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BBC Choice was a BBC TV station which launched on September 23, 1998 and closed on February 9, 2003, when it was succeeded by BBC Three. It was the first British TV channel to broadcast exclusively in digital format, as well as the BBC's second non-terrestrial channel launch (following on from the BBC News channel in 1997). The TV channel closed in 2016 as part of budget cuts and was replaced by a streaming service, but due to the success of series such as Fleabag and Normal People it returned on 2019 as a television block on BBC One and eventually a standalone channel in 2022.
1st Logo (September 23, 1998-July 10, 2000)
Logo: On a red/black gradient, green, blue, or red background, we see three things that belong to the same word but have different appearances/meanings. The camera faces the things, and when the camera cuts one last time, we fully see the things with the BBC Choice logo below.
Variants: The three things change from ident to ident:
- Hearts: Heart of stone, heartburn and lightheart.
- Mouse: A furry mouse, a clockwork mouse and a computer mouse (or mice).
- Punch: Punch as in Punch & Judy, punch as in boxing, and punch in a bowl.
- Fan: A paper fan, a footy fan and an electric fan.
- Trumpet: An elephant trumpeting, a trumpet flower and a trumpet instrument.
Technique: Very nice and creative animation by Lambie-Nairn.
Music/Sounds: Sounds that go with the things, then a three-note tune, followed by an announcer.
Availability: No longer current.
2nd Logo (July 10, 2000-July 6, 2001)
Logo: Against a coloured background (this depends on the variant), a redesigned version of the last logo's heart zooms in and out as if it were beating. There are some very fast paced (and rather simple) effects as the background changes colour. The BBC Choice logo fades in at the bottom of the screen, and the heart shines slightly.
Technique: Animation that involves some parts of the last logo, which was designed in-house by BBC Broadcast.
Music/Sounds: Heartbeat-like sounds followed by a lot of short electric sounds, ending with a gentle synth hum and some quieter echoing heartbeat sounds.
Availability: No longer current.
3rd Logo (July 6, 2001-December 9, 2002)
Logo: We see three orange boxes doing various things, such as moving or punching, around a green background. The BBC Choice logo (the BBC logo next to the word "CHOICE") is seen at the bottom.
Variant: From December 2001, the background colour was blue.
Technique: Good CGI.
Music/Sounds: A hip-hop/dance-like tune.
Availability: Extinct, preserved by tape/DVD enthusiasts.
4th Logo (December 9, 2002-February 9, 2003)
Logo: There is a gray construction site with a blue scaffolding, an "UNDER CONSTRUCTION" sign and two builders working inside the scaffolding. The BBC Choice logo (same as the last 3 idents) is at the bottom.
- For Christmas 2002, the building site was given some Christmas lights and the builders were seen walking away wearing either a reindeer hat or a Santa hat.
- Later on in 2002, an ident started airing which briefly flashed the "THREE" sculpture that would be used for the first BBC Three idents.
- From January 2003, there was a sign that counted down to the BBC Three launch date (February 9, 2003).
Technique: Live action.
Music/Sounds: The sounds of a building site - reverse beeps, welding sparks and hammers.
Availability: Extinct. These were temporary idents while the first BBC Three idents were being prepared.
Legacy: These idents were a very creative and clever way to count down to the BBC Three launch.
1st Logo (February 9, 2003-February 11, 2008)
Logo: The idents take place in a black-blue gradient environment and prominently feature a set of orange blobs and a towering "THREE" in the background. The BBC Three logo appears via a transition shortly after.
- The orange blobs parallel the CBBC green blobs used at the time and the CBeebies yellow blobs which are still used to this day, and show a progression through age groups.
- These IDs won the Royal Television Society Craft & Design Award for Best Trails and Packaging in 2003.
- A prominent sting showed one blob standing in front of the figure "THREE" shouting "Three!", before another "THREE" rises up from underneath the original, toppling it.
- Idents may feature a snowy environment for the winter season.
