BBC Studios Home Entertainment (UK)
BBC Video was formed and established in 1980 as a division of BBC Enterprises (later "BBC Worldwide") to distribute BBC television programmes for home video, with John Ross Barnard as head.
In 2004, BBC Video merged with Video Collection International (VCI), to create 2 Entertain, although as of 2020, BBC Studios uses their own logos on releases of their material, with the 2 Entertain branding being used on non-BBC releases the company distributes.
In the United States, the BBC released their products through CBS/Fox Video/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment from 1985 to 2000. For some reason, the license was taken over by Warner Home Video in 2000, which isn't necessarily bad, but can feel pretty weird at times. However, their logo was phased out on actual releases as of 2007, instead using just the standard UK logo or the 2 Entertain logo except on Charlie and Lola (only the print logo is shown). As of 2017, the BBC self-distributes their releases in the United States.
1st Logo (October 6, 1980-October 31, 1988)
Nicknames: "BBC Star", "Cheesy Starlight", "Scanimate BBC", "Psychedelic BBC"
- Opening: Against a black background, many colored parallelograms come from the top and bottom of the screen towards the middle, where a white four-pointed star is being drawn, with the smaller one starting with the top spire, while the large one starts with the left. The colored 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", with the outsides first, then the insides on the left, then the reversed happening on the right. The line with the "V" is also traced over with white. After the logo forms, all the parallelograms eventually stop as a light shines inside the star and leaves a blue after-shadow.
- 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.
- The amount of time between the words finishing drawing in and the parallelograms stopping may vary.
- On 101 Great Goals, the logo is superimposed onto a soccer match. At the end, a still of the normal opening logo with a copyright stamp is used.
- On widescreen releases, the words "This is a wide screen film" fade in shortly before the star stops shining.
- The copyright date (in Roman numerals) may be in a different font other than Futura. It also appears that the 1981 and sometimes 1982 versions are the only ones that appear to be "natural" as the rest appear with some kind of video effect.
- Starting in 1985, 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 from the era, it cuts to the copyright notice whereas the whole thing is silent.
- On Watch With Mother tapes, the logo turns gray-scale when the "V" comes in; the closing starts in gray-scale but turns into color before the text is drawn away. Another version of this exists where it fades to the B&W effect as well on some other releases.
- On a promo variant, the logo seems to fly backwards as it finishes.
- On a trailer/promo VHS, we see the regular logo for a few seconds until we cut to a black background with a blue book sideways with the print logo of the time. In the bottom (or in the end of the tape, the top), we see "NEW VIDEO TASTIES" in yellow. The closing logo starts when the text is drawn away, and the copyright date uses a 1982 version at its base, with an extra "I" added to the end of the copyright date to read instead as "MCMLXXXIII", and it fades out.
- On rock concert releases, we see the text "ROCK FLASHBACK" appear in black, with a white outline. Another version has this in an orange Revue font with a yellow outline. The latter variant has an extra copyright added reading "Original recording © Deep Purple MCMLXXIV" below the normal copyright in a Helvetica font.
- A shortened version of the closing variant exists, starting from the small light flashing.
- On most U.S. video releases distributed by CBS/Fox Video or Playhouse Video, the copyright disclaimer in the closing version is blacked out due to legal reasons.
- Opening: The "drawing" and flying shapes.
- Closing: The logo drawing away.
Music/Sounds: There were six versions (seven if you include the closing):
- (1980-1984) A big band marching band-type tune, with kettle drums, in B♭ major. Used from the beginning until 1984.
- (1980-1984) A Moog synth tune with a marching-band flair (sounding similar to the first tune), also in B♭ major. Used in tandem with the first tune.
- (1981) An orchestrated version of the first and second tunes in a different key (C major), led by violins. Used on Treasures of the British Crown on Laserdisc, released in 1981. It is unknown if it was used on any other releases.
- (1981-1984) A laid-back rock version of the first and second tunes in a different key (D♯/E♭ major).
- (1984-1988) A bouncy 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 one you are most likely to find and has been composed to match the animation as close as possible. Used from 1984 until the end, and was composed by Peter Howell, who also arranged the 1980's version of the Doctor Who theme.
