In mid-July, BBC regional news programmes in England got the BBC Reith treatment. As well as adopting the same on-screen graphics as national news programmes, a new format for opening titles was also rolled out. Although the new sequence provides more than a tenuous nod to the 2008 branding, it is a more distant relative of the titles on the national news programmes than previously.
One update to the English regional titles that we very much approve of is the removal of the BBC logo from the programme names. This avoids having two BBC logos on the same graphic, which always seemed a little silly. BBC London remains the exception here of course. We can but hope they will brand themselves more sensibly at some point – London News maybe? Just a thought.
The national regions – Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – chose not to adopt the new titles template. Possibly too much of a “local” feel to them, as opposed to the “national” image that the nations would naturally strive for.
Northern Ireland stuck with its 2008 titles – including the Gill Sans programme title and BBC News logo badge. In fact, Belfast only recently adopted the Reith lower-thirds/location bugs. and updated the 2008 titles with Reith programme title and logo badge. A bit depressing that 11-year-old titles and theme tune are still in use.
BBC Wales Today chose to create a new version of the 2008 titles. Not a direct recreation – but it contains all the familiar elements. And there’s also a revised version of the theme tune. Just a shame about the final seconds of the titles, where the logo badge and programme titles are not aligned, and the overly heavy weight of the ‘WALES’ text in the programme title.
At the start of this week, BBC Reporting Scotland made some minor adjustments to its on-air presentation: minor tweaks to the set, and a new set of titles. A rather brave move regarding the latter: they opted for a recoloured version of the BBC News Channel titles – albeit with distinctive theme tune, the Reporting Scotland programme title and BBC News Scotland logo badge.
The Scottish landmass is nowhere to be seen. Some would argue this has watered down the Scottish identity of the titles/programme. Visuals containing world landmasses may seem a bit odd for a programme that has a Scottish focus.
The counter argument is that it more strongly aligns the programme with the BBC News national branding. BBC Scotland has generally tended to regard BBC Reporting Scotland as a ‘national’ rather than ‘regional’ news programme. The titles still contain lots of references to key Scottish locations. The programme title and BBC News Scotland logo is also present.
It’s worth noting that the 2008 branding package did include recoloured versions of the BBC News globe device (used on UK national and world news programmes) for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Although generally not used on air, they did appear on BBC iPlayer in the form of promotional stills and on outside broadcast vehicles. Oddly, BBC Wales Today has always been keen to emphasise the Welsh landmass in its titles but is the only nation to use the recoloured 2008 globe branding online:
Here are the new BBC Reporting Scotland titles, launched this week:
It’s hard to deny the BBC News branding in the national regions is looking a bit inconsistent at the moment. With no sign of the current BBC News branding being replaced any time soon, what options are open to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to keep things fresh?
There’s always the route taken by the BBC English regions. However, it seems fairly clear the powers that be in Belfast, Glasgow and Cardiff aren’t happy with that option.
The sets and titles currently in use in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales suggest they want to strongly align themselves with the general look of the national news programmes, and convey a sense of being a big national brand to their respective audiences.
A few years back, a freelance designer had a go at refreshing the BBC Newsline titles. The idea was to maintain a strong link with the national BBC News branding but place a greater emphasis on the programme’s catchment area.
The world landmasses were dropped. A stripped back – but still familiar – globe device took its place. The Northern Ireland landmass was more prominent than before. A more diverse range of local towns and cities was also included.
Obviously, it would need a BBC Reith update but we think it looks great. The more neutral globe device is still very much recognisably ‘BBC News’ and seems the better option here.
There’s no doubt that this globe device gives the titles a “national” feel, with the local landmass and healthy mix of local place names emphasising the local focus of the programme.
Let us know what you think.
PICTURED: BBC Newsline opening titles proposal (unaired) (early 2016). SUPPLIED BY: The TV Room. COPYRIGHT: Unknown.