- To promote the sketch series Little Miss Jocelyn, some idents are interrupted by the main character Jiffy, stating to give the blobs a ticket.
Technique: The blobs, which are created by Stefan Marjoram at Aardman Animations, and may appear in different genders and costumes. The box containing the logo appears in many transitions, and range from dropping, bouncing, pulsing, and blurring.
Music/Sounds: Almost all of the variants have spoken lines for the blobs, provided by the BBC Sound Archive. Music plays after the logo transitions, and may range from a rendition of "Three is a Magic Number" from Schoolhouse Rock!, an instrumental version of "In the Morning" by indie rock band Razorlight, an electronic tune, an instrumental of "Promiscuous" by Nelly Furtado or a cowbell beat (in the case of the yodelling ident). On February 12, 2008, before the channel's first rebrand, the usual music was replaced with music that follow the topic of leaving. Examples include "Release Me" by Engelbert Humperdinck, "Bye Bye Baby" by The Four Seasons and "So Long, Farewell" from the movie The Sound of Music.
Availability: Extinct, as they were replaced with the "Media World" ident branch.
Legacy: According to The Guardian, the blobs were eventually replaced because viewers found them "cold and shouty".
2nd Logo (February 12, 2008-September 30, 2013)
Logo: We start out looking at the world as the straw is passing through the pipes. Various objects and people can be seen as the "BBC three" logo can be seen as the liquid passes by.
- Threefall: Five humans do bungee jumping from the sky. After that, the "BBC Three" logo is shown
- Ooze: We see an extraordinary-looking street; however, the liquid leaks from the cab, making the street nearly flooded. One person is swimming in it and the liquid passes by the "BBC Three" logo.
- Kickstepturn: We see an extraordinary-looking street once again. This time the camera is moving from the left until the "BBC Three" logo is shown.
- Birdbox: One of the people attempts to push the box. However, as the bird moves, they're scared and later, the "BBC Three" logo can be seen.
Music/Sounds: An upbeat electronic theme.
3rd Logo (September 15, 2013-January 3, 2016)
- Ripples and Lines: We see dots around the video wall. Afterwards, ripples are shown and the "BBC Three" logo is shown, and various lines can be seen across the video wall.
- Tunnel: We see a tunnel and boxes can be seen in the left and right corners. The tunnel is later formed and the "BBC Three" logo can be seen, albeit the "THREE" is flat. Various forms of the tunnel can be seen.
- Spotlight: We see lights popping out from the video wall and patterns of rhombus showing the logo of "BBC Three", then we see diagonal crosses, lights and a vortex.
- Birds: At first, we see two birds that look glitched out, but then another one passes by. Then we see the "BBC Three" logo. The ident continues as the two birds are doing a formation.
- Sliding Cubes: We see a moving video wall that includes various artwork of skeletons, caricatures and a rose. During the first few seconds, the logo can be seen.
Technique: Live-action, as if it was shot near the video wall installation.
Music/Sounds: All idents used an upbeat electronic theme, while the Tunnel ident uses a rock theme.
Availability: Same as before. It was first used in September 15, 2013, 14 days prior to the channel's rebrand on October 1, 2013.
4th Logo (January 4, 2016-March 31, 2016) (TV), (February 16, 2016-2022) (online)
Logo: We see the then-new BBC Three logo (a pink box containing the roman numeral for three, with the third column stylised as an exclamation mark) in front of a solid grey background. The columns animate and transform into various items.
- The columns move around, unveiling a second box with the logo. The logo then transforms into three helmets, which merge into a white box. The box then explodes into an abstract wireframe, then back into the logo while an abstract pink canine figure runs to the left side of the screen. The logo grows lines that turn into a circuit board shape, and rectangles fly in, once again forming the logo. The third column turns into a tablet (with a Droste effect displaying the ident itself) and the remaining two columns transform into a pair of headphones connected to the tablet. The tablet flies out of the screen, showing the logo once more, and the columns turn into three overweight men bouncing. The one in the middle grabs an umbrella, displaying the logo, which then turns into an isometric view of a pink floating island with two buildings and a tree. A stick figure comes out of the taller building, but is then crushed by a pyramid, causing the island to fall and once again showing the logo. This animation then repeats itself for the remainder of the ident.
