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Background

BBC Video was formed and established in 1980 as a division of BBC Enterprises to distribute BBC television programmes for home video (later "BBC Worldwide") with John Ross Barnard as head. Their videos originally went through U.S, distribution by CBS/Fox Video (from 1985-2000) and with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (from 1998-2000). The licence was taken over by Warner Home Video in 2000, and in 2008, with the exception of Charlie and Lola, Warner's logo was replaced by the logo for 2Entertain.

1st Logo (1980-1988)

Nicknames: "BBC Star", "Cheesy Starlight", "Scanimate BBC", "'80s BBC"

Logo:

  • Opening: Many coloured parallelograms come from the top and bottom of the screen towards the middle, where a white four-pointed star is being "drawn". The coloured shapes stop coming from the bottom as an orange line with a V-shaped bend in the middle arrives, accompanied by a "shadow" effect. It stops below the star, and the parallelograms return from the bottom as the letters "BBC" and "IDEO" are drawn in white at either side of the "V". The line with the "V" is traced over with white. All the parallelograms finally stop as the logo completes and the star in it shines. It looks like a 1970s neon sign.
  • Closing: The rainbow parallelograms are flying towards "BBC VIDEO", which disappears as if it was being played backwards; that is, it's sort of being "drawn away." The parallelograms stop and the 4-pointed star remains. As a copyright notice appears (in the Futura typeface) reading

    "© BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION
    and BBC ENTERPRISES LTD.
    (year in roman numerals)"

the star "shines" and is drawn away too, leaving a small light which flashes a few times and then fades.

Variants:

  • On 101 Great Goals:
    • At the beginning, the already-formed logo is superimposed onto a soccer match.
    • At the end, a still shot of the normal opening logo with a copyright stamp (From the closing logo) is used.
  • The copyright date (in Roman numerals) may be in a different font, other than Futura.
  • Starting in 1985, in the closing logo, a shadow effect was added while the star is being drawn away.
  • On the 1988 release of The Young Ones as well as Dad's Army tapes, the closing logo is shortened beginning with the copyright info.
  • On Watch With Mother tapes:
    • On the opening logo, when the "V" comes in, it turns grayscaled, to throwback into the style of the said series
    • On the closing logo, it starts in grayscaled, but after the short while, it turns back into color, just before the text draws away.
  • A rare shorter version For the Opening logo exists Without Music on BBC WildLife Tapes

FX/SFX:

  • Opening: The "drawing" and flying shapes.
  • Closing: The logo drawing away.

Cheesy Factor: Much of the logo is produced with early effects and Scanimate animation. The closing variant almost looks like the opening logo played backwards, which was probably intentional.

Music/Sounds: There were six versions (seven all together if you include the closing):

  • Opening:
  1. (1980-1984) A moog synth tune with a marching-band flair. Used from the beginning until 1984.
  2. (1980-1984) A big band marching band-type tune (sounding similar to the first tune) which does not suit this logo at all. Used in tandem with the first tune.
  3. (1981) A orchestrated version of the of the first and second tunes in a different key (C major), led by violins. Used on the 1981 Laserdisc release of Treasures of the British Crown. It is unknown if it was used on any other releases.
  4. (1981) A laid-back rock version of the first and second tunes in a different key (D♯/E♭ major).
  5. (1984-1988) A synthesized theme that ends with drawn-out synth notes and a 3-note synth-horn fanfare. A "whoosh" is also used to mark the appearance of the "V". This is the most common out of the six musical versions. Used from 1984 until the end. Composed by Peter Howell.
  6. (1987) A dreamy tune, sounding like it was played from a music box. This was used only on Watch with Mother tapes beginning in 1987.
  • Closing:
  1. (1980-1984 variant 1) A re-arranged version of the moog synth tune.
  2. (1980-1984 variant 2) A re-arranged version of the marching band-type tune with a even more dramatic ending.
  3. (1981) A slower re-arranged version of the string-led tune.
  4. (1981) A slower re-arranged version of the rock tune with an electric guitar strum.
  5. (1984-1988) Ascending synth notes and chimes that lead into a shorter version of the opening logo's music with a different ending. This is the one that you are likely to find.
  6. (1987 Watch with Mother variant) Same as beginning.
  7. (1980's) An extremely rare re-orchestrated variant can be found on Great Railways - Flying Scotsman.