- (1987) A tune sounding like it was played from a music box. This was used only on Watch with Mother tapes beginning in 1987.
- (1980-1984 variant 1) A re-arranged version of the marching band-type tune with a powerful flourish.
- (1980-1984 variant 2) A re-arranged version of the Moog synth tune with a longer beginning and more grand ending.
- (1981) A slower re-arranged version of the string-led tune.
- (1981-1984) A slower re-arranged version of the rock tune with an electric guitar strum.
- (1984-1988) Ascending synth notes and chimes that lead into a shorter version of the opening logo's music with an extended, rather somber ending.
- (1987 Watch with Mother variant) Same as the beginning, but the start of the tune is extended.
- (1980's) An extremely rare re-orchestrated variant can be found on Great Railways - Flying Scotsman.
Availability: Uncommon. Seen on any early releases of BBC programmes.
- It appears on the original Fawlty Towers tapes, and some Postman Pat tapes too.
- The opening and closing logos appear on the 1986 Playhouse Video issues of the BBC Video release of Doctor Who. Strangely, the 5th closing variant made a surprise appearance on early Netflix prints of the BBC version of The Secret Garden, possibly due to using an old video master, it was then taken out on later Netflix prints with the 2009 logo at the start of the program.
- It also appears on early releases of Series 1 of Last of the Summer Wine, including the first DVD releases (which have the episodes as compilation films for some reason).
- The 2nd closing variant can be found as an Easter egg on the DVD release of the Doctor Who story Revenge of the Cybermen.
- The 4th opening/closing variant appears on a 1984 British pre-cert tape of Open All Hours, released in the United States by CBS/Fox Video in 1989.
- The "NEW VIDEO TASTIES" variant can be spotted on a trailer/promo tape.
- The "Rock Flashback" variants can be spotted in John Martyn - In Vision 1973-1981 and Deep Purple - California Jam.
- The shortened closing variant can be spotted at the end of the VHS for Col. Culpeper's Flying Circus.
- This logo was used concurrently with the next one from June to October 1988.
- It also appears on the first two Fireman Sam 1988 VHS releases that of Fireman Sam: The Hero Next Door and Fireman Sam: Lost Cat, respectively.
Editor's Note: This logo is a favorite of many due to its really nice animation and catchy music, especially the 1984 music.
2nd Logo (June 6, 1988-November 11, 1991)
Nicknames: "COW Globe", "BBC Globe", "Video Globe"
- Opening: On a black background, the text from the warning screen flies in. After several seconds, the text flies out as we fade to a map of the world, metallic gold (land) on blue (sea), which waves up and down. The map folds into a rotating globe (which is a modified version of the BBC1 "Computer Originated World" ident from 1985-1991). 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 programme starts.
- Closing: The sequence reverses, with the "BBC VIDEO" text flying out and the globe unfolding back into a map. The same copyright text from the previous logo appears. This was the BBC Enterprises copyright disclaimer, which was occasionally cut from U.S. releases by CBS/Fox.
- On Australian releases, the tape's OFLC rating certificate appears in place of the copyright info.
- Starting in late 1990, the copyright text is in a different font other than ITC Avant Garde Gothic.
- A rare extended variant was seen on some UK VHS releases, in which the globe turns for longer.
- On BBC Video World tapes, the warning text has a different layout, and the "BBC Video" text is replaced with "BBC Video World".
- On certain UK VHS releases such as Bill & Ben Flower Pot Men, as the text finishes sparkling, it would cut to a promo card.
FX/SFX: The text, the globe forming, and "BBC VIDEO" appearing. It's all CGI.
Music/Sounds: Calm synth music with tribal beats. For the closing version, each section of the opening logo's music plays in reverse order. The music samples "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" by Isao Tomita while the beginning may also sound like the song "Hallelujah" by "Enigma".
- The closing variant could rarely have the music from the 1984-1988 version of the 1st logo.
- A stereo mix version exists, but is rarely used. This version has been spotted on Blackadder Goes Forth as well as some 1990-1991 UK VHS tapes, including Fireman Sam 5: Norman's Pitfall, Fireman Sam 6: All in a Good Cause and Pingu: Barrel of Fun.
