Channel 4 1982-2004

Channel 4 was launched on November 2nd 1982, over 20 years after the launch of the first independent television station and intended to show programming with an alternative remit, commissioned from other production companies. Initially the channel was funded by advertising sold by the same ITV regions, thus the ability to play out regional content was technically possible (albeit little used outside of advertising), however this all changed in 1993 when Channel 4 gained full independence to sell their own advertising, adopting a cut down set of macro regions for adverts instead. Initially not covering Wales, they have broadcast to all of the UK since the introduction of digital services. During the analogue days, Wales was covered by a by a special version of S4C Analogue instead, which included a mix of programmes timeshifted from Channel 4 mixed in with the station's own Welsh languages shows. In more recent years Channel 4 have also diversified to launch various channels on digital such as E4, More4 and Film4, spun out from their early investment into indie film production.

Channel 4 - 1983

Designed by Martin Lambie Nairn, the famous initial launch identity for the station consisted of coloured blocks joining together in various ways to form the 4 logo, using cutting edge computer technology for 1982 all set to cuts of an extended orchestral piece of music known as 'Fourscore'. This package was to last right through until 1996, albeit with an audio remix in the early 90s. A static slide features here, followed by an ident to lead into an early junction on Channel 4 from within their first year in Summer 1983. A slight vertical shift can be seen on the start and end of the ident - a minor flaw which was corrected in later years.


Channel 4 (Next) - 1989

A next slide from the first year of the fourth channel, and off-colour stills are still the order of the day with better computer technology still being a little way off.


Channel 4 (Birthday Promo) - 1983

Channel 4 turns 1 year old in November 1983, so promos see the addition of the birthday candle logo that had been used for various presentational elements around that time.


Channel 4 - WorldWise 1986

A totally different formation for the blocks ident, this time with what looks like hundreds of tiny pieces making the '4'. This clip also includes an additional 'World Wise' ident, for a special Channel 4 season in 1986.


Channel 4 (Closedown) - 1987

Kate Moon closes down Channel 4 at the end of another day of programming, with a look at the clock before cutting to one of the many snippets of Fourscore available to them.


Channel 4 (Nightime) - 1987

A year before overnight services would begin on ITV, the network was experimenting with late programming on Channel 4. For several days of the week a service branded up as 'Nightime' would play out on the channel with a mix of mostly cheaper shows. Between programmes, in lieu of continuity announcers, branded graphical slides were used instead containing the details on what would be coming up next. With a somewhat tedious and repetitive piece of off-the-shelf music constantly played out in the background.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1988

A hand animated art style features as part of Channel 4's trailer style from 1988. Here promoting Go Fishing (not hosted by J R Hartley).


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1988

Further elements of the painted art Channel 4 promo style from Summer 1988 feature here, as well as a namecheck for ITV promoting a season of shows across both ITV and Channel 4 from filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. Despite the vocal mention of ITV, the promo itself focuses solely on the Channel 4 side of things.


Channel 4 - 1988

With there being two Fourscore tracks, each over 3 minutes long, it allowed the same small set of block idents from the 1982 launch to have multiple variants with different segments of the backing music. Here another segment of the music is used.


Channel 4 (Programme Info Slide) - 1988

A 'choose-your-own-adventure' slide from Channel 4 in 1988, where if you want more information on one of their programmes you have to pick which particular address you like best. These PO Box addresses in the different nations were in use on Channel 4 throughout the 80s.


Channel 4 Closedown 1989

Despite some early experiments with it, Channel 4 was rather late on the scene in terms of nighttime broadcasting for 7 days, with the channel still continuing to close down on many days right up until 1996. This file shows a clock and closedown from 1989.


4-Tel Advert 1989

An interesting ad for Channel 4's Teletext service in the late 80s. Notice the little animated characters, which also appeared overnight when 4-Tel pages were broadcast in vision during closedown.


Channel 4 (American Football) - 1989

Continuity over a static slide from Channel 4, before launching into a special version of the ident for American Football showings. Although the Fourscore notes still plays, it does so over a completely static rendering of the blocks shaped as a player. Some simple breath added at the very end provides the only limited animation.


Channel 4 (BBC1 Slide) - 1989

The somewhat unusual mashup of Channel 4 airing a slide to promote a BBC1 show, before moving onto their own slides. The reason for this was as part of a season of LGBT programming on Channel 4 aired in late slots in February 1989. Known as 'Out On Tuesday', this particular episode was going to be followed up with discussions from the producers as part of the BBC's Open Air programme the following morning. Channel 4's own branded slides still follow a similar style as the rest of the 80s, albeit now looking a little more cleaner as technology has advanced.


Channel 4 - 1989

A different block formation, with a different segment of the Fourscore music track played. In this version the blocks disappear off one side of the screen, before appearing again at the other side.