Availability: Seen on any early releases of BBC programs. It appears on the original Fawlty Towers tapes, and some Postman Pat tapes too. The 1st opening and closing variants both appeared on the 1986 Playhouse Video issue of the 1983 BBC Video release of Doctor Who: Revenge of the Cybermen. Strangely, the 5th closing variant made a surprise appearance on Netflix prints of the BBC version of The Secret Garden, due to using an old video master as well as the end of the 1997 CBS/FOX Print of that version above with the "Flying Boxes" ident at the beginning since they forgot to edit out this logo at the end.

Scare Factor:

  • Low for every opening variant. The cheesy animation, darkness, and some of the music variants may be slightly creepy for some, and the whoosh in the 1984 version may surprise some, but it's a favorite of many, at least in the UK.
  • Medium to high for the closing variant. The animation reversing and the more dramatic music on some of the variants, especially the 1984 version, combined with the darkness and lonely light at the end may scare more than the opening. Low to high for the 1984 closing, as the music grows very depressing at the end.

2nd Logo (1988-1991)

Nicknames: "COW Globe", "BBC Globe", "Video Globe", "World Map", "'80s BBC II" 

Logo:

  • Opening: On a black screen, some warning text in a yellow Times font zooms in from the center of the screen. It fades out, and another load of text zooms in. The second set of text fades to a map of the world, metallic gold (land) on blue (sea), the land waves up and down. The land and sea draw together to form a globe (which is a modified version of the BBC 1 "Computer Originated World" ident from 1985-1991) rotating. The reverse of the globe can be seen through the "sea" of the globe. From the front and bottom of the screen, "BBC VIDEO" in a copper Times-like font flies in. When it stops below the globe two of the letters sparkle before the program starts.
  • Closing: The sequence reverses, with the "BBC VIDEO" flying out and the globe turning back into a map. The BBC Enterprises copyright disclaimer fades in at the bottom, which was occasionally cut from U.S. releases by CBS/Fox.

Variants:

  • On Australian releases, the tape's OFLC rating certificate appears in place of the copyright info.
  • The copyright text may be in a different font, other than ITC Advant Garde Gothic.
  • A rare extended variant was seen on some releases.


FX/SFX: It's all CGI.

Cheesy Factor: The forming of the globe and the text zooming looks outdated, but the actual finished globe looks fine.

Music/Sounds: Calm synth music with tribal beats.

Availability: Appears on some older CBS/Fox releases of BBC material. Blackadder Goes Forth is one video that has this logo. On the logo's final year, it was used in tandem with the next one.

Scare Factor: Low, mainly because of the music. It might also surprise you if you see the closing for the first time. But if you've always been seeing the both of them, you should be perfectly fine. However, this is nothing compared to the next logo...

3rd Logo (1990-1997)

BBC Video 1990-1997 Logo


Nicknames: "Streaks of Doom", "Ominous BBC", "Dark BBC", "BBC's Gone Crazy" "'90s BBC", "Possesed BBC"

Logo:

  • Opening: On a black background, a blue streak comes in from the right of the screen and a green streak comes in from the left of the screen. The two streaks merge to form a red line in the middle of the screen and they leave behind green and blue lines afterwards. The BBC boxes fade in above, forming a CGI version of the 1988 BBC logo used at the time.
  • Closing: Same as the beginning, except an copyright notice typeset in Futura fades in below the BBC logo reading:

"© BRITISH BROADCASTING CORPORATION
and BBC ENTERPRISES LTD.
(year in roman numerals)".

Trivia: This is basically the BBC ID from 1990.

Variants:

  • On the 1995 VHS release of the Doctor Who episode "The Five Doctors", the logo is snatched up by the Time Scoop (the device that kidnapped the Doctor's incarnations and his companions at the beginning of the story).
    • This variant is also included on the 2008 DVD release of "The Five Doctors," but as an easter egg. To find it, go to "Special Features" on Disc 2, then highlight "Nationwide" and go left. 
  • Starting in 1995 on the copyright notice, "BBC ENTERPRISES" is replaced with "BBC WORLDWIDE".
  • Very early releases with this logo have the copyright notice in a different font (e.g. Helvetica or Gill Sans).
  • Starting in mid-1997, the closing variant has a different caption saying

    "Distributed under license by BBC Worldwide Ltd."

Underneath is a copyright date saying

"© BBC (In its logo) (year in Roman numerals)".

  • On They Think It's All Over: No Holds Barred, the closing logo had a different copyright notice reading:

    "© TALKBACK PRODUCTIONS LIMITED/
    BBC TELEVISION
    (year in roman numerals)".

FX/SFX: The colored streaks, the merging and the boxes and notice fading-in.

