Credits and branding

Credits are important to programme-makers but of limited interest to audiences. The BBC's credit policy balances the desire to reflect significant creative contributions with the reality that lengthy credits make viewers switch off. It's also important that the editorial use of credits across BBC output is consistent.

Guidance must be followed to maintain the strength of the BBC brand and ensure consistency among all producers of programmes for the BBC.

Productions granted permission from the BBC to deliver non-standard end credits should ensure that this information is noted in both the ‘Video Comments’ field in the programme file metadata and the eyeball report when they submit the final programme file. Find out more about file delivery.

 

Credits should be based solely on the following principles:

  • Credits should accurately reflect significant creative contributions specific to the programme.  
  • Credits must not be given in return for any payment, reduced fee, benefit or any other advantage.
  • Credits which imply that certain jobs are the preserve of one gender only must not be used. (The exception is Best Boy).
  • To ensure that credits are legible on-screen individual letters should not be less than 40 pixels in height. 
  • End credits must be between 25 – 30 seconds. 
  • Only Live Sport and Entertainment shows, where credits can be shorter, are allowed horizontal credit scrollers but these should still adhere to the new format and duration guidance.
  • Children's programmes where they should be 20 seconds and have a specific layout.
  • If end credits run over visually interesting graphics or live action these should not be editorially critical to the integrity of the programme or include speech as they may be processed to accommodate promotional messages.
  • End Credits should be justified to the centre and must be either cards or a vertical scroller.
  • End credits should run over visually interesting graphics or live action, but this should not be editorially critical to the integrity of the programme or include speech (including production-made trails or helpline information) as they may be shrunk or re-formatted to accommodate promotional messages.
  • Credits need to conform to the BBC Editorial Guidelines: editorial integrity and independence.

 

Credits a - z guide


Acquired programmes
: for single Documentaries, animation or filmed music product the credits and captions must be compliant with this guidance. For feature films and acquired series, it is understood that at the point of delivery the credits may well not be compliant to BBC specification in terms of duration or graphic safe areas.

Archive credits: archive suppliers may be credited for their Significant Creative Contribution (see below) if the credit is approved by the BBC executive producer/commissioning executive. In considering approval of an archive supplier credit the following criteria will be used to assess significance of the creative contribution:

  • editorial importance
  • exclusivity
  • duration/volume
  • additional support
  • contractual requirements

Where an archive house has provided additional support that has involved a significant creative contribution, for example archive research, a credit may be given to an individual or to the archive supplier but not to both.

Charity references: references must not be made in end credits to charities without prior referral to Editorial Policy.

Choice of credits: to keep lists short credits should be generic where possible eg when several people have carried out allied production roles the credit Production Team may be appropriate. See also 'Multiple names under one credit' below.

Copyright line: the copyright line should be on the final card. 

Download the Copyright lines for indies (PDF).

Credit documentation: Productions granted permission from the BBC to deliver non-standard end credits should ensure that this information is noted in both the ‘Video Comments’ field in the programme file metadata and the eyeball report when they submit the final programme file. Find out more about file delivery

Credit groups: credits are grouped in these guidance under overall headings, eg performers, crafts. This arrangement makes it easier to find the right credit. See closing credits information. Credits not listed should not be used without prior referral.

Exceptional circumstances: in exceptional circumstances we may be required contractually to give credits on some co- productions, for performers and Writers in specific productions and under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. In every other case producers exercise their discretion in accordance with the principles of crediting. The BBC will try - but cannot guarantee - to transmit all agreed credits. There may be times when we have to cut or drop them without warning.

Final cards: see the final card requirements in the branding for independent productions section.

Foreign broadcasters: foreign broadcasting organisations which supply or relay programmes to BBC Television may, at our discretion, receive an end credit which should appear before the final card, thus:

  • For national broadcasters the country and the channel eg Presentation by TF1 France
  • for regional or local broadcasters the city or town together with the company eg NDR Hamburg
  • a general acknowledgment is occasionally appropriate when several national services co-operate, eg a German Television Presentation.