Channel 4 - 1990

Another variation of the famous coloured blocks ident for Channel 4, complete with the original Fourscore notes. This time the blocks break apart and spin round, before reforming the 4.


Channel 4 (Cinema From 3 Continents) - 1990

Cinema From 3 Continents was a special set of branding used to lead into foreign language films on Channel 4. Dating here from 1990 and highlighting a movie from Peru.


Channel 4 (Next) - 1990

Channel 4's next slides have seen a smarter refresh to welcome in the 90s. And with some extra cross-promotion for ITV, using the network identity for the network with it being broadcast the same nationwide.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1990

Promoting an evening of shows for Channel 4 in 1990, using a brush stroke '4' style between the programmes. With the addition of a human eye at the very end.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1990

Another promo style for Channel 4 from February 1990, this time featuring patterns making up both a person and an abstract 4 symbol.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1990

Another season on Channel 4 for Summer 1990, and another set of promo graphics can be seen in this rundown promo. Blink and you might miss them though!


Channel 4 (Brookside Promo) - 1990

A promo for Channel 4's Brookside soap, which was still in its heyday in 1990 and airing 3 days a week.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1990

Another Channel 4 promo, here for their latenight chatshow 'Verdict' designed to look at moral dilemmas. Featuring a 'jury' of people passing judgements.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1990

A promo from 1990 promoting Channel 4's coverage of Happy Mondays playing at the then GMEX in Manchester. The event itself had taken place some months earlier that same year.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1990

Another trailer from August 1990 on Channel 4, this time using a textual-art style to make up an abstract 'four' logo at the end. We'll let you decide whether the ending says 'Crap' or 'Grap'...


Channel 4 - 1991

An alternative string section of the Fourscore track used over the blocks ident here - with the audio actually starting before the preceding trailer has faded out. Additionally featuring the Stereo legend, which was commonly highlighted onscreen by all broadcasters in the early years of NICAM broadcasting.


Channel 4 - 1991

Another ident from Channel 4's original batch, featuring the Fourscore notes. Being used here to introduce a show from the channel's 'Banned Season'.


Channel 4 Closedown 1991

Another closedown from Channel 4, with thanks to Ashley for the clip.


Channel 4 Closedown - Xmas 1991

A slight bit of festive decoration adorns this shutdown from Christmas 1990.


Channel 4 (Apology) - 1992

Channel 4 finish a 1992 repeat of a concert programme produced by Tyne Tees Television years earlier as a tribute to Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury who had died late in 1991. Immediately following the production slide, Channel 4 continuity pops up over a still to apologise for incorrectly stating the date of his death at the start of the programme. Though we don't have the start of this, it has been confirmed by others this was in continuity preceding the programme.


Channel 4 - Fourmations - 1993

A special ident for a strand known as 'Fourmations'. It was used before a series of short arty animations in 1993.


Channel 4 - Christmas 1993

One of several idents produced by Channel 4 for Christmas 1993, featuring city scenes with a large 4 appearing over the top as the focus of the image changes. Stylewise, you could almost be forgiven for thinking it was part of the Connections ident set that would follow a few years later.


Channel 4 (Sting - Car) - 1994

A short Channel 4 sting from 1994 featuring a pink car speeding up a multi-storey car park, before winding up in front of a television on the fourth level.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1994

A woman running in the dark to eventually find some Channel 4 blocks provides the interstitial footage between the shows in this lineup promo from 1994.


Channel 4 - 1994

In the early 90s, remixed sountracks were introduced to replace the Fourscore notes that had been used since launch, although the idents themselves otherwise remained the same. Lots of small blocks fly across the screen from a point in the distance to form up the logo for Channel 4 here.


Channel 4 - 1994

Another Channel 4 blocks ident with the updated 90s soundtrack. This time with the 4 starting off formed, before breaking apart, spinning round, and coming back together.


Channel 4 - 1994

A third variant with the blocks spinning as they come in to form up the logo.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1994

A clever mix of speech-free black and white footage, text, giant 4 blocks and video tape effects, all to promote a new series of Clive Anderson Talks Back in 1994.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1994

Continuing the trend of non-standardised endboards for Channel 4 Promos for the mid-90s, this time round the 4 blocks are displayed inside of a football graphic to promote their Football Italia coverage.


Channel 4 (Late Licence - IVC) - 1994

Late night programming on Channel 4 for select days in the early 90s came courtesy of a branded segment called Late Licence, featuring in-vision links provided by various comic duos over the years. Here Phill Jupitus and (presumably) Billy Bragg present an invision link, where Phill sings a somewhat questionable adult-themed song, before leading into the next show for the night.


Channel 4 (Late Licence - IVC) - 1994

A (mercifully) tamer second segment of invision from Channel 4's Late Licence strand, here leading into a break.


