The Newsroom

BBC News Virtual Studio

Behind the scenes

JO
Jon Central (West) Midlands Today
With regards to the virtual era of BBC News, I think ARD look is the closest we have to a modernised incarnation of that style.

We know RTE tried to imitate the 90s look of BBC News, but did any other international broadcasters do anything similar?
JosiahStuart, DE88 and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
AA
Aaron_2015 West Country (West) Spotlight
Jonwo posted:
I wonder if we might see this replace green screen studios in the next few years:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ufp8weYYDE8


Thanks for sharing, mind officially blown! Would never have guessed over half of The Mandalorian was filmed against screens.
JosiahStuart, denton and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
RD
Roger Darthwell London London
I quite agree. The BBC News branding between 1993 and 1999 was faultless in terms of my own personal taste. I loved everything from the blue "virtual" branding through to the BBC World/News 24 flags and Breakfast News in the late 90s. I'd take the 90s branding over the present look of BBC News any day. The red/cream branding introduced in 1999 was very refreshing at the time and remains impressive but I feel the BBC has well and truly flogged it to death now. The "virtual" and "flags" eras benefit with hindsight from their fairly brief existence. I similarly enjoyed the ITN branding at the same time. The 1995-2000 atrium set (in Studio 3 at Grays Inn Road) and associated branding was equally impressive.

Spot on Sir! I would take the orchestral arrangement over the beeps any day now, I feel that these intros give the BBC a lot more authority to these intros speak absolute power, integrity and authoritive content. IMHO it emotes so much more pride as a national broadcaster than the current beeps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDXpyvEB6go
Also same for ITN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMMXwvfkdWU

Totally agree. In terms of the David Lowe music, I thought it was incredible when it first launched but it's been diluted too much over the years. Granted, that had to happen as the BBC wanted more and more versions, but I still hold that the originals were the best. But even they are eclipsed by George Fenton's April 1993 orchestral arrangements and David Dundas' October 1993 WSTV music. Absolutely superb and remain so to this day. I also thought the October 1997 BBC World flags theme music by Joe Glasman was incredible. I was less enamoured with the News 24 flags music (by Dave Hewson, Alan Coates and Kim Goody I believe) but I was sad that BBC World's only lasted a few years on air. It remains timeless music in my opinion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHYHsSKEQ5w

I thought George Fenton also made music for BBC WSTV, thank you for correcting me!
JK
JKDerry Recently warned UTV Newsline
RTE News attempt at their computer generated studio was poor showing, although RTE were of course restricted by budget, so their copy and paste effort of a computer generated studio was reasonable for them, as they had an annual budget which BBC News could blow on a day of news output, whereas RTE would have to use it for a whole year.

RTE News computer generated studio was used for a short space of time, only 1994 to 1997.

Here is a look at their Saturday main evening news from around late 1994

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToSuWnI-PFk
DT
DTV Meridian (South) South Today
Also agreed regarding the pips. I think the creative brief has been to keep them in place because it's recognisable as being the BBC, but why can't they incorporate the last 6 into an orchestral piece? There's only so much drum, bass and chords you can mix around them.

It's not that David Lowe can't compose brilliant music anymore, he's most likely constrained to a particular brand/creative brief.


The problem with BBC News rebrands is that they tend to be fairly conservative and err on the side of caution. This, I think, is very much a side effect of them having a fairly successful brand - they don't want to change too much or it could risk the whole brand falling apart. But I do agree that the next rebrand should be a lot more stripped back to the essentials. So long as you have red, the pips and some form of globe motif - I think it will still say BBC News.

While I know that TVF orthodoxy is that the 1999 David Lowe set is the best of his BBC work - my favourite countdown is actually the 2013 one. The inclusion of the orchestra gives it something that previous ones had been lacking and it is a shame that they didn't rework more of the package to more heavily include the orchestra. I think Mike W is right that it would be possible for BBC News to have a theme that was much more orchestral, so long as it also included the pips somewhere in the mix. It is the pips and the distinctive rhythm, not the synths that make it immediately recognisable as BBC News.
IT
itsrobert Founding member Granada North West Today
Spot on Sir! I would take the orchestral arrangement over the beeps any day now, I feel that these intros give the BBC a lot more authority to these intros speak absolute power, integrity and authoritive content. IMHO it emotes so much more pride as a national broadcaster than the current beeps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDXpyvEB6go
Also same for ITN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMMXwvfkdWU

Totally agree. In terms of the David Lowe music, I thought it was incredible when it first launched but it's been diluted too much over the years. Granted, that had to happen as the BBC wanted more and more versions, but I still hold that the originals were the best. But even they are eclipsed by George Fenton's April 1993 orchestral arrangements and David Dundas' October 1993 WSTV music. Absolutely superb and remain so to this day. I also thought the October 1997 BBC World flags theme music by Joe Glasman was incredible. I was less enamoured with the News 24 flags music (by Dave Hewson, Alan Coates and Kim Goody I believe) but I was sad that BBC World's only lasted a few years on air. It remains timeless music in my opinion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHYHsSKEQ5w

I thought George Fenton also made music for BBC WSTV, thank you for correcting me!