This should usually be agreed at commission/contract stage. If not, then production teams should consult with the contract lawyer and central.marketing@bbc.co.uk.

Grammar and spelling: credits and captions should be checked for spelling or grammatical mistakes. Typical pitfalls to avoid are misplaced apostrophes and lower case letters for names or the beginnings of sentences. See also Name style below.

Helplines/Action lines: information about Helplines or Action Lines and other public service support material should not be included in end credits. Productions requiring a Helpline/Action Line should include this information in the body of the programme. If this is impractical, production should contact Media Planning to arrange for the information to be presented over the end credits during playout using the credit squeeze process. Programme makers may contact Audrey McCallum at Capita to book a Helpline or Action Line. Find out more about Helplines and Action lines on the Production resources page.

Honours and qualifications: honours, titles, decorations, and professional or academic qualifications should not normally be included in credits (or captions) unless they are relevant to the circumstances in which the person appears. See also Name style below.

Independent production companies: the BBC's contracts with independent production companies give us the final say on credits. The BBC requires all independent productions' credit proposals to meet the terms of this guidance. Any queries or exceptions should be referred to the BBC executive producer for the relevant programme.

Locations: if a production judges that it would be of interest to the audience to know the name of a location used in a programme (and it is not apparent from the programme itself) it may be identified in end credits. Such references cannot be given in exchange for a waived or a reduced facility fee or for any other benefit or advantage. Where a location is given the name must appear in the same style as the rest of the credit sequence. Location owners' names, logos or house colours cannot be used.

Multiple names under one credit: where two or more people have contributed to work covered by a single credit. eg costume, the relative contributions should be reflected by different type sizes. For example, a senior role would appear in larger type than a junior one. See also Choice of credits.

Music: there may be times when a production judges that it would be of interest to the audience to know the name of a piece of music used in a programme. A reference in the credits must be non-promotional and must be limited to the title of the piece and either the composer or the performer, not both.

Name style: generally people's names should appear in credits (and captions) in the style their owners prefer. See also Honours and qualifications.

News programmes: there should be no credits for news bulletins or nations and regions News magazines.

One person with multiple roles: no individual should normally be named in a credit list more than once. Where someone has fulfilled more than one credit-worthy function he/she may be credited for both (if more than two functions they must choose just two which most reflected their contribution) in a single credit line, provided the roles are significantly different from each other eg "Written and Produced by". In all other circumstances proposals to credit someone more than once must be referred before a commitment is made. See also Referrals.

Opening titles and credits: there should be no opening credits other than those listed under opening credits. On CBBC, credits for key talent and Writers should always be over action. Where feasible (eg in Dramas) key talent, Writers and senior editorial/production staff should be credited in the opening sequence instead of the end credits. Opening credits should not be repeated in closing credit sequences except credits for performers.

Order of credits: given the diversity of programmes there can be no firm rule about the order in which credits are listed. However, the aim should be to run them in a logical sequence starting, where appropriate, with the names of performers or contributors and ending with the name of the person responsible for the production.

Position of credits and end credit promotions: please see the correct position for all end credits section for details about pre-recorded programmes for BBC One, Two, Three and Four, CBBC and CBeebies.

Post-credit sequences: post-credit sequences (ie live action sequences which appear after the credits have been run) are not permitted without approval from the relevant commissioning Head.

Promotions over end credits: preview trails edited by production into end credits (eg "Next week...") are not permitted. If productions wish to trail the next in the series this should be done before the end credits.

Readability: to ensure that credits are legible on-screen consideration must be given to typefaces, graphic style (including contrast with any background used) and roller speed. Please note the type size guidance on the credit positioning section. Individual letters in credits should not be less that 40 pixels in height.

Re-caps: on CBBC, Drama series/continuing narrative programmes should include re-caps pre-title.

