The Newsroom

BBC News nostalgia, including BBC World

Split from BBC News: Presenters, correspondent & rotas (April 2020)

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BA
Batavia
I find it interesting that one thing in particular remained pretty consistent throughout the various rebrands of the late nineties - early noughties: the break bumper.

It was always a little square with a short burst of the current branding surrounded by lots of black. Always looked pretty slick too IMO. I think it lasted until the end of the 1st ribbons/globe look?


Am I the only one hoping for the return of the breakbumper? Like you say, it was very slick and neat.
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IS
Inspector Sands
The 1997 break bumper idea of a small square of branding in the middle of the screen was also used on the UKTV channels. I agree, they're very effective

(at 1:18, sorry doing it on a mobile and can't do direct links)


(at 0:37)
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NW
nwtv2003
I forgot until reading this thread, News 24 used break bumpers in its infancy. I’m not sure when this practice stopped, but it could have been during the flags era.

DE
deejay
After the weather forecasts on the BBC news channel you’ll see a full frame, mute swirl of branding before the trails. It’s still referred to as the bumper and so could be considered the modern equivalent.
AL
AaronLancs
I'd always thought that this was what the break bumper evolved into after that little box thingy disappeared as I remember always seeing it after the weather but before the trails. Also never at xx.45 as featurd in this video.

P.S. If anyone knows the actual technical name for this thing it would be good.

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WO
Worzel
I'd always thought that this was what the break bumper evolved into after that little box thingy disappeared as I remember always seeing it after the weather but before the trails. Also never at xx.45 as featurd in this video.

P.S. If anyone knows the actual technical name for this thing it would be good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Md6GxV4kZDY


And look at how quickly they ran through the top of hour headlines. Nowadays its like they're reading the Magna Carta.
AL
AaronLancs
Also if I think rightly about the 1999 era headline beds, weren't they a set length when produced? "Thunderclaps" at about five second intervals and the newsreader / presenter needed to be precise at hitting the targets. Thus being concise about the stories.
IT
itsrobert Founding member
Also if I think rightly about the 1999 era headline beds, weren't they a set length when produced? "Thunderclaps" at about five second intervals and the newsreader / presenter needed to be precise at hitting the targets. Thus being concise about the stories.

The BBC1 and BBC World bulletins had headline beds with fixed thunderclaps. BBC1's were fixed at 5" intervals. Initially, BBC World had about 8" intervals before shortening them to about 5" after a few months. BBC News 24 didn't have any fixed thunderclaps at that time but they still kept their headlines quite tightly scripted.

The rot set in from about 2003 onwards. The Six started having slightly unwieldy headlines when George and Sophie took over in January 2003. Eventually this spread to the other network bulletins too. News 24 also started having much longer headlines sequences at about the same time - certainly by the time they introduced the new look N8 with stand-up presentation areas in December 2003. I'd say it got a lot worse though after about 2008 and eventually the opening sequences on the network bulletins became the rambling mess we still have today.
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DT
DTV
Also if I think rightly about the 1999 era headline beds, weren't they a set length when produced? "Thunderclaps" at about five second intervals and the newsreader / presenter needed to be precise at hitting the targets. Thus being concise about the stories.

The BBC1 and BBC World bulletins had headline beds with fixed thunderclaps. BBC1's were fixed at 5" intervals. Initially, BBC World had about 8" intervals before shortening them to about 5" after a few months. BBC News 24 didn't have any fixed thunderclaps at that time but they still kept their headlines quite tightly scripted.

The rot set in from about 2003 onwards. The Six started having slightly unwieldy headlines when George and Sophie took over in January 2003. Eventually this spread to the other network bulletins too. News 24 also started having much longer headlines sequences at about the same time - certainly by the time they introduced the new look N8 with stand-up presentation areas in December 2003. I'd say it got a lot worse though after about 2008 and eventually the opening sequences on the network bulletins became the rambling mess we still have today.


They have got ridiculous, I recall one the other week - the day of the attacks on the US capitol - when the headline sequence was about two-and-a-half minutes. That's longer than some daytime news summaries used to be!

I would say that the rot actually started when they introduced the regional news headlines to the Six - perhaps they should be included at the 15' past coming up sequence, but there isn't much use for them during the main headlines. I'm not sure that you can beat the punchiness and the pace of those original 1999 sequences. Peter Sisson's introduction on 9/11 has a real impact that you wouldn't have today as the presenter would be to busy saying 'and we'll be asking why?' at the end of every story.

It's not the only increasingly longwinded introduction on the BBC, though. It also bothers me when, during the simulcasts, they say 'Welcome to BBC News, broadcasting to the UK and around the world' - sometimes even with 'and on PBS in America' or which UK channels they are broadcasting to. Just say 'Welcome to BBC News'.
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IT
itsrobert Founding member
I can't get my head around why broadcasters feel the need to treat viewers like this. I bet if you polled most people they would prefer a 'give it to me straight' approach. Short and snappy is much better and has far greater impact. Sometimes you lose the will to live waiting for the bulletin to actually get going.

Another bugbear of mine is why journalists and meteorologists feel the need to describe snow as "the white stuff". That's just one example and there are many, many more. Do they not think we will understand if they just say "snow"?

I do feel that by and large broadcasters treat viewers as idiots these days. I'm not saying they need to speak the Queen's English all the time, but there should be a standard level of English required.

The other annoyance is why everyone on TV now seems incapable of imparting any information without flapping their hands and arms around like a helicopter. It has pervaded all networks. What does it add? If anything, I find it a distraction.

Sorry, am I in a ranty mood this morning?
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DW
DavidWhitfield
Another bugbear of mine is why journalists and meteorologists feel the need to describe snow as "the white stuff". That's just one example and there are many, many more. Do they not think we will understand if they just say "snow"?


This puts me in mind of the (sadly short-lived) Dave Gorman series Terms & Conditions Apply , broadcast on Dave in 2019.

Across the series, he frequently derides the very same needlessly flowery language where succinct information would suffice, and provides examples of comical 'second mentions' (e.g. a carrot being referred to as 'the popular orange vegetable' and Marmite being referred to as 'the black stuff') in articles, making a game out of finding as many convoluted ways as possible of describing simple objects/concepts and adding them into encyclopaedia entries.

(You can still find episodes on UKTV Play if you feel it sounds up your street.)
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IS
Inspector Sands
Yes it's a convention across news writing and is to avoid using the same word or thing multiple times in an article. It gets quite convoluted at times especially when they the thesaurus runs out. But I the other hand repetition of the same thing or persons name in an article can be quite annoying to read too.

Saying 'the white stuff' isn't meaning to be descriptive in case someone doesn't know what snow is, it's just adding a bit of descriptive language to lighten up something which is quite dry
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