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Did the BBC 2 Test Card ever have the 1986 "TWO" ident?

MM
MMcG198 UTV Newsline
The stripey BBC2 logo was going out as late as 1991?


Yes. Not sure why they didn't bother to replace it. Perhaps the lack of 'BBC' branding on the channel logo of the time. But if that arrangement was good enough for most of the OSP during that era, can't see why it posed such an issue for the test card. The test card generally only went out early in the morning in those days, so perhaps finding a bit of budget to update the caption generator kit wasn't considered a priority.

Towards the end of the 80s, TCF also replaced the minimalist black screen + 'OU' text holding screen used prior to and following early morning weekday OU broadcasts. In fact, here's a burst of TCF from OU Con in April 1990 (stripy 'BBC2' included):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjM2WYlfDMg

Although the VHS tape here is quite ropy, the picture roll you see just after TCF is faded to black is the switch from OU Con to N2Con.
Last edited by MMcG198 on 27 July 2020 5:35pm - 2 times in total
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BH
BillyH Founding member London London
Surprisingly yes, here’s an example from 1990:


A few rather dubious uploads include a closedown from 1997 which appears to cut to the same version of the card (but the VHS tracking is different, indicating it’s a different recording) and one odd one where someone’s inserted what looks like themselves over the picture of Carole and Bubbles, neither seeming genuine.
Member since 26 May 2001
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
I'm sure that's not what I remember seeing, would that programme even still have been repeated by the early 90s? Though I know OU programmes were repeated for years, so it's possible. I'm just guessing my mind's fabricated something I never actually saw.


I know the feeling. YouTube has been great for examples of bonafide presentation material. But there's also nuisance value with some "mocks" that aren't an accurate representation of reality - and sometimes these images linger in our minds and confuse us.

But, from my own archive, there was no alternative version to the stripy 'BBC2' logo on that channel's test card, from Mar 1986 - Feb 1991, that I've ever seen. Nor have I ever seen anything different transmitted live. That's not to say a different version didn't ever air - but if it did, I can only surmise that it would've been short-term or a one-off.


The BBC1 Test Card was updated with the COW's logo in around 1989. I find it strange that they would not have also done the BBC2 version at the same time. I'm sure I remember seeing such a version at the time, although maybe I'm mixing it up with the OU symbol which had a monochrome version of the TWO.
Write that down in your copybook now.
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
I have a recording of a BBC1 closedown from 1993 where after a minute or two of black screen and GLITS tone, it cuts to TCF with a continuous tone. I'm presuming this would have been a BBC Select night, which is why that happens rather than the transmitters being turned off. The recording ends after a couple of minutes, so no BBC Select ident or encrypted goodness, sadly.

Speaking of BBC select, I wonder if someone with a recoding of one of their encrypted broadcasts could decode it? I imagine it's probably pretty easy to crack and decode it with today's technology.
WM
WMD Meridian (Thames Valley) South Today
I do vaguely recall this, but I’m not sure this clip is legit...

https://youtu.be/48nvjatSFdY
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
I know the feeling. YouTube has been great for examples of bonafide presentation material. But there's also nuisance value with some "mocks" that aren't an accurate representation of reality - and sometimes these images linger in our minds and confuse us.


Me memory of it well predates YouTube, cwilliams and the likes, I think I first asked this question not long after I first found the TV pres sites in the early 00s! The memory is a fickle thing though, how often do we have memories of a TV show or film, then see it again to find it was completely different to how we remembered?
MM
MMcG198 UTV Newsline
The BBC1 Test Card was updated with the COW's logo in around 1989. I find it strange that they would not have also done the BBC2 version at the same time. I'm sure I remember seeing such a version at the time, although maybe I'm mixing it up with the OU symbol which had a monochrome version of the TWO.


The COW 'BBC1' logo was in place on the test card long before that. I have a recording in the archive - from May 1985 IIRC - and the new logo was present on TCF. Can't recall if I have any recordings between Feb and May - but my hazy memory suggests they updated the BBC One test card with the new logo quite quickly in 1985.

This article contains stills of TCF from this period, with dates:

https://cleanfeed.thetvroom.com/3528/features/the-history-of-the-bbc-trade-test-transmission/

WMD posted:
I do vaguely recall this, but I’m not sure this clip is legit...

https://youtu.be/48nvjatSFdY


The clip is a mock.
JA
JAS84 Yorkshire Look North (E.Yorks & Lincs)
If BBC1's testcard was updated in '85, that explains why BBC Two's wasn't updated with it - their logo was still correct at the time.
MM
MMcG198 UTV Newsline
I have a recording of a BBC1 closedown from 1993 where after a minute or two of black screen and GLITS tone, it cuts to TCF with a continuous tone. I'm presuming this would have been a BBC Select night, which is why that happens rather than the transmitters being turned off..