- The columns turn into various gadgets, which move downwards and the background turns into what appears to be an old building. The logo then fades in and zooms slowly towards the screen, then a different isometric view of a city. Some of the buildings release smoke, and the whole city disappears, leaving the logo against images of ultrasound and CT scans, and the columns turn into medical supplies. They are eventually consumed by pixels which turn into the logo. The columns then merge into a paper map of the world with a compass in the bottom right. Three pink dots on the map appear one by one, and the map then folds itself and turns into three abstract shapes resembling palm trees. The "trees" then turn into the logo. Like the former ident, this animation also repeats itself indefinitely.
Technique: 2D animation and CGI mixed up.
Music/Sounds: An ambient electronic theme with various distorted sound effects.
Availability: Extinct both on TV and online.
5th Logo (2019-2021) (block)
Logo: A mint green box with three forest green lines rapidly zooms in. The line on the right, which is shorter than the other lines, "jumps" as a square falls below. We then see the square decrease in size as it expands and the lines form a capital "H" with the exclamation point shape attached to the right side. As the square stretches, a "T" appears on the left and "REE" appears on the right, with "IT'S" and "TIME" wiping in next to the square. The process is briefly reversed before the exclamation sign "sucks" the dot in and rises before dropping it out, causing the screen to cut to the logo much closer than before. Some effects appear on the logo as it continues to form "THREE" and repeat the aforementioned ! animation.
Technique: 2D animation.
Music/Sounds: A whoosh, then one second later, some sound effects play while an announcer talks.
Availability: Was seen on BBC One until 2021.
6th Logo (2021-2022) (block)
Logo: The logo forms via the lines "stretching", with the right line "pulling" the dot. The lines and dot rapidly move in an oval shape before the ! absorbs and pushes the dot. The process repeats until the logo ends.
Technique: 2D animation.
Music/Sounds: Same as the previous logo.
Availability: Was seen on BBC One until 2022.
7th Logo (January 10, 2022-)
Logo: Depends on the variant. This all starts in a lime background with creatures made from hands. "Captain" walks upright on his fingers, "Spider" crawls around with his middle finger acting as his head, and "Pointer" float off the ground and is typically pointing.
- Generic: The creatures walk lively, but Spider runs. They all stop on their positions. Spider makes movements. The end base is looped.
- Selfies: We see a phone foreground. They walk into the camera, where a filter puts on faces, and take pictures.
- Feet: The creatures see a giant statue of a foot falling onto the ground. Another statue falls behind the creatures. They run, trying to escape the statues.
- Hats: The creatures find moving hats.
- Jeans: The creatures wear jeans and strut (for the Pointer, flying) into the centre of the screen.
- Keyboard: Here, the creatures are represented as hands. They play a yellow keyboard.
- Microphone: The creatures are playing with a microphone.
- Mirror: The creatures are in a mirror. All of a sudden, Spider's mirror clone gets bigger.
- Swimming: The camera is submerged underwater, while the creatures are swimming.
- Nail Polish: The creatures are playing with nail tools.
- Googly Eyes: Googly eyes drop in, some of which stick onto the creatures.
- Voting: The creatures are watching a GIF of RuPaul's Drag Race: UK vs the World, where Jimbo the Drag Clown tosses a slice of ham onto RuPaul. They press three reaction buttons with emojis on them.
- A short ident has the creatures swaying on a rope.
- Another short ident has the creatures land on their places out of a hole.
- Another short ident has the creatures stand still only for the camera to zoom out.
- Sometimes the short idents are transitions.
Trivia: These idents were a collaboration between BBC Creative, Superunion, Robert Strange of Blinkink, and Ghost VFX.
Technique: CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: A techno theme with many variations depending on the ident.
Legacy: These idents give a nice homage to the BBC Choice idents and are very creative.