Channel 4 is 25 years old today. It’s really the only commercial broadcaster worth watching. Mind you, even Channel 4 is a bit shit these days.

But the important thing is that its idents are still awesome, as they always have been. It’s great to see that Channel 4’s continuity is all in the style of the original iconic designs, with a range of classic idents being shown (some of which I’ve never seen before).

The original idents lasted an astonishing 14 years. That’s an age — you’d never see an ident package lasting that long nowadays. Even more amazingly, the original ‘4’ logo has never changed, merely being adapted for each new era.

The coloured blocks were well loved and recognisable enough for Hamlet to create this spoof version for an advert. For me, it’s surprising in two ways. For one, I’m surprised Channel 4 and the regulators allowed them to do it, given that it could have easily been confused for an actual ident.

Then there is the fact that it is tobacco being advertised — something from a different era. It goes to show just how far Hamlet were determined to advertise despite all the regulations. Sometimes a restrictive environment can make you come up with the best ideas.

It was always going to be a tough act to follow the coloured blocks. I seem to remember the circles era was quite unpopular, but I thought they were quite good.I also liked the ‘squares and stripes’ era, although it dated really quickly.

So it was a bit of a shock to see just how excellent the following ident package was!

Genius.

Channel 4 have a couple of special websites up and running for the occasion as well.

More classic Channel 4 idents can be found at The TV Room. BBC News Online has 25 facts about 25 years of Channel 4.

10 comments

  1. I really love the latest idents, they are really clever and really well done.

    It is totally amazing that the original 4 logo lasted all that time, nowadays people are bored of them after a couple of weeks!

  2. I think some of the latest ones are better than others; the original is really classic though.
    David Dundas must have known it was going to last, getting a couple of quid every time his ident jingle was played – around half a million for four notes is pretty efficient songwriting!!

  3. Wow, I knew he got paid £3.50 for each time ‘Fourscore’ was played, but I thought that was just for the whole piece. I didn’t realise it was just for those four notes! He must be rolling in it! I guess this might explain some of the changes to the music that were introduced by the early 1990s.

  4. One thing that I really like about UK is the magnificent TV channels you have. I wish that you could understand spanish to compare and contrast the crap we see here with the high quality programs of your TV. Even X factor is better in english!

    P.S. I am looking forward to your post on Fernando’s getaway from McLaren.

  5. What’s your Top 10 Channel 4 Programmes then?

    PS – Randon fact: Pete Wishart, the SNP MP for Perth and the former keyboard player for Runrig, made more money from writing the old 3 note jingle for STV than he did for anything else in his musical career.

  6. “Mind you, even Channel 4 is a bit shit these days.”

    A bit? ;)

  7. Ponzonha, John.

    Wow, requests! Well, I’m a bit busy at the moment, but they are both good questions, so I’ll answer them next week on this blog.

    Fernando Alonso leaving McLaren is not exactly unexpected, but it still throws up a lot of questions. If they aren’t answered by next week, I’ll give my thoughts on it. I’ll also have a few posts reviewing different aspects of the season overall.

    John, top 10 Channel 4 programmes is an interesting question. I think I have ten, but I’ll write in depth about it next week. I’ll also write about my thoughts on the first edition of Countdown and its evolution since then.

  8. […] looks at the issue of bias in ITV’s coverage of Formula 1, and then takes time to celebrate 25 years of Channel 4 idents. I’m enjoying Channel 4’s anniversary celebrations, as it’s given them a chance to but the […]

  9. […] Alonso’s departure from McLaren is kind of old news now. But Ponzonha asked me to write about it, and I still have some views on it, so here they […]

  10. […] week Channel 4 celebrated its 25th birthday. John asked in the comments about people’s top ten Channel 4 programmes. I would have written […]