BBC Four

BBC Four launched as a replacement for BBC Knowledge on Digital on the 2nd March 2002. It was a nearly a year before BBC Choice finally became BBC Three to fill the gap in the numbering - a gap that would be reintroduced in 2016 when BBC Three ceased as a broadcast channel. Whereas BBC Knowledge was devoted to education, BBC Four is designed to cater for the 'culture and the arts' (ie - music and painting, and all that stuff!). For the launch night, the BBC fed out BBC Four live on BBC Two, so that non-digital viewers could get a taste of the channel.

BBC Four - Launch Night (2/3/2002) - 2005


BBC Two Handover to BBC Four

Just before 7.00pm on Saturday 2nd March, the BBC Two character appeared on screen to hand us over to BBC Two, allowing analogue viewers a taste of the new channel. A nice little use of the Two ident by the BBC, and something that was very easy with the consistent bottom right box style logos of the time.


BBC Four Ident - Squares

A few minutes later, and the first BBC Four ident appeared. All the BBC Four idents broadcast on BBC Two were altered slightly to include the announcer mentioning 'broadcasting on BBC Two tonight'. The idents themselves were a novel and fairly unique idea at the time, taking full advantage of modern computer technology. Each was created live in response to the sound from both the background instruments, and the announcers voice - like a Winamp plugin on steroids.


BBC Four Next Caption

Just before 8.00, we were given a chance to see the next graphics that would be used on BBC Four. Essentially following the same style as the BBC Two slides of that time.


BBC Four Promo

Of course, there were promos on between all the programmes, mostly for BBC Four programmes, with a few for BBC Two mixed in. This advert was shown in the 8.00pm junction on launch night.


BBC Four Ident - Ovals

Then at 8pm, another ident, using a load of oval shapes which vaguely resemble a nuclear sign. The video responding to the audio is more noticeable this time.


BBC Four News

This edition of BBC Four news was shown during the first night simulcast on BBC Two... only they left the ident audio up a little bit too long! This is a programme normally scheduled during weekdays, which is played out on both the domestic BBC Four, and the non-domestic BBC World.


BBC Four Info

On BBC Two after the news, at 8.30pm, we were shown the 'how to get BBC Four' slide.


BBC Four Ident - Bars 1

And then, a few minutes later, up came another ident, this time using bars to respond to the sound.


BBC Four Ident - Bars 2

Skipping forward to 10pm, and another 'Bars' ident was seen, this time with different colours, and positioning of the bars.


BBC Four Ident - Bars 3

At 11pm, the bars ident appeared again. This may be a new one (Although technically every single ident is a new, as they're dependent on sound), or it may just be bars 1 from a different angle.


BBC Four Ident - Circles

Finally, to lead us into the last BBC Four programme on BBC Two at 11.30pm, another new ident, this time using circles to respond to the audio.


BBC Four - Handback to BBC Two

At midnight, the simulcast on BBC Two finished, and back came the BBC Two character to return things to normal. BBC Four, however, continued after this on digital for many more years to come.


BBC Four Christmas 2002

A slight change to BBC Four's idents for Christmas. The audio in the background now has a Christmassy feel.


BBC Four - 2005-Present


BBC Four (Gulls) - 2007

In 2005, a new presentation package was introduced featuring the screen split into 4 segments as an optical illusion, with the BBC Four box moved to the centre. An evening sky features in this ident with seagulls flying all around. For this 2007 example, they have also added the 'Channel of the Year' strapline to herald one of their industry award wins.


BBC Four (Library) - 2007

Books keep falling up off the shelves in a library in this BBC Four ident. Complete with the 'Channel of the Year' overlay again.


BBC Four - Christmas 2009

The main BBC Four Christmas ident was first introduced in 2005 and has reappeared yearly since, with only minor tweaks to the logo itself or additions of award straplines. A garden scene features in the background, with ice spreading over the foreground.


BBC Four (Promo) - Christmas 2009

A Christmas 2009 trailer for BBC Four, which for the most part retains the regular promotional style of the channel, just adding the 'floating' BBC blocks which were used on Christmas presentation across all of the BBC channels that year. Orson Welles has decided to pop in for Christmas this year, a mere 24 years after his death.


BBC Four (Gulls) - 2009

Gulls again, only this time from 2009 and BBC Four are no longer the Channel of the Year.


BBC Four (ECP) - 2009

The ECP style for BBC Four from 2009, still in the BBC's vertically stacked style at this point.


BBC Four (Promo) - 2009

Promo style for BBC Four from 2009. The BBC Four box remains in the bottom right for the majority of the trailer as per the channel launch style, although on the endboard moves to the centre of the screen with a clockwipe effect.


BBC Four (Lake) - 2010

A calm lake scene makes up the BBC Four optical illusion this time around. Whilst most of the original batch of idents were phased out of regular use from 2017 onwards and have popped up much less frequently since, the original lake one continues to make a regular appearance usually at startup and closedown as of 2019.


BBC Four - Christmas 2016

After 10 years of the same single Christmas ident with only minor tweaks to the centre logo, a second one was added to the BBC Four set for Christmas 2015 featuring reindeer walking through a snowy woodland, brought in to mark a special programme airing on the channel that year. This has similarly seen the centre logo tweaked in the years it's aired since with this example from 2016.


BBC Four (Flowers) - 2017

One of the original batch of idents from 2005 still going strong in 2017, flowers feature in this ident with a bee flying in and out of the picture quadrants.


