Click for larger image Square World
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Monty Python Announcements
c. 1972
Long before Dead Ringers, the Monty Python team made regular use of spoof continuity announcements. Mostly, the BBC1 globe was used, though BBC2's symbol did appear. In these examples we hear about black bottoms and new sitcoms on BBC1...

Click for larger image EBC1
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Click for larger image The Goodies
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Click for larger image Emu's Broadcasting Company
Click for larger image Rod and Emu pay tribute to BBC1's Christmas pudding ident by making their own mock-up with a real pudding, a record turntable and a plentiful supply of cream. Now in glorious colour with festive EBC1 titles.

Click for larger image Non-TX Christmas ident
For many years it was believed this ident, recovered from the 1979 BBC Christmas tape, was a real version shown in 1974. However it has since been proved that a very different ident was used by BBC1 for Christmas 1974 and this one it appears was made especially for the Christmas tape. The audio is muted, due to Kenny Everett getting a bit naughty!

Click for larger image Brain globe!
We'd now expect to still be seeing a Christmas ident in the final few days of December, but not back in 1984. However, the BBC1 mirror globe did take on an unusual form to present a special edition of Tomorrow's World on 29 December 1984, focussing on optical illusions.

Click for larger image BBC 3 Roland Rat Spoof
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Click for larger image Halley's Comet COW
To introduce special coverage of Halley's Comet in 1986, Presentation thought it would be a novel idea to zoom in on the COW globe and key the spinning world image onto a background of the night sky. Unfortunately, this exposed one of the disadvantages of a fixed animated image - not only does the screen resolution get worse the closer we zoom in on the globe (which, in theory at least, it wouldn't with a model) but we also see a flaw in the layer animation. Namely, on the right hand side of the COW, the golden continents do not fully reach the edge of the blue circle. Still, it was a trick the BBC obviously liked, for the COW would later be zoomed in on for other shows such as Neighbours.

Spitting Image - the COW bites back!
If a BBC ident ever turns up on Spitting Image, you know it's going to be sent up something rotten. And that's exactly what happened in the show's 1987 Christmas special.

Click for larger image The Last Laugh Before TV-am
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My COW does tricks!
And just before we leave the COW, here's a novelty animation featuring the COW globe doing some unusual tricks. This was produced on an Acorn Archimedes, the same computer used to produce the interactive CBBC game "Maggot Moments" in 1992 (which also featured the COW image in an early incarnation). Many thanks to Richard Birch for the clip.

Click for larger image BBC2 Promotion
Click for larger image A spoof of the BBC1 Ident in this BBC2 Promo for Inside Victor Lewis Smith

The Ben Elton Balloons
If your ident is parodied by an entertainer or rival channel, you know it's made an impact. Whether it's made the right impression is not always clear; sometimes TV branding is spoofed because it has proved unpopular. Comedian Ben Elton created six spoof BBC One balloons to introduce his 1998 series "The Ben Elton Show" which also saw the return of Ronnie Corbett's legendary chair monologues. These parodies are laughing with the balloon rather than at it; we present three of them here.

The Ben Elton Balloons

The Ben Elton Balloons

E4 Capoeira Spoof
Channel 4's cable channel E4 were quick to seize upon the unpopularity of the dance idents and mercilessly lampooned three of them - Capoeira, Ballet and Acrobats. The result is far more entertaining than the BBC's idents!

French and Saunders Christmas Show
Comedians French and Saunders became the latest to target BBC One's branding in their 2002 Christmas special. Considering this was a BBC show it's surprising they got away with it! The programme opened parodying Acrobats; "The Extras" become untwined and fall to earth with a bump. At the end of the show "Hip Hop" was sent up to great effect using three grumpy pensioners in scooters. Enjoy!

BBC One Comic Relief
2003 and 2005
Peter Kay, as club boss Brian from Phoenix Nights, joins in the fun with regular Hip Hoppers Ade & co in these spoof idents for Red Nose Day. These clips were re-used for Comic Relief 2005 (without the BBC One logo) and have been released as extras on a Phoenix Nights DVD.

Dead Ringers Christmas Special
The Dead Ringers team can't resist lampooning the BBC One Christmas ident, in what was sadly the only item of spoof continuity in the 2005 Christmas Special.

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