Channel 4’s 80s takeover day sees old trailer graphics used as idents

Channel 4’s 80s-themed presentation is a fascinating glimpse of what might have been.

The special day is to promote the channel’s major new drama It’s a Sin.

The old multi-coloured logo is back. But this is not an attempt to simply recreate the look of the channel in its early days.

The big difference is that animations originally used on trailers during seasonal promotional campaigns are being used as idents.

VIDEO: the various 1980s presentation elements used by Channel 4 for their 80s takeover day. SUPPLIED BY: YouTube Channel – Channel 4. COPYRIGHT: Channel 4 Television Corporation.

Imagine if Channel 4 had done this at the time and only used the flying blocks as part of the mix.

Channel 4 is to be commended for bringing out these old animations but why did they decide to use them as idents? Well, perhaps it’s a backhanded tribute to the sheer brilliance of its original idents.

C4 has used its old idents twice in recent weeks, including one screening as a tribute to Martin Lambie-Nairn. They were so brilliantly executed they have hardly dated.

However the trailer graphics turned into idents are very much of their time.

Some of them scream out 80s because of their design – others because of their execution as stop frame animations.

These clearly take the viewer back three-and-a-half decades unlike the flying blocks which are just as brilliant now as they were then.

It’s interesting that seasonal or unrelated idents were never a regular feature of C4’s presentation package in the 80s. Then again, in those days idents were usually meant to be a sign of a constant presence – continuity in the other sense.

The special themed day offered up a couple of other pieces of interest.

The multi-coloured DOG makes you grateful they were not a feature of British TV back then. But the return of the clock is a lovely touch.

While digital transmission systems mean it isn’t accurate to the second, it is a reminder that a clock can also provide punctuation and help key programmes like the news stand out.



PICTURED: Channel 4 1980s promotion graphic. SUPPLIED BY: The TV Room. COPYRIGHT: Channel 4 Television Corporation.

Posted by Andrew Nairn

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