- On some UK VHS releases such as Captain Pugwash: Seafaring Tales and the 1988 UK VHS release of Postman Pat's Big Video, among others, the music would continue playing throughout the tape's title card.
Availability: Uncommon. Not as common as the previous logo, but still appears on BBC material from the time, and also appears on some older CBS/Fox releases in the United States.
- Blackadder Goes Forth is one video that has this logo.
- The 2020 Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 26 (UK/Australia)/Doctor Who: Sylvester McCoy Complete Season Three (US) Blu-ray box set retains this logo on the alternate 1991 VHS cut of the Doctor Who serial "The Curse of Fenric".
- On the logo's final four months, it was used in tandem with the next one.
- It also appears on the 1988 UK VHS releases of Postman Pat's Big Video and Stoppit and Tidyup, respectively as well.
Editor's Note: While the logo is not as common as some of the other logos, it's still a unique take on the COW globe at the time.
3rd Logo (September 2, 1991-November 3, 1997)
Nicknames: "Streaks of Death", "Ominous BBC", "Bring Out the Caskets", "Blue, Red, and Green"
- 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 then intersect 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, first rather dimly before fully brightening up, forming a CGI version of the 1988 BBC logo used at the time. The letters appear to have shadows underneath them and the lines have glows on the bottom of the blocks.
- Closing: Same as the opening, except with the BBC Enterprises copyright disclaimer appearing on the bottom. Starting in 1995, "BBC ENTERPRISES" is replaced with "BBC WORLDWIDE".
- Before going onto usage for BBC Video, the logo was created by designers Sue Worthy and Brendon Norman-Ross in 1989 as an ID for the end of BBC trailers and promos at the time. As the streaks animate inwards, the words "TELEVISION" and "RADIO" in the then-current BBC corporate font (Futura Bold Condensed Italic) fade in and out above the smaller 1988 logo as it appears. Said ID can be viewed here, if you're in the UK; for people outside the UK, said ID can be viewed here .
- The 1988 BBC logo (which was designed by Michael Peters) first appeared on-air the very same year on the BBC Sport titles and some regional news programmes. The logo then appeared on copyright tag of television programmes and radio station in 1990 and appeared on the rebranded BBC1 and BBC2 on February 16, 1991.
- On the 1991 VHS tape Bottom Fluff, a tape containing outtakes and unused footage from the sitcom Bottom, silhouettes of the show's stars, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmonson can be seen messing around at the bottom of the screen during the second half of the logo.
- 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).
- Very early releases with this logo have the copyright disclaimer in a different font (e.g. Helvetica or Gill Sans).
- Starting in mid-1997, the closing variant has a different caption, saying "Distributed under licence by BBC Worldwide Ltd." and underneath there is an copyright date saying "© BBC (in its print logo) (year in Roman numerals)".
- On They Think It's All Over: No Holds Barred, the closing logo had a different copyright notice reading:
(year in Roman numerals)
- At the end of the 1997 VHS release of BBC TV Cooks - Rick Stein Cooks Fish, the copyright stamp below the BBC Worldwide disclaimer reads "© BBC Worldwide (year in Roman numerals)".
FX/SFX: The colored streaks, the merging and the boxes and notice fading-in.
Music/Sounds: A somber 9-note piano piece followed by the sound of a choir holding the final note, sometimes extended.
- A low tone version of the music exists. On this version, the music comes in when the green and blue streaks merge.
- On the "Five Doctors" variant, a spinning whirl sound is heard when the Time Scoop steals the BBC logo.
- At the start and end of the 1997 VHS of Diana: A Celebration (one of the last tapes to use this logo), it is completely silent, which is likely to pay respect to Princess Diana, who died a few weeks prior. This also occurs with Poldark Series 1 Volume 1.
- On some re-releases (mainly from those that originally contained the 1984 version of the 1980 logo), if you listen very closely, you might hear the 1984 music from the 1980 logo playing faintly over the logo and warning screen, due to poor plastering.
- Appears on some BBC programmes on VHS releases from the era, like Series 1 of Yes Prime Minister, among others.