Referrals and advice: referrals should be made where indicated. For further advice consult the BBC executive producer or the following:

Significant creative contribution: to ensure we recognize those with the greatest creative contribution to a specific programme we must be consistent about our definitions of what this category includes and excludes:

  • Only credit those who have contributed directly to the programme. This does not include overarching managerial roles in companies or departments eg heads of production, production executives, creative heads, head of development, head of department, company director.
  • Do not include suppliers who have provided a resource/service for which we have paid a fee and for which there was no creative value added by the company. This is a commercial transaction rather than a creative one. See Suppliers below. Any exceptions to this require previous agreement with the BBC executive producers.

Suppliers and facilities: it is not permissible to credit suppliers and facilities who are providing their products or services for a fee and not adding a creative or production role. This is a commercial transaction and a procurement relationship rather than a creative one. Any exceptions to this require previous agreement with the BBC executive producer. It is possible to credit facilities such as post-production houses, where it is clear that a significant creative contribution has been made. Such credits may include the name(s) of the individual(s) or the name of the organisation, but not both. Under no circumstances can credits be given in exchange for a waived or a reduced fee or for any other benefit or advantage. No exceptions to this can be considered.

Sponsored events: where it is appropriate to identify an event sponsor in the end credits the name should appear in the same style as the credits themselves. Event sponsors' logos or house colours cannot be used. All proposed credits for event sponsors must be referred before commitments are made.

Theatrical organisations: credits should not be given to theatrical organisations whose performers appear in television programmes unless required contractually. Where this occurs the inclusion of a credit must be referred and agreed in advance. Typical wording is "Beverley Smith appears by permission of XYZ theatre company".

Third party commitments: the BBC person responsible for a production must tell anyone who makes a programme for or in association with the BBC that they should not make crediting commitments to third parties, eg Contributors and Co-producers, without checking first with the BBC that any proposed credit is permissible.

Tribute credits: credits such as "This programme is in memory of X" are not permissible without referral in advance.

Use of animals: where animals are used in productions in a way which may give the mistaken impression they have been harmed it is often wise to include a reassuring caption in the end credits. Typical options are "The programme-makers/producers would like to give an assurance that no animals were harmed in the filming/making of this programme/episode".  An explanation of this type is likely to avert complaints from viewers.

URLs in credits and the body of a programme: promotional URLs must not include the "www." when they appear on-screen and must always appear "bbc.co.uk/" This address gives access to the home page of the corresponding BBC web site which in turn offers access to programme information and any e-mail facility. Only BBC URLs and email addresses may be used. These may be used by BBC Studios and independent productions. The URL should be placed on the endboard below the copyright notice. No reference to any commercial site (including the BBC's) or non BBC email addresses is permitted. On CBBC where a programme is included on the CBBC website then the URL which should appear is bbc.co.uk/cbbc.

Varying credits in a series: in a series, it may not always be necessary to include every credit-worthy individual in each programme. Depending on what people have contributed it may be more appropriate, for example in a six-parter, to credit some individuals in programmes one, three and six only and others in the remainder only.

Website guidance: the BBC is trying to focus the number of calls to action it gives its audience to ensure messages that are communicated are impactful and of direct benefit to the audience. Only those programmes that have a specific website commission should include a programme URL in their end credits. This should appear as bbc.co.uk/sitename eg bbc.co.uk/doctorwho. If there is no associated web commission for a programme then end credits should remain clean of any URL.

With thanks to: this section is the reserve of individuals or organisations who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in helping the programme makers and without whom the programme could not have been made. It should not include on-screen Contributors, suppliers or fixers. Inclusion of such a credit must be separate from any financial negotiation or contractual arrangements.

 

Credit categories

The following download details what categories may be used in opening and closing credits. Programme-makers may choose from the two credit lists detailed here only.

Download the opening and closing credit lists (PDF).

Further information about credits for BBC Studios productions can be found on BBC Gateway.

 

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 accompanying music or graphic:

Channel Slot Duration Maximum Credit Duration

BBC One
BBC Two
BBC Three
BBC Four
BBC Northern Ireland
BBC Scotland
BBC Wales

All Durations 25 to 30 seconds
CBeebies, CBBC Channel All durations 20 seconds

 

They may be longer for first and last editions provided they do not exceed the programme duration guidelines. 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. There may even be occasions when credits are not necessary. 

