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Pic Of The Day: BBC1 Ident

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Alan Connor | 09:00 UK time, Monday, 3 March 2008

In the corner of the boardroom BC2A3M3 here at Broadcast Centre sits a box. Inside the box is a globe which will not be familiar to younger readers. For those who remember when BBC channel idents did not involve penguins, ballerinas or hippos, though, it should be all to easy to picture what this mechanical globe looks like when the power is turned on. (For background on idents and furniture in general, you can spend many a happy hour at Andrew Wiseman's Television Room.)


Update 2008-03-04: Since taking the photo above, I've also written about the homepage clock in an article for the BBC News Magazine, so it's been suggested that I put a link here to those witterings.

Update 2008-03-18: Nick has pointed out that the bog-brush blog quotes this beautiful explanation of the 1985 vintage BBC "COW" (computer-originated world).

Alan Connor is co-editor, BBC Internet Blog. The kit making up a corresponding BBC2 ident can be seen in our Flickr account.


  1. At 12:05 PM on 03 Mar 2008, Mark Walker wrote:

    Somebody needs to do a flash animation of this. The clocks are nice, but the globe is a classic.

  2. At 12:09 PM on 03 Mar 2008, Hugh Sheppard wrote:

    Having installed this device in Noddy* courtesy of John Aston’s design (as I recall) and Murray Andrews’s construction skills, I remember it well.

    As Senior Assistant Programme Operations, Presentation, Television (there’s a title!) at the time, circa 1972, I kept a spare hand-painted ‘globule’ in my office drawer. When the symbols were discarded that stayed with me, and now sits atop a vase in the living room.

    Thanks for the memory,

    Hugh Sheppard

    * Noddy was the remote-control B & W caption camera that nodded up, down and sideways for 12 BBC-1 12” X 9” symbols, clocks and captions as dictated from the Network Control Room. BBC-2 had another. By the time of the network ident. shown above, the output was colourised: blue for BBC-1 and orange for BBC-2.

  3. At 12:50 PM on 03 Mar 2008, Nick Booth wrote:

    That I remember, but I didn't imagine it being so quaint!

  4. At 01:28 PM on 03 Mar 2008, David Barton wrote:

    Perhaps the BBC would like to bring this back! It would do wonders for their image....

  5. At 02:36 PM on 03 Mar 2008, mulder wrote:

    At least 3 different flash animations of the globe exist. I won't post the url, type 'bbc1 globe recreation' into Google, I'm sure you'll find something interesting and get to the globe eventually.

    They did use the globe for series 2 of Life On Mars, but the recreation they made wasn't very accurate. BBC Wales, however, used their original 1981 globe with a few bits and pieces added to give it a more 70s look. They never used a globe in 1973 though, they had their own 'C' symbol.

    Who knows where the little owl symbol in the top right of this blog originates then? ;)

  6. At 06:56 PM on 03 Mar 2008, Katie fraser wrote:

    Wow! It's great to see that symbol again! Great to see it without it working and so techinical too!

    Mulder, being a BBC boofin of sorts, the little owl symbol comes from the BBC Micro! Yay! Got that right! Wish I could learn more about the mechanical symbols, and see them in person!

  7. At 07:01 PM on 03 Mar 2008, Steve Bentley wrote:

    This is quite a timely post, as a bit of controversy is raging elsewhere which perhaps somebody could settle.

    Was the nodding camera arrangement which Hugh mentions officially called "Noddy" or was it called "NODD", pronounced Noddy as an acronym for "Nexus Orthicon Display Device" as is claimed by several sources, including the (now defunct) BBC Cult section.

  8. At 07:17 PM on 03 Mar 2008, Steve B wrote:

    Wasn't the Owl printed on the BBC Micro in the eighties?

  9. At 03:35 PM on 04 Mar 2008, Katie Fraser wrote:

    It was! I love the photo! Great to see the old symbol there!

  10. At 08:43 PM on 04 Mar 2008, Simeon wrote:

    Can we start a petition to bring back the BBC 'world' idents. Ever since all the original idents went (last being the balloons I think) the idents have been awful - bring back the old BBC!!

  11. At 02:46 PM on 05 Mar 2008, Malcolm C Walker wrote:

    Hugh Sheppard is absolutely right about the term Noddy. All this Nexus whatever is, I would suggest, total nonsense!

  12. At 01:37 PM on 13 Mar 2008, Enricko wrote:

    Good article. I agree with Steve

  13. At 01:40 PM on 13 Mar 2008, Fredericko wrote:

    "Hugh Sheppard is absolutely right about the term Noddy. All this Nexus whatever is, I would suggest, total nonsense!"
    I fully agree!

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