BBC Choice/Three

BBC Choice was launched in September 1998. Targeted mainly at a younger audience (20-30's) with its 'entertainment' image, it showed a mixture of repeats from One and Two, as well as airing some series exclusively before they come to analogue. Almost a year after BBC Knowledge became BBC Four, BBC Choice became BBC Three in February 2003. As well as a name change, the new channel was designed to show more original programming than its predecessor, though due to the somewhat restrictive terms of its licence, it often ended up having to repeat the same originally commissioned programmes ad nausea.

The channel continued to grow over the following decade, even launching an HD version and carrying more well known programmes such as Eurovision Semi Finals and Olympics Coverage in 2012. However in 2015, as part of the overall attempts to reduce costs at the BBC, the channel was earmarked for closure. Officially it became the first BBC channel to 'move online' in February 2016...

Or so everyone thought! After many months of speculation, it was finally confirmed that BBC Three would return to linear broadcasting once more in February 2022 in somewhat of a climbdown on the previous position.


BBC Choice (Pre 2003)

BBC Choice - Cubes V1

The last set of BBC Choice idents were introduced in early 2002. There were only 3 variants, all using the 3 cubes. (spot any patterns with the number 3!) This was probably only supposed to be stop-gap measure until BBC Three launched... only that was delayed more than they expected. In this version, the cubes zoom off into the distance.

BBC Choice - Cubes V2

The three cubes roll around in this variant.

BBC Choice - Cubes V3

In this third variant the cubes seem to have become rebellious. They start off fighting with each other, then all seem to become paralysed, unable to move from one spot!

BBC Choice - Next

Infamous at the time for being annoying towards viewers, although I suppose its nothing compared to what they do with the CBBC channel! Towards the end of most programmes, three cubes used to appear across the top of the screen with an advert for a programme. Usually this told people what was on next, although as is seen in this example, it could be for anything!

BBC Choice - Promo

An advert for Liquid News on Choice, one of the programmes exclusively made for the channel. As with the idents, the old non-coloured-box BBC style was still being used while the rest had their boxes. I suppose the orange cubes are thrown in again, and they're boxes!

BBC Choice Christmas 2002

For Christmas 2002, the 2 digital channels were given idents as well. The Christmas Choice ident follows on the 'building site' theme in the run up to the launch of BBC Three.

BBC Three (9/2/2003 - 11/2/2008)

BBC Two Handover to BBC Three

Like the launch of BBC Four, the launch of BBC Three was simulcast on BBC Two (Are you following so far). To handover to the new station, this slightly tweaked version of one of the regular BBC Two idents was used, bearing more than an uncanny resemblance to the handover ident used when BBC Four launched.

BBC Three (Welcome) - 2003

Some orange blobs and Johnny Vaughan Welcome viewers to BBC Three. As Vaughan tells us what we're about to see is 'an exact replica of a typical night on BBC Three', little did we know at the time just how literally that was meant...

BBC Three (Taster) - 2003

After welcoming viewers, Vaughan then leads us into a 3 minute taster of what is to come on the channel.

BBC Three (Ident) - Underwater - 2003

One of the new idents based upon the blobs theme. In this version, the character is talking underwater!

BBC Three (Ident) - Glasses - 2003

This time, one blob tries to frighten the other two with stories about the power of his Glasses!

BBC Three (Girls Night Out) - 2003

One of the blobs talks about how she loves going out to pubs with girls in another BBC Three ident, from the first week of the new channel here.

BBC Three (Sting) - 2003

A short sting from 2003 featuring one of the BBC Three blobs.

BBC Three (Promo) - 2003

An example of the promo style on BBC Three. Notice how little it has in common with the trailer style of the other BBC stations of the time. An early example of the break from the corporate style.

BBC Three (Promo) - 2005

A later example of the 2005 promo style for BBC Three under the blobs era branding, though by now the logo box has been recoloured in blue rather than white. Here promoting something actually coming up 'next' on the channel on one of the other BBC channels, in a change from the use of End Credit Promotions.

BBC3 Advert - Christmas 2005

A christmas 2005 promo for the Little Britain and a Packet of Crisps channel... bug style!

BBC Three (Distraction) - 2007

One of the orange worms is talking away, when suddenly someone else comes crashing in creating somewhat of a distraction. Like other elements of the presentation, the channel box has been recoloured blue rather than the white it was at launch.

BBC Three (Spaghetti) - 2007

A story about how difficult it is to make spaghetti in this BBC Three ident.

BBC Three (12/2/2008 - 30/9/2013)

BBC Three (Dancing) - 2009

BBC Three saw its first major rebrand in 2008. Out were the orange blobs and the boxed channel logo, and in were pink pipes, and small computer rendered people in surreal worlds. In this ident, a series of people dance on the street.

