BBC Two 'Computer Generated 2' ident

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The electronic 2 ident

The Computer Generated 2 was an ident used by BBC Two between c.April 1979 and 31 March 1986. It was the first computer generated ident in the world.

Launch[edit]

The ident package was launched during approximately April 1979. The ident was aired through a solid-state computer device, not unlike the one used later for BBC1's Computer Originated World, built by BBC engineers, and designed by Oliver Elmes. The concept of the double striped '2' had been around for a long time: following the two television channels dropping corporate branding, a similar look was adopted by both channels featuring double striped numbers and BBC letters. The doubled striped '2' had been in use on programme promotions since 1977 and on holding slides since 1978.

Components of Look[edit]

The ident itself featured a cream, double striped numeral 2, with two orange lines either side going off screen. The whole ident had the illusion of three dimensions, with orange shadows, all on a black background. The ident would either remain static, scroll in from the left hand side or scroll out to the right. The form up ident was accompanied by an electronic fanfare, which was dropped in 1983. A subtitled programme would be accompanied by the additional caption below the numeral stating 'Ceefax 270' and later following a change of page 'Ceefax 888'.

The clock which accompanied this new look was located in the BBC Two NODD room and comprised an orange clock face with counters of ever increasing thickness and with a 'polo' mint centre upon a black background. A plain orange and white 2D striped '2' logo was placed below the clock. The use of this old clock was due to the fact that the technology did not exist for an electronic timepiece, and would not until 1980, when an electric timepiece was finally obtained for BBC2. This new electronic clock had no second hand judder and had a changed design, featuring two dashes at the quarter hours and single dashes elsewhere. The polo mint centre was abandoned in favour of a simple centre dot, and the 3D striped '2' logo adorned the bottom of the screen, although it was unanimated.

Promotional style wasn't uniform, but generally featured the striped '2' in the promotion in one form or another, whether at the beginning or appearing on the end slide. Programme slides featured a large white 2 with programme title overlaid the bottom of the image.

A variation of the look was used during the Daytime on 2 strand showing schools programmes, which featured the ident with an orange gradient background. Regional variations of BBC2 featured the region name below the 2.

The variation in 2010 is this look recreated using 3D software. Sometimes there's "WALES" in a book Eurostile font below the "2" in a striped font.

Special Idents[edit]

Some special versions were produced for public celebrations such as Christmas:

  • Christmas 1979 - A revolving perspex snowflake rotates over a white version of the logo at the bottom of the screen.
  • Christmas 1980 - Similar to last year, a more colourful perspex snowflake rotating above a Christmas BBC2 caption
  • Christmas 1981 - Three red translucent candles spinning around with the caption Christmas 2
  • Christmas 1982 - Three green perspex Christmas trees with a hand-drawn, angular BBC2 caption.
  • Christmas 1983 - Another similar theme to last year. Three metallic Christmas trees spinning against the Christmas 2 caption.
  • Christmas 1984 - A pink ball with the '2' on it remains stationary while a stylised ribbon spelling 'Christmas' rotating around it.
  • Christmas 1985 - A blue tinted Christmas scene rotates around the '2'.

Special uses[edit]

The ident was re-used in early 2005 for the opening continuity announcement in the second series of the period comedy Look Around You.

It was recreated in May 2010, with a new soundtrack, as part of BBC Two's "80's Season", to celebrate events and features from the decade.

It was then brought back twice in October 2012, with no soundtrack. The first occasion was only shown in Northern Ireland on October 10 at 12:20am, to mark the start of their digital switchover, hence bringing BBC Two's time on analogue television to a close. The second was shown nationally on October 22 at 4:35am to lead into the final edition of Pages From Ceefax. And in 2013, this (and its Christmas '79, '84 & '85 ident in NI), along with others was brought back for BBC Two's "Afternoon Classics" block.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Striped 2
BBC television idents
April 1979 – 31 March 1986
Succeeded by
TWO