Background: BBC Video was formed and established in 1980 as a division of BBC Enterprises to distribute BBC television programmes for home video (later "BBC Worldwide") with John Ross Barnard as head. Their videos originally went through CBS/Fox Video (from 1985 to 1998) and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (from 1998-2000) for U.S. distribution. The licence was taken over by Warner Home Video in 2000.
1st Logo (1980-1988)
Nicknames: "BBC Star", "Cheesy Starlight"
- Opening: Many coloured parallelograms come from the top and bottom of the screen towards the middle, where a white four-pointed star is being "drawn". The coloured shapes stop coming from the bottom as an orange line with a V-shaped bend in the middle arrives, accompanied by a "shadow" effect. It stops below the star, and the parallelograms return from the bottom as the letters "BBC" and "IDEO" are drawn in white at either side of the "V". The line with the "V" is traced over with white. All the parallelograms finally stop as the logo completes and the star in it shines. It looks like a 1970s neon sign.
- Closing: The rainbow parallelograms are flying towards the BBC VIDEO logo, which disappears as if it was being played backwards; that is, it's sort of being "drawn away." The parallelograms stop and the four-pointed star remains. As a copyright notice appears (in the Futura typeface),the star "shines" and is drawn away too, leaving a small light which flashes a few times and then fades.
- On 101 Great Goals, the logo is superimposed onto a soccer match. At the end, a still of the normal opening logo with a copyright stamp is used.
- The copyright date (in Roman numerals) may be in a different font, other than Futura.
- Starting in 1985, a shadow effect was added while the star is being drawn away.
- On the 1988 release of The Young Ones, it cuts to the copyright notice whereas the whole thing is silent.
- On Watch With Mother tapes, the logo turns gray-scale when the 'V' comes in, the closing starts in gray-scale but turns into color before the text is drawn away.
- Opening: The "drawing" and flying shapes.
- Closing: The logo drawing away.
Cheesy Factor: Much of the logo is produced with early effects and Scanimate animation. The closing variant almost looks like the opening logo played backwards, which was probably intentional.
Music/Sounds: There were six versions (seven all together if you include the closing):
- 1. (1980-1985) A moog synth tune with a marching-band flair. Used from the beginning until 1984.
- 2. (1980-1985) A big band marching band-type tune (sounding similar to the first tune) which does not suit this logo at all. Used in tandem with the first tune.
- 3. (1981) A orchestrated version of the of the first and second tunes in a different key (C major), led by violins. Used on Treasures of the British Crown on Laserdisc, released in 1981. It is unknown if it was used on any other releases.
- 4. (1981) A laid-back symphonic rock version of the first and second tunes in a different key (D♯/E♭ major).
- 5. (1985-1988) A bouncy synthesised theme that ends with drawn-out synthesised notes and a three-note synthesised horn fanfare. A "whoosh" is also used to mark the appearance of the "V". This is the one you are most likely to find. Used from 1984 until the end. It was composed by Peter Howell.
- 6. (1987) A dreamy tune, sounding like it was played from a music box. This was used only on Watch with Mother tapes beginning in 1987.
- 1. (1980-1985 variant 1) A re-arranged version of the moog synth tune.
- 2. (1980-1985 variant 2) A re-arranged version of the marching band-type tune.
- 3. (1981) A slower re-arranged version of the string-led tune.
- 4. (1981) A slower re-arranged version of the symphonic rock tune with an electric guitar strum.
- 5. (1985-1988) Same as the opening logo, except a little extra in the beginning and end.
- 6. (1987 Watch with Mother variant) Same as beginning.
- 7. (1980's) An extremely rare re-orchestrated variant can be found on Great Railways - Flying Scotsman.
Availability: Probably on any early releases of BBC programs. It appears on the original Fawlty Towers tapes, and some Postman Pat tapes too. The 1st opening and closing variants both appeared on the 1986 Playhouse Video issue of the 1983 BBC Video release of Doctor Who: Revenge of the Cybermen.
- Opening: Low to medium for most variants. The cheesy animation may be slightly creepy for some.
- Closing: Medium. It could catch someone off guard if you're not expecting it.
2nd Logo (1988-1991)
Nicknames: "COW Globe", "BBC Globe"
Logo: On a black screen, some copyright text in a yellow Times font zooms in from the center of the screen. It fades out, and another load of text zooms in. The second set of text fades to a map of the world, metallic gold (land) on blue (sea), the land waves up and down. The land and sea draw together to form a globe (which is a modified version of the BBC 1 "Computer Originated World" ident from 1985-1991) rotating. The reverse of the globe can be seen through the "sea" of the globe. From the front and bottom of the screen, "BBC VIDEO" in a copper Times-like font flies in. When it stops below the globe two of the letters sparkle before the program starts. For the end the sequence reverses, with the "BBC VIDEO" flying out and the globe turning into a map. The copyright text was the BBC Enterprises copyright disclaimer, which was occasionally cut from U.S. releases by CBS-FOX.
- On Australian releases, the tape's OFLC rating certificate appears in place of the copyright info.
- The copyright text may be in a different font,other than ITC Advant Garde Gothic.
- A rare extended variant was seen on some releases.
FX/SFX: It's all CGI.
