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BBC Two '1991–2001' idents

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Paint, the first of this series to be broadcast and the last to be broadcast during their first run from 1991 until 2001. This was also the last to be broadcast in Northern Ireland in 2018.

The BBC Two '1991–2001' idents were broadcast from 16 February 1991 until 19 November 2001, and again from 9 July 2014 until 27 September 2018, on BBC Two in the United Kingdom. The idents, which consisted of a sans-serif '2', accompanied by the colour viridian,[1] were created by branding agency Lambie-Nairn[2] (and later, Red Bee Media), 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. They were taken out of service in November 2001, and were later revived on 21 June 2014 for 90's Night and in July 2014, to commemorate the 50th birthday of BBC Two. They replaced the 'Window on the World' idents and were broadcast until the early hours of 27 September 2018.


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 branding was "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]

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]

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


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 in 1999, 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 on 15 February 1995 described how the graphics and sound of some of the idents were created.

The clock idents had been changed through years and were mainly used for closedowns and news. The first clock ident was used in February until late 1991, the second was used in late 1991 until October 1997. The clock was edited in October 1997 with the new logo. This was the last BBC TWO logo to use the clock ident.

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 ( was included in idents on-screen from January 2000.[5] On 27 September 2018, BBC Two received a rebrand, with the sans-serif '2' symbol being retired after 27 years; a new set of idents featuring a curve motif resembling a '2' were introduced.[6] [7] The last ident from this set, Optics, was aired one minute before the new set of idents were introduced.


  1. ^ a b "BBC Two | 1991 Idents". TVARK. Archived from the original on 4 March 2012. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
  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. ^ Lambie-Nairn, Martin (1997). Brand Identity for Television with knobs on. London: Phaidon. p. 112. ISBN 9780714834474.
  5. ^ "Our Work Archive". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  6. ^ "BBC Two to get first full rebrand since early 90s". The Guardian. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  7. ^ "BBC Two rebrands for first time in 20 years". Design Week. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
BBC television idents (first run)
16 February 1991 – 19 November 2001
Succeeded by
Personality 2s
Preceded by
Window on the World
BBC television idents (second run)
9 July 2014 – 27 September 2018
Succeeded by