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BillyH1,328 posts since 4 Jan 2003
London London
When did the majority of CBBC programmes go widescreen? I bought The Demon Headmaster DVDs recently and the third series (1998) of that was 4:3. I know they were doing widescreen broadcasts in 1998 albeit on digital but I dare say the children's strand wasn't going to be a priority for that so it may have been the peaktime programming that had dibs on widescreen production?


Widescreen took a long time to roll out across the BBC (and indeed all channels), and most 1998 shows were 4:3 even after the launch of digital. Demon Headmaster was shown in January so would have been filmed in 1997, when (almost) everything was 4:3.
One of the first series I remember in widescreen was Last of the Summer Wine, in April 1999. BBC News, EastEnders, Top of the Pops etc were all much later.

CBBC presentation went widescreen in September 2001, the start of that odd transitionary few months when presentation and the set were updated but before the big new look with the bugs (& launch of the CBBC Channel/Cbeebies) the following year.
Member since 26 May 2001
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VMPhil9,931 posts since 31 Mar 2005
Granada North West Today
When did the majority of CBBC programmes go widescreen? I bought The Demon Headmaster DVDs recently and the third series (1998) of that was 4:3. I know they were doing widescreen broadcasts in 1998 albeit on digital but I dare say the children's strand wasn't going to be a priority for that so it may have been the peaktime programming that had dibs on widescreen production?


Widescreen took a long time to roll out across the BBC (and indeed all channels), and most 1998 shows were 4:3 even after the launch of digital. Demon Headmaster was shown in January so would have been filmed in 1997, when (almost) everything was 4:3.
One of the first series I remember in widescreen was Last of the Summer Wine, in April 1999. BBC News, EastEnders, Top of the Pops etc were all much later.

CBBC presentation went widescreen in September 2001, the start of that odd transitionary few months when presentation and the set were updated but before the big new look with the bugs (& launch of the CBBC Channel/Cbeebies) the following year.

BBC News 24 was widescreen from the start, but the BBC One & Two national bulletins didn't go widescreen until October 2000 with the launch of Breakfast.


EastEnders went widescreen in September 1999.

Top of the Pops went widescreen comparatively late, only doing so when they moved back to Television Centre in October 2001.
Inspector Sands13,925 posts since 25 Aug 2004

I remember seeing a behind the scenes in pres clip with a monitor labelled "Clean Feed to Nations and CBBC" - presumably the same arrangements used to play programmes from pres into TC9.


What sort of era was that? That's something they didn't have into TC9, at the time I was describing above. It was either tape played from the studio, or straight to air from Pres if it was wide-screen.

I think that might have been part of the solution for going wide-screen.
Last edited by Inspector Sands on 20 July 2019 4:11pm
Inspector Sands13,925 posts since 25 Aug 2004

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkX1WJxccco

What is happening here in this clip from 2002 then?

They lose the studio, after a while finding out they can't go back play out the standby programme of Kenan & Kel, fade that out, go back into The Saturday Show which itself goes into a cartoon.

Is Pres playing out the cartoon, or is that the studio? If it's pres, I wonder why they didn't just play that out instead of Kenan.

Im not sure what the arrangements were at that time - whether they're playing out the programme to the studio or the studio did it. There's no reason why it couldn't be the latter - the Saturday morning shows were considered one programme rather than links between them.


If pres had the cartoon then I suspect the reason they didn't just play it was because it was supposed to be part of the programme, not breakdown filler, it's not their call to play it unless of course the studio asked them to
Inspector Sands13,925 posts since 25 Aug 2004

CBBC presentation went widescreen in September 2001, the start of that odd transitionary few months when presentation and the set were updated but before the big new look with the bugs (& launch of the CBBC Channel/Cbeebies) the following year.

They were widescreen before that, probably as early as 2000, but only for pre-recorded links - so that's everything except the live presentation in the afternoons and school holidays (and stuff for 4:3 channels like Prime)


They were recorded on tape and played out from pres so there was no issue with the aspect ratios, it was technically just like any other junction
Steve in Pudsey10,378 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkX1WJxccco

What is happening here in this clip from 2002 then?