BBC Three (Sting) - 2009

The little people try and remove the giant plug from the hill in this short sting. Hey, don't blame me - like Catchphrase, I just say what I see!

BBC Three (People's Continuity) - 2009

Initially with the rebrand, a big fuss was made of the plan to have user submitted content for continuity. One such user submitted link into The Real Hustle is presented here filmed on a shaky webcam. As is often the case with these user interaction plans, the idea was quietly dropped quite quickly.

BBC Three (Promo) - 2009

BBC Three (Sting - The Incredibles) - 2011

A short sting used to lead into an airing of Disney's The Incredibles on BBC Three in 2011, using pre-supplied animation from Disney. In the later years of its life, much of early January on BBC Three would be used to air repeats of movies the BBC had acquired for BBC One over Christmas, allowing them to maximise their investment in film rights even if the films themselves seemed a little out of place on the channel sometimes.

BBC Three (4/1/2016 - January 2022)

BBC Three - 2016

In a move designed to give them a fresh brand in time for the main channel's closure and their move to 'online only' status, BBC Three introduced a new look to their whole pres package in the month before the planned move. The logo is now designed to sit well within a square for easy use in app icons, and in the idents features various graphical animations forming in and out of it. A periscope and surgical tools are just a few of the items in this one.

BBC Three - 2016

A tablet and headphones feature (just so you know how hip and intouch with the modern generation auntie is), before a trio of unclothed people bounce up and down on the screen.

BBC Three (Promo) - 2016

BBC Three (Online Promo) - 2016

BBC Three (ECP) - 2016

The ECP style was also updated to use the new BBC Three logo.

BBC Three (Coming Up) - 2016

Although it wasn't intended to be used for long on the broadcast channel, a new coming up menu was put together as part of the new package.

BBC Three (Final 60 Seconds News) - 2016

One of the shows to be dropped completely with the move online was the channel's long running 60 Seconds News. From the final evening of BBC Three in 2016 (offically - ignoring the quietly hidden slots that lasted a little longer in the middle of the night for another month) - The last ever edition of 60 Seconds News goes out just after midnight, with both some of the invision news and the ticker along the bottom covering the fact it was their last ever show, alongside the actual news. Amazing how much you can fit into a minute!

BBC One (Threetime) - 2019

To soften the blow of a return to the shorter pre-2016 length of their 10 O'Clock News, the BBC decided to air BBC Three programming on BBC One in a late night slot Monday-Wednesday. To mark this, a new 'Threetime' ident was introduced for the strand, showing both BBC One and BBC Three branding together.

BBC One (Three on One) - October 2021

BBC Three hadn't relaunched as a standalone channel by the time of the October 2021 refresh, however a selection of their programmes were still airing on Monday nights on BBC One. As such, the special 'Threetime' ident was replaced with a new graphical reworking using the new split logo device. BBC One Network's version here.

BBC Three (February 2022 Onwards)

BBC Three (Launch Ident - Jeans) - 2022

BBC Three made a return to linear broadcast television on February 1st 2022, complete with a fresh new rebrand that had been teased out during test transmissions running up to the relaunch. The first ident from 7pm on launch night, leading in to a simulcast with Radio 1, featuring the new symbols for the channel - 3 hand characters - showing off pairs of jeans.

BBC Three (Smartphone) - 2022

Remember, BBC Three is hip and trendy innit, and what better way to prove that than by including some smartphones in another ident!

BBC Three (Swimming) - 2022

The three hand characters take a dive into water in another BBC Three ident.

BBC Three (Sign Zone - Varnish) - 2022

The Sign Zone treatment of removing the main logo, before positioning the ECP-style graphic over the right hand side that had been seen on other BBC stations since October made it across to the relaunched BBC Three as well. Here a nail varnish ident receives the Sign Zone addition.

BBC Three (Varnish) - 2022

The non-sign-zone version of the 'Nail Varnish' ident for BBC Three.

BBC Three (Steps) - 2022

In one of the less-themed idents, the three characters simply walk onscreen and pose. This ident was the first to be aired, shown as part of a test loop several weeks ahead of launch for one night. Possibly just to see who was recording the broadcasts early!

BBC Three (Off Air Slide) - 2022

With BBC Three once more timesharing space with CBBC, the channel could only start airing at 7pm. Similar to the approach for BBC Four, for a short period between the switchoff of CBBC and the start of trailers for BBC Three, an off air slide would appear. A longer stint of this slide also appears after closedown before children's programming retakes the space at 6am.

BBC Three (The Catch Up) - 2022

The return of BBC Three to TV also saw a return of a '60 seconds' style news programme. Only now running instead for 3 minutes, and only airing once in the evening.

