The new look BBC Two which was introduced on 19 November 2001 kept the same figure ‘2’ – though it was now always shown white on a yellow background, and completely computer generated. Occasionally, to promote certain programmes on the channel, idents and presentation moved away from the standard style. Initially, four idents were in use – however more idents were created as time moved along.
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The 2 bounces in its yellow studio. To address concerns that the idents were unsuitable for serious programming, this was later re-edited using a sombre soundtrack.
Scuba-diving 2 scares away some fish who soon return to investigate. Fish was revised two months after its launch, as the 2 was the wrong way round for most of the ident.
As part of the original 4 idents, Domino features a series of domino 2s preparing to topple on to each other. Unfortunately the first domino 2 has other ideas..
Something seems to be awry here. But don’t worry, 2 is quick to fix the problem, with help from its shiny new robotic arms.
Logo (BBC Four on BBC Two)
The ‘BBC Four on BBC Two’ take on Logo. The 2 flips the BBC Two logo to reveal the BBC Four box.
The yellow studio has sprung a leak; the 2 can run but it can’t hide from the resultant drips. Perhaps paying homage to the old Steam ident. Introduced February 2002.
Do not adjust your set! The screen clean 2 will see to that unsightly speck of dirt in no time. Introduced February 2002.
Invisible Walls finally solved the issue that had dogged the Yellow era thus far: the lack of a suitable ident for introducing more serious programming.
Not to be out done by BBC One’s Acrobats, the robot 2s demonstrate their own gymnastic ability in Formation. Introduced June 2002.
The 2 discovers its own remote control, with catastrophic results! Cue 2 spinning out of control and even hitting the camera. Introduced June 2002.
Originally used to introduce BBC Two’s ‘Jamaica 40’ season in August 2002, Drum sees the yellow studio’s floor vibrate erratically, causing the unsuspecting 2 to jump around its environment.
Picasso 2 cleverly paints a near perfect self-portrait. Introduced October 2002.
A play on Logo, the 2 gets more than it bargained for when it attempts to interact with the BBC Two logo this time. Introduced March 2003.
The Big Read
One 2 is so engrossed by its book of choice it can’t help but frantically turn the pages, much to the annoyance of its fellow bookworms. Introduced March 2003.
An energetic and acrobatic response from this 2 to having fire injected at speed out of his nose.. Introduced July 2003.
A very English affair, very seldom seen outside of Network, the animated 2s dance in an orderly fashion to the accordion. Introduced May 2005.
An updated version of the 2000 Christmas ident from the previous presentational era, this snow-filled ident was rebranded for the 2006 Winter Olympics, and continued to be used occasionally during periods of snowy weather. Introduced February 2006.
Originally seen in a 1997 version of the BBC TWO idents, the ident was updated for the Chelsea Flower Show in 2006, and continued to be used occasionally before gardening shows.
One of two special idents surrounding a summer home/lifestyle strand on BBC2. Introduced August 2006.
2 Night / 2 Suggests
Pedigree Comedy (Promo Bumpers/Promo Endboard)
BBC Action Line
Breakdown Apology Slide
p class=”image-info”>40 Years of BBC2
BBC2 celebrated its 40th birthday on 20 April 2004, and marked the occasion with a special compilation ident – and a special programme tracing the history of the station.
And It Was All Yellow
In 2001 the BBC gave branding agency Lambie-Nairn a daunting brief: create a new BBC Two presentation package to replace the immensely popular Big 2 idents which had been in service since February 1991. From Paint to Steam, Cars to Dogs, Swans to bug Zappers the Big 2s had it all. Whatever the programme there was an ident more than suitable for introducing it (often the preceding ident was better than the programme itself!). Alas, after 10 years of loyal service, the BBC concluded that the much-loved idents were becoming too out of touch with BBC Two’s new ‘lighter’ schedule. And so in the early hours of Monday 19th November, the curtain came down on the 1991-2001 era as the Big 2s touchingly bowed out the way they came in all those years ago, with Paint. For now at least it was our last look at the viridian colour scheme which had defined BBC Two for over a decade; from that morning Two was going to look very different.
