A “reflection of the spaces we share”, BBC One’s new idents celebrate British culture at its finest

In a collaboration between ManvsMachine and BBC Creative, the iconic channel has received a community-focused refresh with a series of familiar and calming British idents.

1 June 2022


What is it about British culture that makes it so… British? There are a few things that spring to mind: the green fields filled with sheep, sitting with a friend on a park bench and going for a pint at the local pub to name a few. In a collaboration between BBC Creative and ManvsMachine, these moments have now been brought to life in a new suite of BBC One idents, each celebrating British culture in all its pint-drinking, park-strolling glory through a calming Venn diagram system.

When responding to the brief set out by the BBC Creative, ManvsMachine needed to show how BBC One “connects a nation”, says the studio. From Eastenders watchers to those who viewed BBC Breakfast in the morning, the idents needed to be universal in the way that it connects each programme and person. Not only this, it also needed to play a vital “mood-shaping role” with the daily broadcast. “They provide a moment of calm between wide-ranging and often contrasting programming,” the studio tells It’s Nice That. BBC Creative adds on the matter: “We needed the idents to fit the atmosphere of the programme that is being announced. For example, you can’t introduce a sombre documentary using the rave in a warehouse ident, and you can’t introduce the final of Strictly Come Dancing with a late-night sweeping ident. We needed lots of options to choose from.”

GalleryManvsMachine x BBC Creative: BBC One (Copyright © ManvsMachine x BBC Creative, 2022)

With a project of this scale, of course there are going to be some challenges. The first was to incorporate the “iconic” letter ‘O’ into the ident series in order for it to fit in with the wider brand. As a result, the “places we share” idea was devised: “presenting a literal cross section of culture by capturing recognisable spaces used by everyone all year round, with an aim of subtly shining a light on joyful moments, human interaction and spells of calm.”

Each scene is shot using cinematic techniques and filters to become a “fly on the wall” that’s “cast through a curated lens”. The locations also play a vital part in the accessibility of the project, so the team made sure to think deeply about the scenes they wanted to feature. To do so, there were a few considerations: “They had to look and feel like anywhere in the UK,” says the studio. Secondly, the team sought to include communal spaces – places “we’d all visited at least once in our lives” – and needed locations that could work with their “gigantic” motion control camera rig. In the end, they set upon 28 different “moods” that not only work well together, are also “juxtaposed” across the seasons and the time of day. “This ensured that no matter which scene we chose as our background ident, they would all work in harmonious chaos,” says ManvsMachine, “a true reflection of the spaces we share.”

On the shooting days, the team had less than 24 hours to capture the scene – from a greasy spoons to an icy lido for eight hours in mid-March. A fast turnaround indeed, this brought its own set of challenges. “Capturing each location within 24 hours meant rapid set changes, expertly crafted prop design and a splash of post-house trickery in order to create a genuine sense of time and place within each scene,” the studio explains. Otherwise, the remaining factors to consider rested in the longevity of the idents as well as the mood. The former was resolved through a timeless design that felt “fresh and satisfying on the hundredth viewing”; the latter was achieved through an “accompanying sound bed” and working with the team at Resonate on the musical score for each ident. “It had to fit the mood,” shares BBC Creative, “match the action we’re seeing and sit beautifully alongside the announcer’s voice.”

GalleryManvsMachine x BBC Creative: BBC One (Copyright © ManvsMachine x BBC Creative, 2022)

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ManvsMachine x BBC Creative: BBC One (Copyright © ManvsMachine x BBC Creative, 2022)

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla is currently covering Jenny as It’s Nice That’s online editor. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.


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