Download further information about opening and closing credits (PDF).

 

Credit positioning

These guidelines do not apply to children's, sport and live entertainment shows and special requirements apply for BBC Wales.

If end credits run over visually interesting graphics or live action these should not be editorially critical to the integrity of the programme or include speech (including production-made trails or helpline information) as they may be re-formatted to accommodate promotional messages.

Programme trails, solicits or helplines edited by production into their end credits are no longer allowed and should wherever possible be accommodated within the programme.

End credits should be delivered justified to the centre and be no wider than the 4:3 caption safe area. They must not be justified left, justified right or be horizontal scrollers. They may be either cards or a vertical scroller.

 

Credit safe area

End credits image

 

The end credits sequence will slide to the left with no size change. It is therefore essential that all text fits within the 4:3 caption safe area. All programmes return to full screen for the closing end board.

 

End credits image

 

End credits may be in any typeface but where possible should not be less than 40 pixels in HD and not less than 20 pixels in SD. This is to guarantee legibility of the end credits.

Please note that different requirements may apply for Children's programmes, please see the Children's sections below.

 

On screen restrictions/DOG

Avoid having captions, graphics or written words in the top left or right of screen as these may clash with the Digitally Originated Graphic (DOG) or with the ‘Press Red’ flag or service option tags for interactive services.

  • On BBC Three and BBC Four there will be at least one DOG on screen throughout the transmission of the show (with the exception of movies and performance on BBC Four and only in exceptional circumstances on BBC Three)
  • On BBC Three (in special circumstances such as a theme night) an extra event specific DOG may be generated. They will be placed in the top left of screen under the BBC Three DOG on the edge of the 4x3 safe action area.
  • ‘Press Red’ and interactive service option tags may appear top-right of screen.

Safe Areas HD Master 

Branding for independent production companies

Download the endcard credit package for editors and graphic designers (Photoshop CC)

Opening branding

There can be no opening branding.

For BBC Three longform opening branding please see the BBC Three branding section

Closing branding

In addition to the requirements for network and non-network programmes an independent production company may be identified only by:

  • its symbol
  • or its name
  • or its symbol and name

Where the above criteria are met the identification must appear as part of the final card together with the words “for BBC” in the corporate typeface (Gill Sans regular) and the static BBC corporate logo and must:

  • occupy no more than 10% of a 4 × 3 screen format, irrespective of whether or not it is a widescreen production. 
  • appear over the same background as the programme's other credits or over black.
  • keep any animation within the above size specification and to a maximum of 2.5 seconds' duration but with no accompanying special sound or jingle.
  • have the end card held for three seconds as part of the total programme duration. It should then be held for a further 10 seconds as a precautionary measure.
BBC logo

The BBC logo must:

  • Be static and either cut or mix on
  • Be white or black only
  • Be centred wherever possible
  • Appear over the same background as the programme other credits, or over black,
  • Not use dropped shadow
  • Be no less than 72 pixels in height (maximum height must not exceed 84 pixels)
  • Have square blocks

 

Indie endboard 

Picture safe area

The exact dimensions of each area in the safe area grid are detailed in the guidelines on the BBC Technical Standards website.

Further guidelines for independent productions

Copyright lines for indies (PDF).

Download the BBC Reith font on the BBC Branding website.


Please note that different requirements apply for Children's programmes, please see the Children's sections below.

 

Branding for strands

Download the branding for strands (dropbox) including Arena, Horizon and Storyville.

 

Branding for BBC Studios

BBC Studios staff can find relevant branding information on the Gateway intranet. Non BBC Studios staff or those unable to access Gateway should contact their respective producer for more information or with any other query.

 

Branding for BBC in-house (non Studios)

BBC in-house staff should contact their respective producer for branding information or with any other query.

 

Branding for co-commissions

Download the endcard credit package for editors and graphic designers (Photoshop CC)

This section explains the closing sequence requirements for programmes made as co- commissions between two independent production companies.

