BBC Two is being completely rebranded for the first time in more than 25 years as the channel looks to reinvent itself in the face of threats from streaming services such as Netflix.
The channel’s controller, Patrick Holland, also confirmed BBC Two was working with the Black Mirror creator, Charlie Brooker, to develop new programmes, and revealed Eva Green, Eve Hewson, and Marton Csokas would star in a big-budget adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s Booker prize-winning novel The Luminaries.
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Holland said traditional television channels still had enormous influence and he could offer a “curated channel in an age where you’ve got all of this choice”. But with the average age of a BBC Two viewer now in their 60s, the channel was facing up to the need to reach a younger audience, he said.
The BBC is facing growing pressure from streaming services that are able to outspend it, with the director general, Tony Hall, saying the corporation needed more cash to maintain the current quality of programmes.
BBC Two has already refocused its budget towards its primetime output but Holland said his channel’s ability to broadcast to millions of people on any given evening meant it could still set the tone of the national debate. “Netflix cannot do that, Amazon cannot do that. An ongoing schedule gives you an ongoing dialogue with the audience. I wouldn’t swap that for anything.”
As part of the revamp, BBC Two will on Thursday drop its on-screen identity based around physical representations of the number two, which it has used in various forms since the early 90s. This will be replaced by a series of colourful visualisations based on a simple curve, which the controller said represented the channel’s “constant evolution, constant eclecticism, constant sense of quality”. It is also easier to rework and cheaper to create than the old branding.
Holland said Brooker, whose Black Mirror series recently won an Emmy, was working on new projects. “He’s still working for us. There are things cooking. They haven’t finished cooking yet. They’re still in development,” he said.
Other programmes heading to the channel include Riz Ahmed’s Englistan, which will tell the story of three generations of a British Pakistani family; the “quite pricey” drama MotherFatherSon starring Richard Gere; and a new documentary series charting the rise of Syria’s ruling Assad family.
The controller said he was no longer interested in commissioning celebrity-fronted documentaries, which have clogged up schedules for years. “That sense of being told things by presenters in a traditional way is something we’ve moved on from. When you’re immersed in the story and able to make some connections yourself, it’s more grownup television and more emotionally engaging.”
He also said contestants on University Challenge needed to be aware of the risk of social media abuse before going on the BBC Two quiz show. “The most important aspect of duty of care is talking through all the things that could happen and then it’s their choice whether they want to consent.”
As part of the rebrand Holland is looking to work with Esme Wren, the editor of Newsnight, to “reinvigorate” the current affairs programme and make sure it fits better with the rest of the BBC Two schedule, such as by theming discussions around documentaries.
“My role on BBC2 is to try and make the channel as engaged with the modern world, to make it engaged in the big questions of our time, but to do it in a way that brings extraordinary storytelling to the fore,” he said.
The reinvention of BBC Two continues with the launch of a full set of new idents, beginning on Thursday 27 September, that will refresh the channel's identity for the first time in 20 years.
They are reflective of the channel's commitment to specialism, challenging and complex programming, creativity, alternative outlook and its unorthodox DNA.
Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, says: "We have been working to reinvigorate BBC Two, making it the home of the most urgent documentaries, the most brilliantly crafted dramas, the most mischievous comedies, the most eye-opening history and science. The new channel branding reflects this constantly eclectic and stimulating mix of programming and I am so excited to see it help define this next stage of the channel’s evolution."
At the heart of BBC Two is a channel that is modern, contemporary and always stimulating. These new idents will provide the audience with a visual signifier that will complement the type of programmes on the channel and link the eclectic channel schedule together with seamless transitions between programmes.
The idents are initially made up of 16 different animations created by a range of high-quality British and international animators. The intention is to add to these animations over time. They will include one from Aardman.
The brand refresh was the result of a partnership between the BBC’s in-house agency BBC Creative and brand agency Superunion.
The idents were created through a series of collaborations between some of the best of British animation talent and others from around the world. Collaborators include FutureDeluxe, Aardman, The Mill, Kenneth Robin, Ari Weinkle, David McLeod, Helmut Breineder, Conlan Normington, Kijek and Adamski, and Mainframe.
The channel is also working with a number of high-profile British artists, including sculptural installation artist David Batchelor, to create animations and further details will be announced in due course. BBC Creative Design will also be producing an ident in the near future.
Audio to accompany the animations was created by award winning British composer and sound designer Alex Baranowski. His approach was to use the same two notes which would then evolve and create an atmospheric journey through each animation.
The terrestrial channel has a new look and a new, animated series of idents, created collaboratively between an in-house team and branding consultancy Superunion.
By Sarah Dawood September 26, 2018 5:34 pm
by Kijek and Adamski
BBC Two has been rebranded by the BBC’s in-house design team BBC Creative, alongside design consultancy Superunion.
The new look is centred around a set of 16 new idents for broadcast and digital use, which do away with the previous theme of recreating the number “2” in different forms and materials.
Instead, the new idents – which have been produced by 16 different animators – present different interpretations of a curve shape, mimicking the curve of a number “2”.
The different idents include the curve constructed out of colourful felt fabrics, crystallised stalactites, large bubble shapes, and geometric, wooden blocks.
This new look marks the first major branding change for BBC Two in 20 years, and aims to reflect how the TV channel is “modern, contemporary and stimulating”, with an “eclectic channel schedule”, says the BBC.
The rebrand comes at a time when BBC Two controller, Patrick Holland, says the BBC is “working to reinvigorate BBC Two”, and adding to its programme repertoire.
It currently runs programmes including quiz shows like University Challenge and QI, documentaries, including those by Louis Theroux, history and science programmes, dramas and comedies.
The channel is also allegedly working with Black Mirror writer Charlie Brooker on a new series of programmes, according to The Guardian.
“The new channel branding reflects this constantly eclectic and stimulating mix of programming,” says Holland.
by David McLeod
The 16 idents have been created by animators including: Aardman, FutureDeluxe, The Mill, Kenneth Robin, Ari Weinkle, David McLeod, Helmut Breineder, Conlan Normington, Kijek and Adamski and Mainframe.
Further idents will be created in collaboration with more animators and in-house at BBC Creative, as well as by other artists, including sculptor and installation artist David Batchelor, with the series of idents constantly being “refreshed and expanded”.
The audio for the new idents has been composed by sound designer Alex Barnowski, who has focused on using the same two musical notes that “evolve” to “create an atmospheric journey” for each ident, says the BBC.
The project has been coordinated by BBC Creative’s executive creative director Laurent Simon and creative director Susan Ayton, alongside Superunion’s executive creative director Stuart Radford and creative director Katherina Tudball.
by David McLeod
Simon says: “The BBC offers such a large, public platform for creative expression and exposure. What’s also exciting is that it’s modelled to be iterative, refreshed and expanded by as many collaborators as we see relevant for the audience and channel.”
Radford adds: “Collectively, we’ve developed a new approach to channel identity that… reflects the breadth of emotions evoked by BBC Two’s stimulating content. Our diverse range of idents allows artistic freedom to our collaborators, all unified by the iconic curve of the [number] ‘2’.”
The new BBC Two branding launches on 27 September 2018, and will be seen across broadcast and online platforms, as well as marketing and advertising materials and merchandise.
Last edited by 623058 on 26 September 2018 8:08pm - 2 times in total