Channel 4 (Late Licence - IVC) - 1994

More late night invision presentation from Channel 4's Late Licence with Phill Jupitus and Billy Bragg. Here leading into another programme after some elephant impressions.


Channel 4 (Late Licence - IVC) - 1994

A fourth invision slot from Channel 4's Late Licence with Phill Jupitus and Billy Bragg from 1994.


Channel 4 (Late Licence - IVC) - 1994

Continuing the late night continuity with Channel 4's Late Licence. And stop that or you'll go blind!


Channel 4 (Late Licence - IVC) - 1994

Ordering late night pizza in another Late Licence slot from Channel 4 in September 1994.


Channel 4 - 1995

Another blocks ident from 1995 featuring the updated soundtrack for the 90s.


Channel 4 Closedown - 1995

The blocks ident may not have changed much visually by the middle of the 90s, but the clock certainly has. This closedown from December 1995 shows both the updated version of the clock, and the blocks with their new audio track.


Channel 4 (Elvis 4 Ever) - 1995

At the start of January 1995, Channel 4 ran a special marathon of Elvis Presley movies, linked under the branding 'Elvis 4 Ever'. Johnny Vaughan, famous at the time for his role in 4's Moviewatch programme, provided short invision links, before a series of simple animations were included for the regular continuity announcer to speak over.


Channel 4 (Elvis 4 Ever) - 1995

Another short intro from the Elvis 4 Ever season on Channel 4, this time around featuring Paul O' Grady in his Lily Savage alter ego.


Channel 4 (Eurotrash Sting) - 1996

In the latter years of the coloured blocks, a series of stings featuring Channel 4 personalities interacting in some way with the 4 were introduced. Normally aired between trailers or leading into breaks, they were occasionally used in lieu of an ident into a show instead. In this case, a special Eurotrash themed version, featuring host Antoine de Caunes.


Channel 4 (Clive Anderson Sting) - 1995

From November/December 1995, another Channel 4 personality sting, this time featuring Clive Anderson. Who would move to the BBC the following year. With apologies for the poor reception on this clip.


Channel 4 (Sting) - 1995

Another 'modern art' style Channel 4 personality sting from late 1995.


Channel 4 (Rory Bremner Sting) - 1995

Reusing the same background as above for this sting, only this time with impressionist Rory Bremner taking the foreground position.


Channel 4 (Johnny Vaughan Sting) - 1995

The background that feels like it was rejected from The Crystal Maze pops up in another sting on Channel 4, this time with Moviewatch star Johnny Vaughan featuring.


Channel 4 (Soap Weekend Promo) - 1995

For the first weekend of December 1995, Channel 4 devoted their airtime to 'Soap Weekend'. A marathon celebration of all things from the world of soaps, with soaps from other channels popping up, as well as themed specials of other shows to mark the occasion. A trailer for the weekend here from the day before it was all due to start.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1995

Channel 4 promote a holiday giveaway on their long-running breakfast show The Big Breakfast in 1995.


Channel 4 - 1995

Another blocks ident from Channel 4, featuring the updated 90s audio track. Being used here to introduce early showings from the first series of Friends on the channel.


Channel 4 (Promo) - Christmas 1995

Always looking for a way to be the 'alternative' Christmas, for 1995 Channel 4 decided to dub the festive season 'Beastly Xmas', with a series of a animal related programmes going out. A trailer for the season here, featuring the same graphical style from the ident for that Christmas.


Channel 4 (Next) - 1995

Channel 4's next slide style in 1995 used the same graphics that had featured in the stings and promos. With each cutting from a brief shot of one of these, to a standard slide style. Here a shot of the gallery is used.


Channel 4 (Next) - 1995

Another Channel 4 next slide in 1995, here using the colourful kaleidoscopes imagery that had also appeared in stings.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1995

Programme rundown promos for Channel 4 in the mid 90s also used various cuts of the same graphics as the stings and next slides. Here the 4 bouncing around other coloured blocks acts as the cut between shows in a 1995 promo.


Channel 4 (Promo) - 1996

Another promo this time a little further into 1996, and using the 'art gallery' 4 blocks that had been appearing in the stings around that time as the breaker between shows.


Channel 4 (Next) - 1996

Channel 4's next slide style from 1996, now featuring the same 'lines' animation as the break bumpers of that era. As this point continuity would still regularly make reference to shows coming up on ITV too, despite the two stations having been independent of each other for 3 years, as part of a settlement put in place after the spinning off of the channel.


Channel 4 (Slide) - 1996

The same slide design was also used by Channel 4 for promoting programmes at other points in the schedule with text changes as appropriate. Here a show is promoted 'in an hour' immediately before the regular channel ident.


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