George Fenton composed the first WSTV music used from 1991-93:


Lord David Dundas did October 1993:


And Mike Rigg did the 1995-97 themes:

RD
Roger Darthwell London London
Totally agree. In terms of the David Lowe music, I thought it was incredible when it first launched but it's been diluted too much over the years. Granted, that had to happen as the BBC wanted more and more versions, but I still hold that the originals were the best. But even they are eclipsed by George Fenton's April 1993 orchestral arrangements and David Dundas' October 1993 WSTV music. Absolutely superb and remain so to this day. I also thought the October 1997 BBC World flags theme music by Joe Glasman was incredible. I was less enamoured with the News 24 flags music (by Dave Hewson, Alan Coates and Kim Goody I believe) but I was sad that BBC World's only lasted a few years on air. It remains timeless music in my opinion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHYHsSKEQ5w

I thought George Fenton also made music for BBC WSTV, thank you for correcting me!

George Fenton composed the first WSTV music used from 1991-93:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t70jZkxEu0
Lord David Dundas did October 1993:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxhYOx2SBW4
And Mike Rigg did the 1995-97 themes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoZVmT6qGyA

Great videos thank you! Also in Lord David Dundas' theme I hear some echoes of Lilliburlero, the original BBC World Service interval signal!
Last edited by Roger Darthwell on 27 January 2021 9:16pm
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Very much more prominent in the earlier George Fenton one though?
Write that down in your copybook now.
AndrewPSSP, AlfieMulcahy and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
RD
Roger Darthwell London London
Very much more prominent in the earlier George Fenton one though?

Yes it was, my apologies for not mentioning it
JO
johnnyboy Founding member Tyne Tees Look North (North East)
I quite agree. The BBC News branding between 1993 and 1999 was faultless in terms of my own personal taste. I loved everything from the blue "virtual" branding through to the BBC World/News 24 flags and Breakfast News in the late 90s. I'd take the 90s branding over the present look of BBC News any day. The red/cream branding introduced in 1999 was very refreshing at the time and remains impressive but I feel the BBC has well and truly flogged it to death now. The "virtual" and "flags" eras benefit with hindsight from their fairly brief existence. I similarly enjoyed the ITN branding at the same time. The 1995-2000 atrium set (in Studio 3 at Grays Inn Road) and associated branding was equally impressive.

Spot on Sir! I would take the orchestral arrangement over the beeps any day now, I feel that these intros give the BBC a lot more authority to these intros speak absolute power, integrity and authoritive content. IMHO it emotes so much more pride as a national broadcaster than the current beeps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDXpyvEB6go
Also same for ITN https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMMXwvfkdWU

Totally agree. In terms of the David Lowe music, I thought it was incredible when it first launched but it's been diluted too much over the years. Granted, that had to happen as the BBC wanted more and more versions, but I still hold that the originals were the best. But even they are eclipsed by George Fenton's April 1993 orchestral arrangements and David Dundas' October 1993 WSTV music. Absolutely superb and remain so to this day. I also thought the October 1997 BBC World flags theme music by Joe Glasman was incredible. I was less enamoured with the News 24 flags music (by Dave Hewson, Alan Coates and Kim Goody I believe) but I was sad that BBC World's only lasted a few years on air. It remains timeless music in my opinion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHYHsSKEQ5w


I like the drums and pips although a lot less than what preceded it of course.

For me, the most authoritative iteration of David Lowe's theme was the original BBC World version (not the version used for The World Today which eventually replaced the version I like on every bulletin before BBC News adopted the 2003 Viking helmet logo).

And a discussion about BBC World music of the time cannot go without the sublime original 10 second countdown and the breakfiller music.

Still, 1993-1999 was the best.
OFCOM's queen bitch
DE
DE88 UTV Newsline
I still think the '93 re-recording of the One O'Clock News theme tries too hard - but then again there would have been *some* rules that George Fenton had to stick to, wouldn't there? (After all, all the '93 tunes have similar intros, disregarding Newsnight.)

On the other hand, the re-re-recording of the Breakfast News theme (the 1989 version was itself a re-recording, of course) is excellent. Too bad the Beeb were "blithely dismissing the very notion of competing for this slot" at this time, according to Matthew Harris AKA Applemask in the GMTV episode of his ITV in the Face series.
"What is two plus two?" "Rather more than three." "Yes, but can you be more specific?" "The Belgians."
AndrewPSSP, AlfieMulcahy and Roger Darthwell gave kudos
CH
chris Granada North West Today
DTV posted:
Also agreed regarding the pips. I think the creative brief has been to keep them in place because it's recognisable as being the BBC, but why can't they incorporate the last 6 into an orchestral piece? There's only so much drum, bass and chords you can mix around them.

It's not that David Lowe can't compose brilliant music anymore, he's most likely constrained to a particular brand/creative brief.


The problem with BBC News rebrands is that they tend to be fairly conservative and err on the side of caution. This, I think, is very much a side effect of them having a fairly successful brand - they don't want to change too much or it could risk the whole brand falling apart. But I do agree that the next rebrand should be a lot more stripped back to the essentials. So long as you have red, the pips and some form of globe motif - I think it will still say BBC News.

While I know that TVF orthodoxy is that the 1999 David Lowe set is the best of his BBC work - my favourite countdown is actually the 2013 one. The inclusion of the orchestra gives it something that previous ones had been lacking and it is a shame that they didn't rework more of the package to more heavily include the orchestra. I think Mike W is right that it would be possible for BBC News to have a theme that was much more orchestral, so long as it also included the pips somewhere in the mix. It is the pips and the distinctive rhythm, not the synths that make it immediately recognisable as BBC News.


The Election 2019 proves this point well, as does the fantastic mock from TVF sometime ago, which merged the pips with the 9 o’clock news theme. I’ve often thought about trying that out with the 1 and 6 theme on GarageBand but I’m sadly not that talented!

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