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Programme Numbers (UIDs) and Durations

Programme Duration

Your commissioning documentation will specify a slot duration for the programme. However, the physical programme you deliver must conform to the actual duration requirements shown below.

Slot Duration: the length of the slot in which your programme transmits eg for Watchdog this will normally be 30 minutes (7.30 - 8pm).

Actual Duration: the running time at which you should deliver your programme. The actual duration is less than the slot duration to allow for promotions and previews eg for Watchdog this would be one minute less than the slot duration (29 minutes).

Channel                                Slot DurationActual Duration

BBC One Peak time
BBC One Scotland
BBC One N. Ireland
BBC One Wales

 60 minutes 58 minutes
All other durations

 One minute less than slot duration

 BBC One Daytime
 15 minutes 13 mins 45 secs
 30 minutes 28 mins 45 secs
 45 minutes 43 mins 45 secs
 60 minutes 58 minutes
 Other slots To be advised
BBC Two/BBC Four
BBC Two Scotland
BBC Two N. Ireland
BBC Two Wales
 All durations One minute less than slot duration

 BBC Three


 15 minutes 14 minutes
 30 minutes 28 mins 30 secs
 45 minutes 43 minutes
 60 minutes 57 minutes
 Other slots To be advised
 CBBC and CBeebies
 5 minutes 3 - 5 minutes (to be agreed with Head of Scheduling)
 10 minutes 10 minutes
 15 minutes 14 minutes
 20 minutes 19 minutes
 25 minutes 24 minutes
 30 minutes 28 minutes
 45 minutes 44 minutes
 60 minutes 58 minutes


  • The actual durations quoted include opening and closing titles. 
  • Occasionally the actual duration of your programme may need to vary from the guidelines above. In this case your Commissioning Executive, or for Children’s content the Head of Scheduling, will advise you of the actual duration to which you should deliver. 
  • Any variation to the agreed duration must be formally agreed with your BBC Commissioning Editor or for Children’s content the Head of Scheduling.
  • Children’s programmes have a 15 second allowance either side of these durations.

It is essential that programmes be delivered to the correct duration to ensure that schedules work to time. Programmes with incorrect durations will be returned to production for re-editing and will require new programme to be submitted for Technical Review at the productions expense.

Credit Durations
Opening Credit Durations

Opening credit sequences for programmes for BBC Three must not exceed 10 seconds. This should be taken into account when commissioning any music or graphic intended to accompany them.

End Credit Durations

End credit sequences must not exceed the following durations, which should be taken into account when commissioning any music or graphic intended to accompany them:

ChannelSlot DurationMaximum Credit Duration
BBC Three
BBC Four
BBC Northern Ireland
BBC Scotland
All Durations25 to 30 seconds
BBC Wales (excluding Drama)All Durations15 seconds
BBC Wales DramaAll Durations30 seconds
CBeebies, CBBC ChannelAll Durations20 seconds

They may be longer for first and last editions provided they do not exceed the timings listed. This must be agreed in advance with the Commissioning Editor.

These durations are not targets to be achieved, but maximum  durations which must not be exceeded. There may be occasions when the credits can be shorter, bearing in mind the need to ensure credits are fully legible (see Readability). There may even be occasions when credits are not necessary. 

Programme UIDs (Unique Identifiers)

Every BBC programme episode version has its own UID number which follows the episode throughout its life and is used for all filing, documentation, music reporting, archive and retrieval. This replaces the Prog ID/Clock number. 

The UID is made up of two parts:

  • The core number: identifies the programme down to episode level: DRA A479U 
  • The version number (suffix): identifies the version of the episode:  /01, /02 (start at /01 and run to /49) 

Together they make the UID: DRA A479U/01

UID numbers are available from: 

Note: Red Bee Media and BBC Archives cannot supply these numbers.

Productions must not increment version numbers. If a new version of the programme needs to be delivered, contact the UID issuer for a new version number. Read further information about the BBC Clone Delivery Policy and editing programmes after a Technical Review on the Delivery Essentials page.

For Programme Acquisitions Only:
  • The first transfer of an acquired programme should be numbered /01 but the source will be entered as /99. 
  • Any subsequent transfer will be numbered /02 etc.

Reversioning Old Format Numbers

Programmes with old format number will keep that number. If a programme with an old format number is now reversioned then the version element will now increment to a /01 ie a reversion of a /71 version will be a /01.

The new rule is as follows:

If there is no version code below /50 for the episode then indie delivery team will allocate the new version with a /01 suffix.

Example: three versions of an episode exist with the following numbers DRIA413B/71, DRIA413B/72, DRIA413B/73. If this programme is reversioned again it will be given the number DRIA413B/01.

If there is a version code below /50 for the episode then the new version will get the next highest version number.

Example: there are three versions of an episode as follows: DRIA416J/71, DRIA416J/01 and DRIA416J/02. If this programme is reversioned again it will be given the number DRIA416J/03.

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