BBC Three (Next) - 2022

Next slides on BBC Three followed a very similar style to what had been introduced to the rest of the BBC channels in October 2021, just applied with the new garish colourscheme for Three.

BBC Three (ECP) - 2022

The End Credit Promotion style for BBC Three similarly followed the same style as the other channels had already adopted in October 2021, with the new colours of the channel now applied.

BBC Three (Promo) - 2022

An example of the promo style for BBC Three. Inkeeping with the style for the other channels introduced in October 2022, promos are topped and tailed by BBC Three blips.

BBC Three (BBC One Cross Promo) - 2022

Throughout the 2022 launch evening on BBC Three, pre-recorded invision continuity spots based around RuPaul's Drag Race were aired. For the 9pm junction around the show itself, this promtion was expanded across all the other main BBC channels, interrupting their respective idents with a promotion for the new channel. BBC One Network's variant here.

BBC Three (BBC One NI Cross Promo) - 2022

With different channel numbers or availability of HD for BBC Three being in some nations, variants of the cross promotional idents were tailored for each nation. The BBC One Northern Ireland variant here (with NI sharing the same channel numbers as network), as aired at 9pm on February 1st.

BBC Three (BBC One Wales Cross Promo) - 2022

The cross promotional BBC Three takeover from February 1st as it appeared on BBC One Wales. With some different channel numbers in use for Wales due to S4C HD being present.

BBC Three (BBC One Scotland Cross Promo) - 2022

BBC One Scotland's version of the BBC Three promotional takeover, featuring the channel numbers in use for Scotland.

BBC Three (BBC Two Cross Promo) - 2022

The cross promotional trailer for BBC Three as aired on BBC Two Network at 9pm on February 1st. Although localised versions of these were still produced for the nations, no channel numbers were listed presumably to avoid the issue of BBC Two Scotland no longer broadcasting.

BBC Three (BBC Two NI Cross Promo) - 2022

BBC Two Northern Ireland's edit of the cross promotional spot for BBC Three.

BBC Three (BBC Two Wales Cross Promo) - 2022

BBC Two Wales' version of the BBC Three cross promotion from February 1st 2022.

BBC Three (BBC Four Cross Promo) - 2022

The BBC Three cross promotional takeover also appeared on BBC Four, albeit without any channel numbers promoted.

BBC Three (Launch IVC) - 2022

For the launch night of BBC Three, most junctions up until midnight were given over to pre-recorded invision continuity from the cast of RuPaul's Drag Race UK. The first such spot aired at 7pm.

BBC Three (Launch IVC) - 2022

Another BBC Three invision spot leading in to the first edition of The Catchup news programme on the channel.

BBC Three (Launch IVC) - 2022

More launch night BBC Three invision continuity from the 8pm junction.

BBC Three (Launch IVC) - 2022

From the 8.30pm junction on February 1st, another special launch invision link for BBC Three. This time round extolling the virtues of TV with the use of an old VHS-CRT combi set possibly sourced from the local BHF Furniture Store.

BBC Three (Launch IVC) - 2022

The main anchor programme for the BBC Three launch night was the first episode of the new series of RuPaul's Drag Race UK vs The World airing at 9pm. While the other BBC channels all had breakout continuity spots promoting the channel launch at this point, this was the invision continuity used on BBC Three itself.

BBC Three (Launch IVC) - 2022

The special RuPaul themed invision continuity continued for a few more junctions after the end of the RuPaul show itself. The 10.15pm link, and things get a little destructive.

BBC Three (Mirror) - 2022

Although a larger number of idents had been revealed in a showreel from branding agency Superunion, only a limited number were used initially on broadcast with more being added over time. The first addition was Mirror, which appeared from February 26th, and featured the three hand characters being reflected off a giant mirror.

BBC Three (Social) - 2022

In lieu of a regular ident, video from a programme can be shown along with the hand mascots hitting reaction buttons. Like you may have seen on those trendy social media video platforms, just to remind you how totally hip and down with da kids BBC Three is again!

BBC Three (Keyboard) - 2022

The next batch of idents to be added to the BBC Three set were released over a few days at the start of April 2022. First aired on April 7th, this ident features the hand characters interacting with a keyboard.

BBC Three (Feet) - 2022

In another BBC Three ident introduced from April 10th, the hand characters meet with a bunch of giant feet which may have escaped a Monty Python sketch.

BBC Three (Hats) - 2022

The third April 2022 addition, introduced from the 11th, featured ominous hats surrounding the BBC Three hand characters.

BBC Three (Microphone) - 2022

In another ident first introduced from April 12th 2022, the BBC Three hand characters all take turns to interact with a microphone.



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