BBC Licence-Payers Foot Bill for £700K Image Makover

27 March 2002

The BBC1 world globe logo – a station identification first aired in 1964 and familiar in several variant guises (most recently as an orange hot-air balloon) to fifty million British TV viewers – will fade to black starting Friday.

In its stead will appear a new politically pristine ident, part of a £700,000 ($997.52k; €1140.04k) image makeover, designed by branding guru Martin Lambie-Nairn to symbolise “the cultural diversity and vibrancy of BBC1 and Britain”. This end is to be achieved via eight ‘multicultural’ representations featuring ethnically diverse and disabled dancers.

From Easter Friday, BBC1 programmes will be linked by depictions of wheelchair-bound, black basketball players dancing to rap music, Brazilian capoeira [a system of physical discipline and movement originating among slaves, now practised as a martial art and dance form] and, for good measure, Welsh rugby players performing the Maori Haka challenge.

All are filmed against recognisably British backgrounds such as the cliff-top Minack Theatre in Cornwall, and all flaunt BBC1’s new signature colour, red, to harmonise with its new red and white logo.

Explains BBC1 controller Lorraine Heggessey: “When we first appropriated the globe, the BBC was the only global broadcaster and it was a symbol of what we stood for. I want to represent the diversity and totality of Britain, and that includes nations, regions, different ethnicities and the disabled. There are various sections of society that feel shut out. I don’t want them to feel shut out.”

The usual charges of political correctness have been fired at the BBC, although some media observers feel the salvo might more appropriately have been directed at the Beeb's profligacy with licence-payers’ funds.

Heggessey denies that abandonment of the world famous globe is a rebranding snafu on a par with British Airways’ dumping of its Union Flag tailfins in favour of ‘ethnic’ designs – a multimillion pound mistake that has recently and expensively been rectified.

Data sourced from: and The Times (London); additional content by WARC staff