An independent production company may be identified by:

  • Its logo
  • OR its name
  • OR its logo and name, where both are a combined single symbol

Where the above criteria are met, identification must appear (for each company) only as part of the final card together with the words ‘for BBC’ in the corporate typeface (Gill Sans regular) and BBC corporate logo. Each company identification must:

  • Occupy no more than 10% of a 4 x 3 screen format, irrespective of whether or not it is a widescreen production. See credit positioning section above.
  • Appear over the same background as the programme's other credits, or over black.
  • Keep animation within the above size specification and to a maximum of 2.5 seconds' duration, but with no accompanying special sound or jingle
BBC logo

The BBC logo must:

  • Be static and either cut or mix on
  • Be white or black only
  • Be centred wherever possible
  • Appear over the same background as the programme other credits, or over black
  • Not use dropped shadow
  • Be no less than 72 pixels in height (maximum height must not exceed 84 pixels)
  • Have square blocks 

 

Single Co-Commission

Double Co-Commision

Single Co-Commission Grid Size

 

For co-commissions between two independent production companies within strands (ie imagine...) the independent company identification and accompanying BBC logo should be on the penultimate card.

Picture safe areas

The exact dimensions of each area in the safe area grid are detailed in the guidelines on the BBC Technical Standards website.

Please note that different requirements apply for Children's programmes, please see the Children's sections below.

 

BBC Three

BBC Three opener

All longform content and short-form content destined for iPlayer must include an animated BBC Three opener (“BBC Three presents”). This is a mandatory requirement. Full details are available on the BBC Three longform branding guidelines (PDF).

BBC Three credits

Credits for longform programming follow the same principles as standard longform linear BBC programmes. 

 

Branding for CBeebies and CBBC independents

Download the CBeebies and CBBC endcard credit package for editors and graphic designers (PSD - CS6 or later).

Opening branding

Unless agreed in exceptional circumstances at controller level, logos and branding for the BBC, BBC regions, production centers, independent production companies and co-producers should not be included in the opening credits of any programme made for CBBC or CBeebies.

Closing branding

The primary CBBC logo must appear on the end board for CBBC programmes and the CBeebies logo must appear on the end board for CBeebies programmes. Find more information in the CBeebies style guide (PDF).

CBBC and CBeebies prefer closing credits to run over the top of action in vision. If this is not appropriate for a particular show closing credit should be centred over an interesting background but not over plain black.

There will be a credit squeeze on CBBC if there is no action underneath the credits. In these cases productions should therefore ensure the 4:3 safe area is adhered to. 

Logos

CBBC and CBeebies logos must:

  • be centred on the endboard at all times
  • appear at a minimum size (see below)

Where independent production company logos are required the BBC logo must be the larger of the two and stacked horizontally:

Web Site Childrens Indie Example logo White

Where two independent production companies are required, the BBC logo must be the larger of the three and stacked horizontally:

Childrens Indie 

The CBBC logo should occupy 2.3 rectangles in width ie 23% of the 4x3 format screen area.

For further information about the correct and incorrect uses of logos please see the CBeebies style guide (PDF)

 

Caption safe area

Full information of the exact dimensions of each area are in section 2.10 of the BBC Technical Standards.

The opening BBC logo and closing credits must appear within the 16.9 caption safe area. The percentages shown are percentages of the 16:9 screen size.

Keeping credits within the 4:3 safe area is recommended for all programmes but is not always necessary. See details below.

Cbeebies: credits are not required to be within the 4:3 safe area as credit squeezing is not currently available for CBeebies.

CBBC: a credit squeeze will be used if there is no action underneath the credits. Therefore please ensure that the 4:3 safe areas are adhered to if there is no action underneath credits.

 

childrens Screen Restrictions Example 

Childrens Example 

Caption safe area

Defined as (%)

HD pixels (inclusive)

First pixel numbered 1

TV line numbers (inclusive)

Numbering as per “Rec709”

16:9 caption safe

90% of active width

90 % of active height

96 – 1823

54 – 1025

48 to 533 (FI) and 611 to 1096 (F2)

 

Download the CBeebies and CBBC endcard credit package for editors and graphic designers (PSD - CS6 or later).