BBC Four (Houses) - 2017

One of a small batch of additions to the BBC Four ident set in May 2016 and which actually followed the original 4 quadrant style. The rooftops of houses are visible this time round.


BBC Four (Forest) - 2016

Another of the 2016 additions following the original style. In this one, the camera is panning out across a large forest scene.


BBC Four (Space) - 2017

A more recent 2017 addition to the BBC Four set, and any consistency with the regular idents is out of the window - possibly a large 2-shaped window. In this one a large BBC Four logo floats around in space.


BBC Four (Promo) - 2017

The regular 2017 promo style for BBC Four. The logo has finally become boxless on the main part of the trailer, similar in style to BBC Two, and only appears boxed again for the endboard which now features a square patterned background.


BBC Four (ECP) - 2017

The 2017 ECP style for BBC Four, now following the overall BBC style of shrinking the credits to a column and placing promotions to the right. BBC Four specific promotions use the logo against a yellow background.


BBC Four (Gay Britannia Promo) - 2017

From the start of August 2017, a specially branded BBC Four trailer from the Gay Britannia season across the BBC. The season was intended to mark 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality.


BBC Four (Gay Britannia) - 2017

A very simple animated ident for BBC Four to mark the Gay Britannia season. Used before programming dedicated to the season on the channel.


BBC Four (Breakdown) - 2017

A breakdown during The Proms on BBC Four in July 2017, resulting in several minutes of animated slide with... well nothing else really.


BBC Four (Snowy Landscape) - Christmas 2017

Rather surprisingly, an additional ident for the set for Christmas 2017 on BBC Four. This time featuring a snowy landscape scene, whilst also keeping true to the 'four quadrant' theme of the original idents.


BBC 4.1 (AI TV Season) - 2018

A short BBC Four season marking the growing role of AI saw the channel briefly rebranded as 'BBC 4.1' in early September 2018. With some minor edits made to a few of the regular channel idents and announcements to match.


BBC Four (Japanese Village) - 2019

One of three idents originally produced for a Japan Season in summer 2017 which were reintroduced in March 2019, with a slight re-edit to remove the Japanese numeral that had been present before. Whilst commonly being used into repeats of the Japanese season programming on the channel, the reintroduced idents have appeared before shows based in other countries in South East Asia. This one features traditional Japanese Minka Houses, and was filmed at the same time as 'The Art Of Japanese Life' documentary series which first aired during the season in June 2017.


BBC Four (Blossoms) - 2019

A second ident reintroduced in March 2019 that had originally been produced for the Japan Season in 2017. This time featuring Japanese cherry blossoms.


BBC Four (Mount Fuji) - 2019

Another reintroduced Japanese Season ident from March 2019, this time featuring shots of Mount Fuji.


BBC Four (Born Digital) - 2019

As part of a special short 'Born Digital' season in March 2019 to mark 30 years of the web, new idents were introduced to BBC Four showing things evoking 'satisfying' feelings - or some marketing spiel like that, as they attempted to latch on to an internet theme which had been seen on social media sites like Youtube. Here, a cake is decorated! Although initially promoted as being for the season, and thus possibly showing up on the books as part of the channel's promo budget rather than branding, the new idents continued to be used into other programmes well after the season had ended, alongside the existing four quadrant idents for the channel.


BBC Four (Born Digital) - 2019

A second special 'Born Digital' ident from March 2019 to mark 30 years of the web, here showing paint on a speaker. Although initially created for the season, this ident has continued to air on occasions since.


BBC Four (Born Digital) - 2019

A third Born Digital ident, this time featuring a soft brightly-coloured block of what is apparently sand being sliced again and again.


BBC Four (Born Digital) - 2019

Another bored artist proje... sorry 'satisfying' ident from the BBC Four Born Digital season, this time featuring coloured playdoh-like material (possibly sand again) being compressed in a glass container.


BBC Four (Satisfying) - 2019

Although 5 'satisfying' idents were produced for the Born Digital season, only 4 actually aired during it. The fifth finally appeared a few weeks later at the start of April instead, with any references subsequently talking about it only describing them as 'satisfying' now. This one features another block of (presumably) sand being sliced. With the batch of idents being so generic in nature and making no real reference to the season they'd come with, it was little surprise that they were kept in the rotation from March onwards, providing BBC Four with with a mini-refresh on the cheap.


BBC Four (Night Driving) - 2019

A new ident from April 2019 featuring night time driving, used for a series of Saturday Night Dramas on BBC Four. Most of the initial announcements over this ident also include the tagline 'Enjoy The Trip'.


BBC Four (Night Driving 2) - 2019

A second driving ident, desperately still hemming in their 'Enjoy The Trip' tagline as another night time drive is shown. Used once again into Saturday Night Dramas, initially appearing on broadcast from May 2019.


Christmas 2018


BBC Four (Snowmobile) - Christmas 2018

For Christmas 2018, BBC Four introduced 2 new idents, and reused one from the previous year. All of them featuring shots of reindeer with the signature '4 quadrants' effect for the channel added over, and designed to mark one of their big shows for that season. This one features a snowmobile.


BBC Four (Sleigh) - Christmas 2018

A second reindeer ident, this time re-using the same 'sleigh' version as was used in 2017, just with an updated BBC Four logo in the centre.


BBC Four (Herd) - Christmas 2018

Another of the new idents for Christmas 2018. This one just features large numbers of reindeer moving across the snowy landscape.


BBC Four (Promo) - Christmas 2018

An example of the Christmas 2018 promo style for BBC Four, now featuring a festive endboard to trailers.


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