From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


BBC HD was a high-definition television channel provided by the BBC. The service was initially run as a trial from May 15, 2006 until becoming a full service on December 1, 2007. It broadcast only during the afternoon and evening and only broadcast programming shot in high definition, either in a simulcast with another channel or by inserting a repeat of an HD programme. BBC HD closed on March 26, 2013 and was replaced by a HD simulcast of BBC Two, partly as a result of budget cuts affecting the BBC, but also because most content on the BBC was now being produced in HD, eliminating the need for a specific HD-only channel.

1st ID (December 1, 2007-July 25, 2008)

Visuals: On a black background, a black diamond with an orange glow emitting from behind it is seen, with the BBC HD logo beneath. The diamond turns to a glossy blue, before spinning around and sinking into the background, revealing a diamond-shaped hole. As this happens, the camera begins to zoom into the hole, causing the BBC HD logo to fade out. Inside the hole, there is a strikingly blue tunnel, and as the camera zooms deeper, the diamond shifts colors from blue to red. Suddenly, it explodes into orange dust, scattering across the screen and creating a smokey effect. Crystals begin to emerge from the explosion, turning into shiny cubes containing clips of programs as the camera starts to spin around. The camera zoom through the crystals, revealing one of them is a blue diamond, and as it comes to the center of the screen, the BBC HD logo fades in at the bottom again. The blue diamond glitters and shines, before the blue color fades away and the orange glow reappears again, creating a perfect loop.


  • Sometimes, a shorter version is used. This version begins right when the explosion happens, and the rest of the animation plays out as usual.
  • Sometimes, the blue diamond still remains, instead of fading away.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: The ident starts with a distinct rumbling sound, before an ambience of strings and a choir begins to build up. As the explosion happens, a loud explosion sound is heard, followed by a distinct wavy pulsating noise, and sharp twinkling noises when the crystals appear on screen. The sounds end with the ambience fading out as a synthetic four note jingle is played, with a 'thud' sound on the final note. After the music plays, a low rumbling can still be heard, alongside the distinct wavy pulsating noise from earlier. At this point, an announcer would typically begin to speak.

Audio Variants:

  • Sometimes, the music is rearranged.
  • There is a alternate version where the music is rock-themed, using electric guitars, bass guitars and drums with strings.

Availability: It is difficult to find clips of this ident in use on the internet due to it's short lifespan and the weak adoption of HD channels in the UK at that time.

2nd ID (2007-2013)

Visuals: On a black background, there is the BBC HD logo with a sharp blue glowing effect behind it, and a blue smoke trail emitting from the HD diamond. Suddenly, the color of the glow changes from blue to orange, and a large sphere with a subtle orange glow emitting from it (like how the atmosphere of a planet looks) fades in, intersecting the HD diamond. The glow color changes once again, this time fading back to blue as the smoke trail begins to return, and then the logo fades to black.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: Starting out with a low rumbling sound, a reverse cymbal is heard in the buildup to the glow changing color to orange. As the glow changes color, the same wavy pulsating effect from the first ident can be heard, before a distinct ambience begins to build up. When the glow changes color again, a synth string is heard, before fading out to silence.

Availability: It was used only as a sting during 2008 in tandem with the first ident. It can also be found on BBC-branded HD-DVDs, and Blu-rays from 2007-2013.

3rd ID (July 26, 2008-April 5, 2009)

Visuals: The ident starts out in the sky, following a singular water droplet as it falls. The camera quickly pans as it drops into the ocean below, creating a large ripple effect, before several more ripples begin to appear across the surface. The camera then cuts to reveal various large abstract shapes rising from the ocean, water falling from them as they shift and move to connect to one another. The area underneath the shapes begins to glow, and the camera cuts to an aerial view to reveal the shapes were creating the familiar HD diamond from the BBC HD logo. Below the large diamond, there is the 1997 BBC logo in black, with the Gill Sans letters in a shiny material protuding slightly from the shape.

Variant: A shorter version exists.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: Starting with a simple twinkly four note piano melody, as the water droplet falls into the ocean the melody begins to build up with synthesised instruments such as flutes and violins, culminating in a bombastic fanfare as the shapes rise from the ocean, causing loud crashes as waves begin to erupt across the surface. When the camera cuts to the aerial view, two low thuds are heard as the music returns to the simple piano melody, which loops until the end of the ident.

4th ID (April 6, 2009-March 26, 2013)

Visuals: Taking place in the same park setting in each variant, there is an everyday action turned into a dramatic event as a glossy diamond shape appears, offering a different perspective on the events happening. The BBC HD logo then forms on screen, with the HD diamond spinning around rapidly before the BBC logo fades in.

Trivia: The elements of these idents would be used as the textures in the channel's original programme trailers and slides, for example, the picnic blanket from the Cat ident.