- The Doctor Who variant is also included on the 2008 DVD release of "The Five Doctors", not as the opening logo, but as an Easter egg. To find it, go to "Special Features" on Disc 2, then highlight "Nationwide" and go left.
- This logo is intact on the DVD release of Wallace and Gromit in Three Grand Adventures from DreamWorks Home Entertainment (around 2004, but not seen on the later HiT Entertainment reprint).
- This weirdly also appears on former Netflix prints of A Blackadder Christmas Carol, possibly due to using a video master; presumably, it also appeared on PBS broadcasts of the same, as the CBS/Fox release followed this with the BBC Lionheart Television logo.
- It can sometimes plaster previous logos on re-releases, and is seen on all Pingu tapes at the time in the UK (Barrel of Fun used the last logo though, although a rare print contains this logo instead).
- A silent variant (with the 1993 (MCMXCIII) copyright date) is included at the end of the UK DVD of Poldark Series 1 Volume 1 released by Playback in 2003 due to it coming from the 1993 video master.
- The closing logo (with the 1994 (MCMXCIV) copyright date) is included at the end of the DVD of Doctor Who: More Than 30 Years in the Tardis from the Doctor Who: The Legacy Collection DVD box set released in 2013.
- The closing logo (with the 1995 (MCMXCV) copyright date) is included at the end of Red Dwarf Smeg Outs on the Red Dwarf: Just the Smegs UK DVD released in 2007.
Editor's Note: It's known as one of the more ominous British logos in the logo community due to its somewhat depressing music and black background, combined with the strange-looking BBC logo and limited animation; however, it is a great logo.
4th Logo (September 1992-1998?)
Nicknames: "Streaks of Peace", "Bring Out the Caskets II", "Blue, Red, and Green II", "Swinging Funeral"
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 gray appears under the completed logo.
FX/SFX: The flying letter boxes; very modern and advanced CGI at the time.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 3rd logo.
- It only appears on some CBS/Fox and Fox Video North American home video releases of BBC programs, such as Absolutely Fabulous. This logo was used in tandem with the other one.
- In the UK, it was recently discovered on the VHS release of Red Dwarf V.
Editor's Note: The music is still ominous, but the brighter environment and more dynamic movements make it a bit calmer.
5th Logo (November 3, 1997-2009)
Nicknames: "BBC Blocks", "Square Boxes", "Rainbow Smoke", "BBC Ribbons" "Calm BBC", "Blue, Red, and Green III"
- Opening: On a navy blue background, there are several ribbons moving from top right and top middle of the screen and the bottom middle of the screen highlighted in red, blue, and green. The 1997 BBC logo (in white) fades in.
- Closing: Same as above, except when the BBC logo fades in, the BBC Worldwide copyright disclaimer and copyright date fade in. This was used on DVDs and VHS's until 2005.
- Sometimes, the logo can be in widescreen; also, the ribbons move differently. This is mostly seen on DVDs of shows with the widescreen format.
- An extremely rare variant (presumably a prototype) exists, where the ribbon is thicker and only moves a little bit before looping. The background is also black and the BBC logo is slightly different, with shorter squares and black text.
- On The Best of BBC Comedy, the text "BBC Worldwide & The Sunday People Present The BBC Comedy Collection" appears on the background in Gill Sans. BBC Worldwide and The Sunday People have their logos represented instead, and they, along with "BBC Comedy Collection" are much larger.
- At the end of the tape, we see a line-up of BBC Comedy videos of the time being shown on the animated ribbons background. After a while, the line-up fades over to the closing version of the BBC Video ident.
- Sometimes around 2004, the BBC copyright stamp doesn't have "BBC" in its print logo anymore.
- There is a slightly altered variant where the ribbons are further away; this can be seen on blue and black backgrounds.
- On the Polish VHS release of The Incredible Adventures of Wallace & Gromit, the logo is shortened so that only the remaining animation (with the BBC logo) is shown. At the end of the tape, the logo is static.
FX/SFX: The ribbons moving.
Music/Sounds: A calm synth-string/harp theme with a hi-hat clash that's actually a slightly more upbeat arrangement of the 1991 theme.
