At 2.57am on Saturday morning, October 04 1997, the familiar rotating globe - an image that had represented BBC One for 34 years - was faded off air for the final time, consigned to broadcasting history. Hours later, at 7.03am, BBC One went on air with a new look. The BBC One globe lived on, however, but in the guise of a design on a red hot air balloon, filmed drifting majestically above various locations across the UK.
In another break from tradition, there were now nearly fifty separate symbols for BBC One, rather than just one. Each ident also had its own sound track - another new feature.
The new package was conceived and produced by design agency Lambie-Nairn. So what was the thinking behind the new idents? Lambie-Nairn explains:
"To date all expressions of the globe had been confined, restricted, or abstracted 'indoors'. The globe was used as a visual metaphor underpinning the core thought: BBC One - bringing the whole world to every corner of the Nation.
"The creative response to the brief was to release the globe into the great outdoors and to visually represent BBC One reaching out to every corner of the land. The BBC One globe balloon was flown across the UK and filmed in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the North, South, East and West of England. Urban, country, historical and modern, natural and manmade landscapes were all captured. Although BBC One had always previously had a mute presentation, this time a musical sound track was commissioned to support the scale and scope of the visuals."
The idents were split into four groups, indicating the nation in which the balloon was filmed in action: England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. We have arranged the idents in accordance with this structure, each nation having its own dedicated page. Later idents and special idents deviated from this format; details of those idents are carried further down this page.
The introduction of the balloon also heralded uniformity in channel branding across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - they now referred to themselves as 'BBC One Scotland', BBC One Wales' and 'BBC One Northern Ireland' respectively - both verbally and visually. Northern Ireland always had done so anyway - bar a short period in the late-1980s - but Scotland and Wales regularly referred to 'BBC Scotland on 1'/'BBC Scotland on 2' and 'BBC Wales on 1'/'BBC Wales on 2'.
The practice of highlighting programmes with teletext subtitles with an '888' indicator in the top right corner of the symbol remained. However, with digital services becoming more widely available during this period, the subtitle caption was changed to 'Subtitles' in mid-1999. Digital services had a subtitles option rather than a dedicated teletext page. Conventional 'teletext' services were also dropped from the BBC's digital television services in the early-2000s, in favour of more up-to-date services, which provided higher resolution graphics and video.
In autumn 1998, five new idents were added: 'English 16 - Needles', Isle Of Wight; 'English 17 - Norfolk'; 'English 18 - St Michael's Mount'; 'English 19 - Blackpool Tower'; 'Irish 9 - Dunluce Castle'.
Five more idents followed in 1999 - two of them 'specials': 'English 20 - Angel Of The North'; 'Scottish 12 - Armadillo Buildings'; 'Welsh 14 - Severn Bridge'; 'Eclipse' - used in the run up to BBC One's coverage of the total eclipse of the sun; 'Walking With Dinosaurs' - brought in to promote a series that used the latest computer techology to portray the existence of dinosaurs.
From December 1999 any new ident that was introduced had the BBC Online URL added. The Christmas symbol that year was the first to feature the website URL. In mid-June 2000, the URL was added to all BBC One idents.
The new millennium brought with it a new addition to BBC One's main ident set - 'Millennium Dome'.