Cheesy Factor: The forming of the globe and the text zooming looks outdated, but the actual finished globe looks fine.
Music/Sounds: Calm synth music with tribal beats.
Availability: Appears on some older CBS-FOX releases of BBC material. Blackadder Goes Forth is one video that has this logo. On the logo's final year, it was used in tandem with the next one.
Scare Factor: Low to medium, mainly because of the music. It might also surprise you if you see the closing for the first time. But if you've always been seeing the both of them, you should be perfectly fine. However, this is nothing compared to the next logo...
3rd Logo (1990-1997)
Nicknames: "Streaks of Doom", "Ominous BBC", "Dark BBC"
Logo: On a black background,a blue streak comes in from the left of the screen and a green streak comes in from the right of the screen. The two streaks merge to form a red line in the middle of the screen and they leave behind green and blue lines afterwards. The BBC boxes fade in above, forming a CGI version of the 1988 BBC logo used at the time. At the end of tapes, a copyright notice typeset in Futura would fade in below.
- On the 1995 VHS release of the Doctor Who episode "The Five Doctors", the logo is snatched up by the Time Scoop (the device that kidnapped the Doctor's incarnations and his companions at the beginning of the story).
- Starting in 1995 on the copyright notice, "BBC ENTERPRISES" is replaced with "BBC WORLDWIDE".
- Very early releases with this logo have the copyright notice in a different font.
- The last releases with this logo (released mid 1997) have the end logo with a different caption, saying "Distributed under license by BBC Worldwide Ltd." and underneath copyright info saying "© BBC (year in Roman numerals)".
FX/SFX: The colored streaks, the merging and the boxes and notice fading-in.
Music/Sounds: A somber and creepy 9-note piano piece followed by the sound of a choir holding the final note.
Availability: On some BBC programs tapes from the era, like Series 1 of Yes Prime Minister. The Doctor Who variant is also included on the 2008 DVD release of "The Five Doctors"...not as the opening logo, but as an easter egg. To find it, go to "Special Features" on Disc 2, then highlight "Nationwide" and go left. This logo is intact on the DVD release of Wallace and Gromit in Three Grand Adventures from DreamWorks Home Entertainment (around 2004). This weirdly also appears on Netflix prints of A Blackalder Christmas Carol, possibly due to using a video master. It can sometimes plaster previous logos on re-releases.
Scare Factor: Low to nightmare, because of the logo's ominous nature, combined with the piano piece, as it may unnerve some viewers, and might as well give viewers bad dreams. The scare factor is none for people used to seeing it.
4th Logo (1992-1997)
Nicknames: "BBC Worldwide Americas", "Flying Boxes"
Logo: Against a white marble background, three black boxes swing in from the right. As they turn sideways, the letters "BBC" enter each one. Once the logo is formed, three colored streaks (one blue, one red, and one green) passBBC Video - CLG Wiki under it and leave similarly colored lines under the boxes. Finally, the word "VIDEO" (in black) appears under the completed logo. Everything seems to be italicized, even the boxes.
FX/SFX: The flying letter boxes; very modern animation.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 3rd logo.
Availability: Appears on home video releases of BBC programs, such as Absolutely Fabulous. This logo was used in tandem with the other one.
Scare Factor: Low to high, the music may still scare some, but the animation is less ominous than its predecessor.
5th Logo (October 1997-2009)
Nicknames: "Square Boxes", "Rainbow Smoke"
Logo: On a black background there are several ribbons going from top right and top middle of the screen and the bottom middle of the screen highlighted in BBC Video (1997- ) red, green, and blue. The 1997 BBC squares logo (in white) fades in.
- At the end of the tapes, the text underneath the BBC logo reads: "Distributed under license by BBC Worldwide Ltd" and below it "© BBC (year in roman numerals)"
- Sometimes, the logo can be in widescreen, also the ribbons move differently. This is mostly seen on recent DVDs
- Occasionally, the BBC logo in the copyright info is replaced by a text version.
FX/SFX: The ribbons moving.
Cheesy Factor: The red, green, and blue highlights make it look like the background was designed for the last diagonal BBC logo. Also, it almost looks like an outline of the BBC 2 Water ident.
Music/Sounds: A version of the 1997 BBC jingle (used on a few BBC self promotion trailers).
Music/Sounds Variant: A low tone version exists for the closing variant.
Availability: Common. Seen on VHS tapes and DVDs released by the company.
Scare Factor: None; it's a lot better than the last two logos. However, some people may be startled by its appearance on Red Dwarf after the long, silent Grant Naylor Productions logo fades out.
6th Logo (2009-)
Nicknames: "Flashing Box", "Colour Concentric", "Purple BBC"
Logo: A red screen flashes in a red lens flare, and it causing BBC squares logo appears, this time in a small, purple background. The background then glows in red as several flares in different colour, suddenly flashing one by one. It lights the BBC logo. The effect of flashing also appears circle that left. The colour in the background change each time a flash appears.
Variant: There is a short version used for international television distribution.
FX/SFX: The flashing, the background colour change, and the lighting up of the BBC logo.
Music/Sounds: A synthetic tune that was composed with organs.
Scare Factor: Low. A very vivid and decent logo.