Music/Sounds: A jarring and creepy 9-note piano piece that sounds like a pianist got possesed, followed by the sound of a choir holding the final note.

Music/Sounds Variants:

  • On the 1995 VHS release of the Doctor Who episode "The Five Doctors", an spinning whirl sound occurs where the Time Scoop steals the BBC logo.
  • At the end of Diana: A Celebration VHS, it is silent.
  • On some re-releases, If you listen very closely, you might hear the 1984 version of the 1980-1988 logo's music humming over the regular music and the Warning Screen.

Availability: Appears on VHS of BBC programs from the era, like Season 1 of Yes Prime Minister. This logo is intact on the DVD release of Wallace and Gromit in Three Grand Adventures from DreamWorks Home Entertainment (around 2004). This weirdly also appears on Netflix prints of A Blackalder Christmas Carol, due to using a video master. It can sometimes plaster previous logos on re-releases.

Scare Factor:

  • Low to high for both the normal and the closing versions. The logo's ominous nature, combined with the strange piano piece, may unnerve some. However. If you See this logo on Reissues, you should be perfectly fine.
  • Medium to high for the Doctor Who variant, because of the Time Snatcher.
  • Low for the silent version. We still have the creepy animation, but the lack of music makes it tamer.
  • None for people used to seeing it.

4th Logo (1992-1997)

Nicknames: "BBC Worldwide Americas", "Flying Boxes", "'90s BBC II"

Logo: Against a white marble background, three black boxes swing in from the right. As they turn sideways, the letters "BBC" enter each one. Once the logo is formed, three colored streaks (one blue, one red, and one green) pass under it and leave similarly colored lines under the boxes. Finally, the word "VIDEO" (in black) appears under the completed logo. Everything seems to be italicized, even the boxes.

FX/SFX: The flying letter boxes; very modern animation.

Music/Sounds: Same as the 3rd logo.

Music/Sounds Variant: At the beginning of Diana: A Celebration VHS, the logo is completely silent.

Availability: Appears on home video releases of BBC programs, such as Absolutely Fabulous. This logo was used in tandem with the other one.

Scare Factor:

  • Minimal; the music may still scare some, but the animation is less ominous than its predecessor.
  • None for the silent version.

5th Logo (October 1997-2009)


Nicknames: "Square Boxes", "Rainbow Smoke", "'90s BBC III"

Logo:

  • Opening: On a navy blue background there are several ribbons going from top right and top middle of the screen and the bottom middle of the screen highlighted in red, green, and blue. The current 1997 BBC logo (in white) fades in.
  • Closing: Same as the previous logo, except the text fades in with the BBC logo underneath, in an Gill Sans typeface and it reads:

    "Distributed under license by BBC Worldwide Ltd"

and below it

"© BBC (again, in its logo) (year in roman numerals)"

Variants:

  • The text in the closing variant might be in different font.
  • Sometimes, the logo can be in widescreen, also the ribbons move differently. This is mostly seen on recent DVDs.
  • On the 2003-2005 DVD Closing Versions, the BBC logo in the copyright info is replaced by a text version.

FX/SFX: The ribbons moving.

Cheesy Factor: The red, green, and blue highlights make it look like the background was designed for the last diagonal BBC logo. Also, it almost looks like an outline of the BBC 2 Water ident.

Music/Sounds: A slightly more upbeat re-arrangement of the 3rd and 4th (Previous) logo's theme, this time with synthesized strings. For the logo's first year, the theme was slightly rearranged with different strings.

Music/Sounds Variant: A low tone exists with a closing version.

Availability: Common. Seen on VHS tapes and DVDs released by the company prior to 2009. One of the last releases to use this logo was the Warner/2Entertain region 1 DVD of Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection - Remastered.

Scare Factor: None.

6th Logo (2009-present)

Nicknames: "Flashing Box", "Colour Concentric", "Purple BBC", "2000s BBC"

Logo: A red screen flashes in a red lens flare, and it causes the BBC squares logo to appear, this time in a small, purple background. The background then glows in red as several flares in different colours,suddenly flashing one by one, light the BBC logo. The effect of flashing also appears on circles that left. The colour in the background changes each time a flash appears.

Variant: There is a short version used for international television distribution at the end of programmes.

FX/SFX: The flashing, the background changing colours, and the lighting up of the BBC logo.

Music/Sounds: A synthesized tune that is accompanied by strings, organs and drum beats.

Availability: Current. Can be seen on BBC home entertainment releases since 2009.

Scare Factor: Low. A very vivid and decent logo.

7th Logo (2017-present)

Description coming soon!

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