We’ve all watched BBC Two at some point since 1991. The idents that appear on screen before the programme have varied from a fluffy jumping number 2, to a bug zapper made out of a 2. Now, in 2018, the channel will finally update these for something more contemporary.
But it’s astonishing this hasn’t been done before. These idents, or at least the concept of the “2” are a whopping 25 years old. I remember watching BBC Bitesize at school on VHS which the teacher had recorded. Fast forwarding through the previous programme, you didn’t want to miss the start of Bitesize, so she would always stop before the first ID. That’s how long they have been around and they’ve been as much a part of our lives, even if we didn’t really notice them after a while.
The bug zapper and fluffy dog are ones that springs to mind for me:
Things do get stale, and whilst BBC Two has refocused budgets on its primetime output, things need to change, and they are.
From Thursday 27th September, you will no longer see the fluffy jumping number 2 or its friends from the 90s. Instead, viewers will be treated with a series of colourful visualisations based around the concept of a curve. The new branding is easier to remodel for various things and cheaper to create than the old branding.
Why has it taken so long to get to this point? Look at other mainstream channels. ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and BBC One have all had a varying amount of branding refreshes over the last 25 years. BBC Two has been stuck in the past visually, whereas the other channels have gone bolder and adapted their identities to keep up with their audiences and ways of life.
In an interview with The Guardian,Patrick Holland, the man in charge of BBC Two said the average age of the audience is 60 years old and the channel needs to now target and reach a younger audience. But is changing the way you look only part of the answer? This is a channel that has to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as the look and feel of the channel, the content equally needs to change to attract those audiences.
Here’s a glimpse as to what the new BBC Two idents look like:
They’re bright, colourful, meaningful and fill the screen. Some are even mesmerising, your eyes are instantly drawn to them and the shapes and curves they’re making on screen, wondering where the curve will take you. You’re drawn in, ready to watch the programme that follows. Some of them resemble the stylings of wallpapers for your smartphone, the ones that have an edge-to-edge screen. It’s a refresh that has been much needed.
Equally, you’ll get those that don’t like change and may even complain to the BBC’s Point’s of View programme. How viewers adapt to the changes over the coming months will be of interest. But will these be around for another twenty-five years, or will they, like the viewers the channel has, evolve over time and still remain current?