Channel 5 Video

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Channel 5 Video was a significant British VHS distributor founded in 1986 as a joint venture between Heron Communications and PolyGram. The company shuttered in 1991 after PolyGram purchased Heron's stake in the business and rebranded it as the UK division of PolyGram Video.

In 1997, PolyGram revived the Channel 5 brand as a children's label for their existing budget VHS imprint 4Front Video. Following the rebranding of PolyGram Video to Universal Studios Home Video in 1999, the Channel 5 brand continued to be used as a label until at least 2003.

It is completely unrelated to (and not to be confused with) Britain's fifth terrestrial TV station.

1st Logo (March 1986-1990, 1996)

Visuals: On a gradient blue background, a series of translucent 3D quadrilaterals, coloured a sky blue tint with a hint of red gradient on several corners, rotate into view and stack from top to bottom, as the camera rotates around and pans up the stack. As the stack zooms out as the last of the pieces rest in place, it is then revealed to be an right-pointing chevron with a "5" cut out of it, and it is hit by a line of electricity (two CASCOM stock footages called "Electro Charge II" and "Electro Burst", respectively). It then turns gold, and as it turns to face the camera, the word "CHANNEL" also in gold appears above. The frame rate of the logo then changes from 25 frames per second to 50 frames per second as it faces the camera very briefly, with a square-shaped flash of white light behind it, and then zooms in towards the camera and disappears, leaving just the gradient blue background and a faint white X shape in the background (actually what's left of the flash).

Technique: CGI, with backlit cel animation for the electricity, and 2D computer effects for the flash.

Audio: A synthesizer tune is played with some bells and electric guitars, and just before the bolts of lightning hit each other, a cymbal is heard building up to the flash, with a final electric guitar chord before the synthesizer fades out, as the logo zooms off the screen.

Availability: Seen on VHS releases by Channel 5 Video in the UK from the time-period until 1990.

  • These include Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Joe 90, Terrahawks, Space: 1999, The Raccoons, and The Trap Door, among many others.
  • It is also preserved on the 1986 UK VHS releases of It's Magic Charlie Brown/Charlie Brown's All Stars, The Last Unicorn (1982), Well Done Noddy, and The Wacky World of Mother Goose, the 1987 UK VHS releases of Here Comes Noddy Again, Pob and Friends, My Pet Monster: A Live Action Videocassette, Teddy Ruxpin: Just Between Friends, and The Pondles: Puddle Town Parade, the 1988 UK VHS release of Roobarb & Custard: When Custard Stole the Show, the 1989 UK VHS releases of The Ratties: The Budgie, Galaxy High School: Welcome To Galaxy High School/Pizza's Honor, Dougal and the Blue Cat, and Jim Henson's Mother Goose Stories, and the 1990 UK VHS releases of Michaela's Birthday Show for Boys, Michaela's Birthday Show for Girls, Spooks and Gooks, Follow That Sleigh, Tales of the Riverbank, Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982), and The Amazing Adventures Of Morph, respectively.
  • It is also intact at the start of the 1996 UK VHS release of The Amazing Adventures of Morph from 4Front Video and Channel 5 Video.
  • It also strangely does not appear on the 1986 Marks & Spencer UK VHS release of The Adventures of Noddy for unknown reasons.

2nd Logo (1986-1991, 1997-2000)

Visuals: On a gradient orange/brown background, the bold word "CHANNEL" appears letter-by-letter at a steady pace near the top of the screen. As this occurs, a gold square appears from the bottom right corner, zooming towards the center of the screen before disappearing, and two more squares, coloured purple and black respectively, participate in similar sequences from the top left and upper middle respectively. Finally, a 2D version of the chevron appears section-by-section to form the Channel 5 Video print logo, and then almost immediately swerves to the right and flies off to the top right, leaving the background like before.

Technique: 2D computer animation.


  • 1986-1991: A droning note accompanied by drumbeats followed by a downing synth chord with drumbeats, which surprisingly is in sync with the animation of the logo. Except for the drumbeats, this was actually sourced from "Threshold" by the Steve Miller Band. The track was also used for an early station ident for KMPH-TV.
  • 1997-2000: A lullaby-esque theme, featuring a xylophone and woodwind.

Availability: Seen on VHS releases by Channel 5 Video in the UK from the time-period.

  • The version with the first fanfare can be found on the 1986 UK VHS releases of Mighty Mouse: Volume 1 and Mighty Mouse: Volume 2, respectively.
  • The version with the second fanfare can be found on the 1997 UK VHS releases of GoodTimes' Black Beauty (1995), Bagpuss, and The Gingerbread Man (1997 re-release), among others.
  • The logo also does appear on the packaging of some 2001-2003 era titles, e.g. Back 2 Back: Christopher Crocodile/The Family-Ness.
    • However, it does not appear on-screen; only Universal's 1997 logo does instead.
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