Yes, this will have been BBC Select or overnight schools/education, pre-Learning Zone days. TCF (with continuous tone) was radiated on those occasions...with a slight picture/audio glitch when cutting to TCF (not sure where TCF was sourced from in these instances).

Also, if the final programme of the evening (mostly BBC Two) came from OU Con - from the late-80s - TCF and tone was common, until powering off the transmitters a short time later.
JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
Here's the closedown in question, 17th April 1993 according to what I named the file:



Suprised how little test card there is, if my grandparents had set the timer to stop recording one minute sooner, there wouldn't have been any recorded!

I always wish I could have been just a few years older so I could have properly experienced a lot of interesting stuff that happened during downtime first hand (and been able to make my own recordings). It's one of the aspects of TV pres that interests me the most. By the time I was old enough to have been able to get up early enough to see anything (without being ushered back to bed), all we got was around 15 minutes of testcard and tone before Ceefax, and even that ended with in a few years. Still JUST about old enough to remember getting up on weekend mornings and both BBC1 and 2 were off air and showing static, suprising how long BBC channels weren't coming on air at weekends until 7-8AM lasted looking back at it. Reading about all the various test cards, music, ceefax/Oracle, engineering announcements, OU broadcasts, BBC Select, encryption tests, PALPlus tests and other odd stuff that went out in downtime has always fascinated me.
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JA
james-2001 Central (East) East Midlands Today
Also discovered this video I had which I recorded after a Learning Zone weekend closedown in 1998. The tone on the Test Card sounds incredibly strange, so after a while they replace it with music until they've fixed the tone generator, and there's around a minute where the tone plays under the music:



The music didn't abruptly kick in like this at the time, I stopped recording, then started again at some point after the music came on. This is one of only a couple of times I recall ever seeing TCF with music.
MM
MMcG198 UTV Newsline
Here's the closedown in question, 17th April 1993 according to what I named the file:



Suprised how little test card there is, if my grandparents had set the timer to stop recording one minute sooner, there wouldn't have been any recorded!


That's an unusually short period of black and GLITS. BBC One typically ran black + tone for 10 mins, before shortening it to 2 mins in later years. Was this clip edited by any chance?

In the 90s, even when there was no BBC Select/education later in the night, it was common to see a brief burst of TCF - following the usual black + tone - just before the video signal to the transmitters was pulled.

I always wish I could have been just a few years older so I could have properly experienced a lot of interesting stuff that happened during downtime first hand (and been able to make my own recordings). It's one of the aspects of TV pres that interests me the most. By the time I was old enough to have been able to get up early enough to see anything (without being ushered back to bed), all we got was around 15 minutes of testcard and tone before Ceefax, and even that ended with in a few years. Still JUST about old enough to remember getting up on weekend mornings and both BBC1 and 2 were off air and showing static, suprising how long BBC channels weren't coming on air at weekends until 7-8AM lasted looking back at it. Reading about all the various test cards, music, ceefax/Oracle, engineering announcements, OU broadcasts, BBC Select, encryption tests, PALPlus tests and other odd stuff that went out in downtime has always fascinated me.


The world of TV is very slick now. Back in the day, there was a lot of experimentation, and for the pres anorak, the night hours (and indeed some daytime trade test), was used for engineering tests. For those of us of a certain age, who grew up with mechanical models and pieces of card for idents and captions, it was fascinating to look on as the technology developed. What some of us regarded as breathtaking back in the mid-80s, you can now create on your PC, at a fraction of the cost it took back then.

Were trade test and teletext in-vision is concerned, there were some general procedures over the years - but these were subject to ad hoc adjustments. It's difficult to be very prescriptive about it all. I tried my best to capture the main points in that Clean Feed article. - with input from others. Even writing some of these TVF posts has jogged a couple of memories, and maybe some additional points to add to that article.

And an update re the 'TWO' logo on the BBC Two test card - a friend has just contacted me to say that the 'TWO' logo may well have been used very briefly on the test card, one morning, at Christmas 1988. So there's a little bit of presentation gold that someone might have lurking on a VHS somewhere.

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