And now, a choice of viewing
June 26, 2010 6:11 AM   Subscribe

TV idents provide a bridge between programmes, remind the viewer of the channel they're watching and give the announcer something to talk over about what's on next and later. YouTube is a veritable treasure trove of idents, especially British ones, including
Classic BBC2 idents of the 90's,

The current Channel 4 ones
BBC1 idents from 1953-2008*
One of BBC2's current idents: "Zoetrope"
The original Channel 4 ident from 1982 (featuring the Fourscore sting)
The individual identities of the various ITV regions.*
BBC Sport's ident (with bonus Grandstand theme tune).

* recreations rather than recordings.

Special occasions often require special idents. BBC1 always has a different set for Christmas, and 2009's were no exception, to publicise David Tennant's swan song in the TARDIS.
BBC2 introduced ones for its Dr Who and Star Trek theme nights and Channel 4 commissioned a Simpsons themed one when they obtained the terrestrial rights to that cartoon.

And, of course, this post wouldn't be complete without Monty Python's parodies of the continuity junctions.

(Idents have been featured previously on Metafilter.)

[thanks to schmod for prompting me to put this together]
posted by Electric Dragon (15 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
As a presentation director at the BBC I used to be responsible for selecting the idents (we call them symbols) before programmes as well as running the channels. We had favourites for times of day, certain programmes, and our personal favourites (BBC1: Welsh 14! English2! BBC2: Zapper! Catalyst!). When a channel was rebranded we would play all the old idents at their full duration in the last junction of the day. I once ran a 99 frame mix (the maximum allowed) from Woodpecker into Attachements (trust me, that makes sense), which I'm still strangely proud of.
posted by Huw at 6:27 AM on June 26, 2010 [8 favorites]

I've been enjoying this blog for quite awhile. Lots of videos of idents, as well as interesting discussion of design for television.
posted by roll truck roll at 6:28 AM on June 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

What a great post! Thank you.
posted by him at 7:03 AM on June 26, 2010

Lots of Ontario/Canada idents on Retrontario's YouTube channel.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:59 AM on June 26, 2010

Known as "ID's" in the US.
posted by L'OM at 8:09 AM on June 26, 2010

So there's this show called Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. It's a completely hilarious sendup of 80's television starring Matt Holness and Richard Ayoade. And one of the neatest things about it is that, in service to the conceit that it was a canceled show from the 80's that was being reaired, they showed authentic 80's BBC idents before each show.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:42 AM on June 26, 2010

The BBC2 idents are great! Love the adorable little 2s swimming past the swan. And the creepy/sad music.

I think the Channel 4 ones are ace though. It always pleases me when they come on.
posted by Put the kettle on at 9:03 AM on June 26, 2010

A couple of clicks away from these videos I ran into this hilariously 70s Action News!!! intro.

Good starting point for exploring, thanks.
posted by gimonca at 9:08 AM on June 26, 2010

That was a lot of fun. Thanks!
posted by phaedon at 11:15 AM on June 26, 2010

Pope Guilty, they were Channel 4 idents, but you are right, they were absolutely authentic.

I loved that show.

It was blood.

Blood. Blood. Blood. Blood
posted by littleredspiders at 11:57 AM on June 26, 2010

I wonder whatever happened to EVILE CLONWE and his friends EVILE GAS BOTLE and EVILE BLUE FLAME.


(I realise that no-one has any idea what I'm talking about, but any thread with idents in needs some kind of EVILE CLOWNE reference. Trust me.)
posted by Grangousier at 1:29 PM on June 26, 2010

Some of those BBC 2 idents are ingrained deeper in my psyche than just about anything else I can think of. It's probably the music.
posted by fire&wings at 2:48 PM on June 26, 2010

The 90s BBC2 ones to me are forever associated with BBC2's 'cult tv' strands of that era, particularly Star Trek TNG and Twin Peaks.
posted by Electric Dragon at 2:58 PM on June 26, 2010

I loved the BBC2 idents. My favourites were the number 2 with paint splashing across it, and the paint can with all the tiny 2s splashing across it. Genius.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:29 PM on June 26, 2010

Some of those BBC 2 idents are ingrained deeper in my psyche than just about anything else I can think of. It's probably the music.

This. A couple of them gave me a sudden expectation that the next thing to come on the screen would be the Red Dwarf opening credits.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:32 PM on June 26, 2010

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