 

Branding for CBeebies and CBBC inhouse

Download the CBeebies and CBBC endcard credit package for editors and graphic designers (PSD - CS6 or later).

Opening branding

Unless agreed in exceptional circumstances at controller level, logos and branding for the BBC, BBC regions, production centres or co-producers should not be included on the opening credits of any programme made for CBBC or CBeebies.

Closing branding

The primary CBBC logo must appear on the end board for CBBC programmes and the CBeebies logo must appear on the end board for CBeebies programmes.

The endbaord must have “CBeebies Production”/“CBBC Production” between the logo and the date copyright.

CBBC and CBeebies prefer closing credits to run over the top of action in vision. If this is not appropriate for a particular show, closing credits should be centred over an interesting background but not over plain black.

The end card should be held for three seconds as part of your total programme duration. It should then be held for a further five seconds as a precautionary measure.

Producer or other credit should be centred horizontally above the logo.

If a programme has qualified for an Albert credit please note that while there is no specific size, it should not be larger than the channel logo. It must appear within the safe area along with the rest of the end board, stacked horizontally with the other credits.

Logos

CBBC and CBeebies logos:

  • must be centred at all times on the endboard
  • must appear at a minimum size.
  • be aligned within the centre of the screen
CBBC_Blue_In_House logo 

For further information about the correct and incorrect uses of logos please see the CBeebies style guide (PDF).

Caption safe area

Full information of the exact dimensions of each area are in section 2.10 of the Technical Standards and Guidelines.

The opening BBC logo and closing credits must appear within the 16.9 caption safe area. The percentages shown are percentages of the 16:9 screen size.

Credits are not required to be within the 4:3 safe area as credit squeezing is not currently available for CBBC and CBeebies channels. Keeping credits within the 4:3 safe area is recommended for future proofing your programme, but is not necessary.

Web Site Childrens Safe Areas

CBBC

Caption safe area

Defined as (%)

HD pixels (inclusive)

First pixel numbered 1

TV line numbers (inclusive)

Numbering as per “Rec709”

16:9 caption safe

80% of active width

90 % of active height

191 – 1726

55 – 1028

48 to 532 (FI) and 611 to 1095 (F2)


Download the CBeebies and CBBC endcard credit package for editors and graphic designers (PSD - CS6 or later).

 

Music styleguide

The BBC Music styleguide details the correct uses of the brand in terms of credits, typeface, animated and static logos, online banners and other on and off-air elements.

Download the BBC Music styleguide (PDF).

 

Independent producer joint promotion guidelines

Joint promotions are marketing tools designed to promote two or more products simultaneously, usually by associating brands or products which will often belong to separate companies. These guidelines give advice on types of appropriate and inappropriate joint promotions.

Download the independent production company joint promotion guidelines (PDF).
 

Talent as executive producer policy

On-screen/on-air talent is playing an increasingly significant role in some BBC productions. The BBC has therefore reviewed its compliance processes for dealing with such productions, in particular looking at the role of executive producer.

Download the talent as executive producer policy (PDF).

Third party brand and design commercial guidelines

Access the BBC third party brand and design commercial guidelines 

(login details available from business affairs contacts.) 

 

Trade marks

Under the provisions of the Programme production agreement (PPA), certain distribution activities regarding the programme in the UK must carry the BBC logo (General term 16.2.4). If the production is licensing any of these rights to third parties the production is required to ensure that the third party enter into a Trade Mark Licence directly with the BBC for these purposes.

There is a streamlined process to enable this to be achieved.

Further information can be found in the Trade mark special terms and the Trade mark general terms.

Download the trade mark information sheet for a description of the process (Word).

Download the trade mark special term (Word).

Download the trade mark general terms (PDF).

Download the trade mark schedule (PDF).

 

Open University crediting, branding, endboards and call to action 

See the OU production page for full information.