They lose the studio, after a while finding out they can't go back play out the standby programme of Kenan & Kel, fade that out, go back into The Saturday Show which itself goes into a cartoon.

Is Pres playing out the cartoon, or is that the studio? If it's pres, I wonder why they didn't just play that out instead of Kenan.

Im not sure what the arrangements were at that time - whether they're playing out the programme to the studio or the studio did it. There's no reason why it couldn't be the latter - the Saturday morning shows were considered one programme rather than links between them.


If pres had the cartoon then I suspect the reason they didn't just play it was because it was supposed to be part of the programme, not breakdown filler, it's not their call to play it unless of course the studio asked them to

IIRC that was during the period when the Saturday morning shows decamped to Scotland for the summer, so it's quite possible it was being played from a VT machine in Glasgow.
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Steve in Pudsey10,378 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)

I remember seeing a behind the scenes in pres clip with a monitor labelled "Clean Feed to Nations and CBBC" - presumably the same arrangements used to play programmes from pres into TC9.


What sort of era was that? That's something they didn't have into TC9, at the time I was describing above. It was either tape played from the studio, or straight to air from Pres if it was wide-screen.

I think that might have been part of the solution for going wide-screen.

Not sure, but I guess they may have realised that when they introduced the clean feed for the nations they could route the same feed to TC9 and allow them to join programmes via transitions and credit squeezes before NC1/2 took the programme directly.
Write that down in your copybook now.
Inspector Sands13,925 posts since 25 Aug 2004

Not sure, but I guess they may have realised that when they introduced the clean feed for the nations they could route the same feed to TC9 and allow them to join programmes via transitions and credit squeezes before NC1/2 took the programme directly.

That might have been after they left TV Centre. I don't think the suites there had the facility to do an output with the programmes clean. IIRC they had to select the correct source.
Steve Williams2,852 posts since 1 Aug 2008
Widescreen took a long time to roll out across the BBC (and indeed all channels), and most 1998 shows were 4:3 even after the launch of digital. Demon Headmaster was shown in January so would have been filmed in 1997, when (almost) everything was 4:3.
One of the first series I remember in widescreen was Last of the Summer Wine, in April 1999. BBC News, EastEnders, Top of the Pops etc were all much later.


Most primetime shows went to widescreen in the autumn of 1998 to coincide with the arrival of Sky Digital and ONDigital - loads of shows moved to widescreen when they came back for a new series that autumn, including Watchdog, HIGNFY, Buzzcocks and Noel's House Party (of course, there was that Saturday in March 1998 when the Generation Game, House Party and the lottery all went out in 14:9 on analogue as an experiment) and from then on pretty much all new drama, comedy and entertainment was in widescreen.

Blue Peter went widescreen after its summer break in 1999, as you say the news followed in October 2000 and Pops was very late (thanks to it using ancient facilities in Elstree and it swapping footage with its international versions) in October 2001. And of course Parkinson never went to widescreen before it ended on the Beeb in 2004.
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PFMC841,612 posts since 28 Feb 2013
UTV Newsline
Widescreen took a long time to roll out across the BBC (and indeed all channels), and most 1998 shows were 4:3 even after the launch of digital. Demon Headmaster was shown in January so would have been filmed in 1997, when (almost) everything was 4:3.
One of the first series I remember in widescreen was Last of the Summer Wine, in April 1999. BBC News, EastEnders, Top of the Pops etc were all much later.


Most primetime shows went to widescreen in the autumn of 1998 to coincide with the arrival of Sky Digital and ONDigital - loads of shows moved to widescreen when they came back for a new series that autumn, including Watchdog, HIGNFY, Buzzcocks and Noel's House Party (of course, there was that Saturday in March 1998 when the Generation Game, House Party and the lottery all went out in 14:9 on analogue as an experiment) and from then on pretty much all new drama, comedy and entertainment was in widescreen.

Blue Peter went widescreen after its summer break in 1999, as you say the news followed in October 2000 and Pops was very late (thanks to it using ancient facilities in Elstree and it swapping footage with its international versions) in October 2001. And of course Parkinson never went to widescreen before it ended on the Beeb in 2004.
Red Dwarf was filmed in 1998 but broadcast in 1999 and stayed 4:3 also.