Martin (1997). Brand Identity for Television with knobs on. London: Phaidon. p. 122. ISBN 9780714834474. 
  4. ^ a b c tvlivevideo. "BBC2 1991-2001 Idents / How Do They Do That?". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  5. ^ Lambie-Nairn, Martin (1997). Brand Identity for Television with knobs on. London: Phaidon. p. 112. ISBN 9780714834474. 
  6. ^ "How Do They Do That? (extract)". BBC. 1995. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "Our Work Archive". Lambie-Nairn.com. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-09-12. 
  8. ^ "BBC Two 50th Year Presentation: 90s idents return! Split from BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards - Page 19 - Post 927018". TV Forum. 28 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014. "Also its seems Paint has been used by NI today." 
  9. ^ alwardemshire (1991-04-20). "How did they did the BBC2 1991-2001 Idents 1". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j LP401C (2014-06-23). "BBC TWO - 90s Night - Network & Nations Presentation 21/06/2014". Youtube. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  11. ^ "BBC Two 50th Year Presentation: 90s idents return! Split from BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards - Page 22 - Post 927402". TV Forum. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014. "Note the blue logo, rather than white or black." 
  12. ^ "BBC Two 50th Year Presentation: 90s idents return! Split from BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards - Page 23 - Post 927473". TV Forum. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014. "Blade shown on NI, before Saints and Scroungers." 
  13. ^ "BBC Two 50th Year Presentation: 90s idents return! Split from BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards - Page 23 - Post 927464". TV Forum. 1 August 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  14. ^ alwardemshire (1991-04-20). "How did they did the BBC2 1991-2001 Idents 2". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  15. ^ http://www.tvforum.co.uk/forums/post936486#post-936486
  16. ^ PresIdents1970 (2012-08-27). "BBC Two Northern Ireland - Titanic". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  17. ^ http://www.tvforum.co.uk/forums/post927533#post-927533
  18. ^ "BBC Two 50th Year Presentation: 90s idents return! Split from BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards - Page 22 - Post 927367". TV Forum. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014. "Powder shown on NI, before Bargain Hunt." 
  19. ^ "BBC Two 50th Year Presentation: 90s idents return! Split from BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards - Page 14 - Post 926447". TV Forum. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014. "BBC2 NI used Optics and it looked great." 
  20. ^ "BBC Two | 2001 Idents". TVARK. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  21. ^ "BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards". TV Forum. 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  22. ^ a b c d "BBC TWO NI - Fiftieth Anniversary '90's 2s' Symbols - 22/7/14". ThePresentationAnorak. 2014-07-22. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  23. ^ "BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards". TV Forum. 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  24. ^ a b c "BBC Two Rebrand And Onwards". TV Forum. 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  25. ^ "BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards". TV Forum. 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  26. ^ "BBC 1 and BBC 2 Balloons". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  27. ^ alwardemshire (1991-04-20). "How did they did the BBC2 1991-2001 Idents 3". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  28. ^ alwardemshire (1991-04-20). "How did they did the BBC2 1991-2001 Idents 4". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  29. ^ "BBC Two Rebrand And Onwards". TV Forum. 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  30. ^ "BBC Two Rebrand And Onwards". TV Forum. 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  31. ^ a b "BBC Two 50th Year Presentation: 90s idents return! Split from BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards - Page 17 - Post 926793". TV Forum. 26 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014. "Duck shown on Network, before The Saint Meets The Tiger. (... and Zapper shown last night on NI, before In The Electric Mist)" 
  32. ^ "BBC Two 50th Year Presentation: 90s idents return! Split from BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards - Page 18 - Post 926927". TV Forum. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014. "Paint Pot shown on Network, before The Gay Falcon." 
  33. ^ Jimwoodward1212 (1999-04-16). "BBC 2 Paint-Pot Ident". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-11-25. 
  34. ^ a b c "BBC Two Rebrand And Onwards". TV Forum. 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  35. ^ http://www.tvforum.co.uk/forums/post928368#post-928368
  36. ^ a b c The Ident Gallery (2014-07-12). "BBC TWO Special Presentation (7)". The Ident Gallery. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  37. ^ http://www.tvforum.co.uk/forums/post929638#post-929638
  38. ^ a b "BBC Two 50th Year Presentation: 90s idents return! Split from BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards - Page 22 - Post 927380". TV Forum. 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014. "NI showed Excalibur before Flog It, and Catalyst before Pointless. Edit: Water on NI, before Pembrokeshire: Coastal Lives." 
  39. ^ "BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards". TV Forum. 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-07-23. 
  40. ^ "BBC Two 50th Year Presentation: 90s idents return! Split from BBC Two Rebrand and Onwards - Page 17 - Post 927022". TV Forum. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014. "This is a surprise. Kebab came back yesterday!" 
  41. ^ "BBC Two | 2001 Idents". TV Forum. Retrieved 2014-07-22. 
  42. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BV05moi3wB4
  43. ^ http://www.tvforum.co.uk/forums/post928810#post-928810
  44. ^ http://www.tvforum.co.uk/forums/post929905#post-929905
  45. ^ http://www.tvforum.co.uk/forums/post927767#post-927767
  46. ^ The Ident Gallery (2014-04-03). "BBC TWO Special Presentation (7)". The Ident Gallery. Retrieved 2014-04-17. 
  47. ^ Hill, Jane (13–19 September 2014). ""Your RT: Feedback"". Twice as Nice. Radio Times: Media Company London Ltd. p. 167. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
TWO
BBC television idents
16 February 1991–19 November 2001
Succeeded by
Personality 2s