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 1982

Designed by Lambie Nairn, the 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. This was to last right through until 1996, with an audio remix in the early 90s. This recording dates from 1991, and still features the original Fourscore music. A snippet set of notes from a longer track for the station composed by David Dundas.

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. Clip courtesy of Iam Burn.

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 Closedown 1989

Channel 4 was rather late on the scene in terms of all night broadcasting. They used to close down for the night, right up until 1996. This file shows the clock and closedown from 1989. Thanks again to James Hadfield.

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. Courtesy of Ashley B.

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 - 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 (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 - 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 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. Clip courtesy of Vincent Lo.

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. Clip thanks to Iam Burn.

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 - 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 (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.



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