With little fanfare the new 2s signed on for their first day of service at 6.00am. Fish was the first ident to be shown, accompanied by a simple ‘This is BBC Two’ announcement. From now on the 2 would remain the same colour (ivory) and its antics would always take place in a yellow studio. The BBC Two logo was consigned to a purple box, a look which would soon be copied by the other BBC channels. The trail style remained largely unchanged; programme titles and schedule information were now left-aligned and wrote in a lighter variant of the Gills Sans typeface and the BBC Two box, which remained on screen throughout the trail, was placed in the bottom right corner of the screen. However, the real gems of the new package were the menu-info. A look at Now, Next and Later would appear on the left of the screen whilst in the top right corner an animated robot 2 could be seen. Sadly these menu-info quickly fell out of use and with no stings/animations to use BBC Two presentation quickly lost the variety it had once been famous for.
In contrast to the Big 2s which launched with 11 idents, the Yellow 2s launched with a mere 4 idents. The continuity manager was reported to have complained about the lack of choice available on their launch day. Idents were steadily added to bolster the package with Drip being the first new recruit in February 2002.
A common criticism of the Yellow 2s was the lack of an appropriate ident for introducing more serious programming. The tone of the robot 2s was intentionally light-hearted, in contrast to their deep, moody predecessors, to match BBC Two’s lighter schedule. However, serious programming, such as Newsnight, still existed and needed to be introduced suitably. Invisible Walls (introduced in May 2003) and a re-edited version of Bounce, featuring a new downbeat soundtrack, went someway to rectifying the problem but many still held the opinion that the continued use of bright colours diminished any serious feel.
Pres fans were also becoming tired of the same colour scheme being used in every ident. As time went on new idents showed a little more variety. First to break ranks was Fire, introduced in 2003. This ident was set in a much darker yellow studio than usual, to match the ident’s dramatic theme. Christmas 2005 abandoned the yellow robot theme altogether and instead opted for a fantastic lights show, much more reminiscent of BBC Two Christmas past.
Then in 2006 came the first signs that the Yellow 2s were coming to the end of their tenure. February saw the reinstatement of the Christmas 2000 ident, initially used during coverage of the 2006 Winter Olympics although the ident stuck around after the games’ completion. Later in 2006 BBC Two dug out old favourite Predator from the archives (rebadged as Venus Fly Trap) to introduce the Chelsea Flower Show. As with the Christmas 2000 ident, Venus Fly Trap remained in service after the flower show ended and could be found introducing gardening programming. Both of these idents were edited to feature the new BBC Two logotype but critically they conflicted with a number of key aspects of the 2001 rebrand: the 2 appeared in different colours, the 2 was deimageted outside of its studio and both idents did not contain the signature yellow colour scheme. Just as had happened towards the end of the 1991-2001 era, the Yellow 2’s resilient brand values were slowly being chipped away.
After months of speculation, it was finally confirmed by the BBC in July 2006 that BBC Two would be receiving a makeover. Advertising agency AMV BBDO won the pitch to produce BBC Two’s new presentation package, bringing an end to BBC Two’s 16 year relationship with Lambie-Nairn. And so on February 18th 2007 another new era dawned for BBC Two. The Yellow 2s which had survived a period of intense instability in TV pres land (the scrapping of the BBC One globe, the death of the ITV Regions and the launch of BBC’s Three and Four to name but a few) bowed out after 5½ years of service. Although this was half as long as their predecessors it was still a respectable innings in today’s ever changing TV world. A montage of idents (including Christmas 2000 and Venus Fly Trap) was shown at 3.00 am. The final robot 2 broadcast was Formation, used to introduce CBeebies at 6.00am that morning. It signalled the death of uniformity, the death of yellow and, despite promises it would remain, the death of the famous 2 that had defined BBC Two for over 16 years…
p class=”image-info”>The End
Shortly after 3.30am, a special compilation of idents was shown as a tribute – a similar package had been shown on BBC2 Northern Ireland and BBC2 Wales a few hours earlier.