  • Cat: The camera is focused on a blade of grass with a cricket attached to it before shifting focus to reveal a small tabby cat hiding in the grass. It then cuts to reveal two pigeons in a field next to some people having a picnic, and the camera shows an overhead view of the cat sneaking up to the pigeons. As the cat is running towards them, a diamond appears in front of it, showing a lion bounding through a savannah. The cat jumps at the pigeons, but they fly away, and the cat continues to chase them off-screen. The ident ends on a slow-motion shot of the cat running through the picnic, knocking over a bowl of apples and oranges, as the BBC HD logo forms on screen.
  • Dog Walker: It starts with a shot of a man walking a group of dogs before cutting away to a shot of a woman walking a single dog. The man's group of dogs appears agitated, barking while stood still, and the other smaller dog appears to be noticeably scared. Shots of the dogs barking up-close are shown before they tug on their owner's leash and launch forward, where the diamond reveals multiple husky dogs running through a snowy area, pulling along a sled It cuts to a closeup of the man skidding across the path to stop the dogs, and as the BBC HD logo appears we see a final slow motion wide shot further away from the man, who is pulling on the leashes in an attempt to control the dogs.
  • Music: It starts on a closeup of a woman, and a man sat on a bench, sharing a pair of earbuds and listening to a piano performance. The man begins to move his hands in a dramatic way, as if he was playing the piano. The diamond appears in front of him as the camera orbits around the bench, revealing the man as a performer sat at a grand piano as an ensemble appears around him. The diamond disappears, and the BBC HD logo forms as the woman begins to clap, and the final shot shows them sitting at the bench with people passing in front of the camera.
  • Carousel: The ident starts in a playground during Winter, with the camera attached to a carousel spinning around with two children on it. The diamond appears and reveals the carousel to be a ride at an amusement park, with the overwhelmingly warm colours contrasting against the dull winter setting. Various shots of the children riding around on the carousel's horses are shown before the diamond disappears and they jump off as the BBC HD logo forms on screen. The final scene is a slow-motion shot of the children playing and running away, as the carousel continues to spin slowly.
  • Ice Cream: The ident starts on a closeup of a group of people lounging in the sun, who all suddenly turn their heads as the focus changes to reveal a distant ice cream van. All of the people run over and queue in a line, as the diamond forms to reveal a dramatic dance scene set at nighttime, with the people in the queue becoming dancers dressed in bright sparkly clothing. As the diamond disappears, the dancers line up again as if nothing happened, and a final shot of the vendor handing out ice cream to the queue is shown as the BBC HD logo forms.
  • The Catch: Across a lake, a group of children are seen on a dock, with one of them casting a fishing rod and another using a net in the lake. A closeup is shown of the net in the water, and another closeup is shown of the rod being cast. One child runs over to the other one, who is slowly lifting the net from the lake below, and as he runs, a small jar is kicked over, showing an amphibian crawling away. The camera cuts to the net being lifted, as the diamond appears and reveals a shark lunging forwards and biting. Various shots of the shark biting are shown before the diamond disappears, revealing a small fish flopping around in the net. The BBC HD logo appears as the camera settles on a final shot of the lake with ducks swimming across it, as the two boys remove the fish from the net and place it in a jar filled with water.

Technique: A mixture of live action and CGI, created by Red Bee Media.

Audio: Depends on the ident. However, the music always ends with the same four note jingle.

Audio Variants:

  • Cat: A playful harpsichord and bells chiming can be heard, slowly building up anticipation with an electric guitar and bass as the cat approaches. As the diamond appears, it culiminates with a loud synthesised growling as the lion leaps forward, and as the cat lands, a dramatic piano chord is heard, followed by the jingle being played out on a harpischord.
  • Dog Walker: A gentle string melody is accompanied by some bells and the sounds of dogs barking and growling. As the diamond forms, a dramatic synthesised orchestra is heard, ending on the four note jingle played on a guitar, and an ambient loop of the string melody from the start of the ident.
  • Music: A piano melody is heard through the man's earbuds, and as the diamond appears, the piano becomes more intense, ending on the four note jingle being played on the piano.
  • Carousel: Metallic clanking is heard as the carousel begins to spin, and when the diamond appears, a bouncy circus theme is heard. After the diamond disappears, a drum loop is heard in the background as the jingle plays.
  • Ice Cream: Starting out with a basic ice cream van jingle, a drum roll leads into a bombastic jazzy soundtrack with trumpets and other woodwind instruments. As the ident ends, the four note jingle is played, and the ice cream van jingle fades in again.
  • The Catch: A gentle piano melody is heard through the ambience of the park, and as the net is pulled from the water a sudden low rumble is heard, building up into a loud crash as the shark appears. Once the diamond disappears, a synthesised version of the jingle plays, ending with a gentle ambience once again.

Audio Trivia:

  • If the idents are played out for long enough with no announcer, it can actually hear elements from different idents playing in the background ambience. For example, in the Music ident, It can faintly hear the ice cream truck from the Ice Cream variant.
  • The piano performance heard in the music variant is "Piano Concerto in A minor" by Edvard Grieg.
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