Pres fans await the new look BBC One

Recently we looked at the benefits of a big relaunch – schedule changes along with a new look over a series of piecemeal changes. But what was the big day like for pres fans?

The new globe had been trailed in Radio Times. There were hints from January onwards when the new gold ‘BBC1’ logo (but not the globe) appeared in corporate adverts for a higher licence fee. Then the week before, a short feature on the new globe opened a series of articles in the magazine about the new programmes.

VIDEO: the final BBC One closedown to feature the mechanical globe. TX DATE/TIME: 18th February 1985, 12.12am. SUPPLIED BY: YouTube Channel – tv68. COPYRIGHT: BBC.

The old globe, Radio Times said, would be seen for the last time on Sunday. So were some young pres enthusiasts up early on Monday before Breakfast Time to get a look? If so, they’d have been disappointed. On came the green and blue globe as normal.

Maybe some outside England thought their local announcers had made a mistake? Or that it would only be shown by network? Any mystery was solved if you watched the TV preview on that day’s Breakfast Time. It treated us to an extended look at the old globe and said there’d be a new one before Wogan but gave no spoilers.

All through the day it was business as usual. If you hadn’t seen Breakfast Time you perhaps thought it had all been abandoned. The new look weather appeared as planned at lunchtime preceded by a special introductory programme.

So as 7pm came close, tension built. The old network globe got its last proper airing before Grange Hill at 5.35pm but had a little swansong in London an hour later. The original version of the BBC One electronic clock ticked its last before the Six o’Clock News. Then at 7pm the big reveal.

VIDEO: BBC One junctions from the first evening of the new on-screen presentation. TX DATE/TIME: 18th February 1985, 7pm – 12.05am. SUPPLIED BY: YouTube Channel – tv68. COPYRIGHT: BBC.

It is easy to underestimate now the simple elegance of the Computer-Originated World or COW. Especially as the gold branding might now be seen to mean “gold as in old” rather than gold standard.

In the nations, having a symbol absolutely identical in quality to network’s was a revelation too – especially in Northern Ireland where the local symbol had been rather fuzzy.

New slides ensured BBC One presentation never looked quite the same again – but it was soon obvious the changes were just cosmetic and the values were the same. Just executed so much more stylishly.

It was an unforgettable day.




Posted by Andrew Nairn

  1. There’s a clip on YouTube from “Midlands Today” where David Stevens “ceremoniously” switches off the local mirror globe with the line “so, now it really is a case of stop the world, I want to get off”, before the new network Ident is shown for the first time.


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