- For the logo's first year, the music was slightly different.
- The "prototype" variant is silent.
- On The Best of BBC Comedy variant, an announcer says "You're watching The Best of BBC Comedy, a hilarious compilation prepared exclusively for readers of The Sunday People."
- At the end of the tape, the same announcer says "We hope you enjoyed this selection of The Best of BBC Comedy, specially compiled for the readers of the Sunday People. Why not watch them in full with your very own collection of BBC comedy videos? Available from all good video retailers." After he finishes, the BBC Video theme plays out over the closing.
- On the Polish VHS release of The Incredible Adventures of Wallace & Gromit, the Wallace & Gromit theme plays over the logo. At the end of the tape, it is silent.
Availability: Common. Seen on VHS tapes and DVDs released by the company from 1997 to 2009. One example being the 2003 DVD of Great Wildlife Moments with David Attenborough.
- One of the last releases to use this logo was the Warner/2 Entertain Region 1 DVD of Fawlty Towers: The Complete Collection - Remastered.
- The 2000 closing variant is strangely seen on the 2005 Region 4 DVD Release of Wallace and Gromit: 3 Cracking Adventures (possibly because the master is likely taken from the original 2000 UK DVD release, it is also likely a reprint of the original 2001 region 4 DVD).
- The 2020 Doctor Who: The Collection - Season 26 (UK/Australia)/Doctor Who: Sylvester McCoy Complete Season Three (US) Blu-ray box set retains this logo on the alternate 1998 VHS cut of the Doctor Who serial "Battlefield".
- Surprisingly, the closing version of the logo (with the 2006 (MMVI) copyright date) appears on BBC Children's Favourites DVD, released in 2005.
- The "prototype" logo was seen on DeAgostini releases of Teletubbies in Italy.
- The altered ribbon variants were found in the game files of the PC version of Play With the Teletubbies!.
Editor's Note: This logo is a favorite of many, especially in the UK. There is a debate that this logo was originally expected to be for the 1988 BBC logo due to the colors being prominent with it, but was changed at the last minute.
BBC Home Entertainment
1st Logo (2009-2019?)
Nicknames: "BBC Blocks II", "Square Boxes II", "Flashing Box", "Colour Concentric", "Purple BBC"
Logo: A red screen flashes in a red lens flare, and it causes the BBC logo to appear, this time in a small, purple box. The background then glows in red as several flares in different colors, suddenly flashing one by one, light the BBC logo. The effect of flashing also appears on circles that left. The color in the background changes each time a flash appears.
FX/SFX: The flashing, the background changing colors, and the lighting up of the BBC logo. Designed by Lambie-Nairn.
Music/Sounds: A synthesized tune accompanied by strings, organs and drum beats.
Availability: No longer current. Can be seen on BBC Home Entertainment releases from 2009 until sometime in 2019, with Bill Bailey's Jungle Hero, and the Bill Oddie's How to Watch Wildlife and Doctor Who DVDs of the period being some of the releases to have this logo. In its last three years of existence, it was used in tandem with the next logo.
Editor's Note: A decent logo, but it's not as popular as previous ones from the company.
BBC Studios Home Entertainment
2nd Logo (2017-20??)
Nicknames: "BBC Blocks III", "Square Boxes III", "BBC Dandelion", "Spark 10"
Logo: We see several white lines stretching and forming a star-like shape, then these separate (explode) and disappear, leaving some of the dots moving, while the BBC logo appears in the center. The dots disappear after a few seconds.
- A shortened variant which starts with the "explosion" can be seen at the start of post-2017 episodes of Doctor Who whenever they are shown, as well as streaming and international prints of some BBC shows such as Top Gear.
- There is also a 3-second variant.
FX/SFX: The lines and dots moving, the fading of the BBC logo. Designed by BBC Worldwide.
Music/Sounds: A creaking sound, which is later accompanied by an orchestral theme. Composed by Matthew Herbert.
Availability: No longer current. You may find this logo in Doctor Who, Hey Duggee and Bluey DVDs and Blu-ray discs.
Editor's Note: It is somewhat plain compared to the previous logos. With the introduction of the 2021 BBC logo, its days might be numbered.