In January 1993 Channel 4 became independent from ITV (due to changes in the Broadcasting Act). ITV companies still supplied schools programmes but the ITV Schools Education Officers (based at each regional station) were no more. As a result teachers requiring programme support material had to contact the newly formed organisation that was the Educational Television Company (ETC), which was the same as ITV Schools 1987 - 1992 but now a seperate company.

While ITV was no longer the sole controlling operator of Channel 4 Schools, it still had an obligation to provide continuity, programmes and material until September 1993. Popular programmes were promised to be further developed as well as new programmes from both ITV and, for the first time, independent companies.

Another major change to the service was the presentation and continuity between programmes. The sophisticated 3D ITV Schools logos still continued into 1993, however they were cut (some roughly) down to smaller segments. It also set a benchmark that signalled the end of long continuity segments (perhaps to increase programme output). The brief remaining time using the "3D Holding Device" saw it used with junctions up to one minute. The 09:25 - 09:28 holding slide / animation was mothballed and replaced with adverts. A customised forty second introduction was created using the 3D ITV Schools on Channel 4 clock (somewhat unpolished).

Channel 4’s new continuity was a thirty second junction. Six minute continuity was a thing of the past. New presentation incorporated new age style theme music with fluidic atmospheric video junctions.

Understanding The Junction - At A Glance
Designer: Jo Roman (Channel 4 in-house)
Sequences: 1x 10 second opening junction &rarr 1x 30 seconds (max) countdown &rarr 1x 10 second closing junction
Running: September 1993 - June 1997


Opening / Closing Sequence Example - Flight
Image 1/2: Icarus, Image 3: Amelia Earhart, Image 4: Neil Armstrong (assumed)


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Opening / Closing Sequence Example - People
Image 1: The Black Prince (?), Image 2: Mary Seacole, Image 3/4: Beethoven


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Opening / Closing Sequence Example - People
Image 1: A young Sitting Bull (?), Image 2: Emmeline Pankhurst, Image 3/4: Mary Queen of Scots


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Countdown - Secondary Schools (Blue)


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Countdown - Primary Schools (Green)


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Gallery (Featuring weekly childrens' art from a selected UK school)


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Teachers' Notes and Contact Details
Image 1: Contact details pre British Telecom (BT) number change from 0... to 01... (before 1995).
Image 2: Teachers' Notes.
Image 3: From 1996 with new website details (and strange URL).
Image 4: ETC rebranded "Channel 4 Schools" along with change to website URL.


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

In October 1996 Channel 4 changed their corporate coloured block logo in favour of a monochromatic look. Branding across the channel changed with the revamped Channel 4 logo enclosed in a circle. Their schools television service presentation was also changed. Structurally, it still maintained opening, countdown and closing sequences but static screens from the previous era were replaced with children.

From January 1997 (Winter term) a new look featuring children in live motion was adopted. More effects were also applied to the continuity. Children appeared to touch ‘virtual’ screens where images of an educational nature appeared. Different children and virtual scenes appeared as the countdown progressed. There were numerous junctions made to create variation. Channel 4 enlisted their in-house designer to design the Channel 4 Schools junctions. A young Billie Piper also made her TV debut on Channel 4 Schools (Countdown C first image).

Understanding The Junction - At A Glance
Designer: Crawford Wilson (Channel 4 in-house)
Sequences: 1x 10 second opening junction &rarr 1x 30 seconds (max) countdown &rarr 1x 10 second closing junction
Running: January 1997 - April 1999


Opening / Closing Sequence


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Countdown A


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Countdown B


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Countdown C


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Interludes and Teachers' Notes
Image 1: Teachers' Notes with Fax number (1997)
Image 2: Teachers' Notes without Fax number (1999)
Images 3 & 4: Interludes (programme trailers or short films)


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Up until 1996 Channel 4 Schools continued to use ITV Schools programmes. Many were revamped but continued to use the same title for example, How We Used To Live and Stop, Look, Listen, to name but a few. Many independent production companies were now supplying the programmes. Programme durations continued to range from 10 minutes to 20 minutes.

Suffice it to say that by now most schools had a modern video recorder. From the second half of the nineties, a new home video technology known as Programme Delivery Control (PDC) was being implemented in video recorders. Schools with PDC equipment were at an advantage escpecially if daytime programmes were affected by unforseen circumstances. Prime Minister speeches from 1993 introduced a rare appearance of night-time programming to repeat programmes displaced by speeches. By 1996 Channel 4 Schools ran regularly overnight (usually from 4am - 6am). Little understood at this time but overnight broadcasts were to set another benchmark that, years from this point, would eventually end daytime schools television!

When the 9:00am - 9:30am slot was occupied by an episode of Bewitched during the 1997 - 1999 circles era, a massive power failure during the commercial break knocked out Channel 4 until about 9.07am. The few minutes of interruption that morning delayed the start of Channel 4 Schools until around 9:35am. To facilitate the miss-timings select countdowns were cut to a minimum, where they had otherwise been scheduled differently (10 second breathless intros into programmes).

Remarkably, timings got back to normal by about mid-morning (10:30am - 11:00am). Schools with PDC did not miss out due to taping the programmes to cope with the overrun (PDC automatically controls the video recorder based on a programme's PDC number at the point it is transmitted).


In April 1999 (Spring term) Channel 4 changed their corporate look. The circle era was replaced with the square era and so Channel 4 Schools also changed.

The thirty second junctions were still maintained, however, the ten second opening and closing sequences used in the 1993 - 1999 era were dropped. Child actors/actresses still conveyed images of curricular activities. Two versions of the theme tune and thirty second countdowns were produced. However, the biggest change was still to come, not in the images or thirty second countdowns but the actual branding!

Understanding The Junction - At A Glance
Designer: UNKNOWN (Presumed Channel 4 in-house)
Sequence: 1x 30 seconds (max) countdown
Running: April 1999 - April 2000


Countdown A


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Countdown B


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image

Interludes and Teachers' Notes
Images 1 & 2: Teachers' notes containing the support website URL "www.channel4.com/schools" (1999)
Image 3: Change on the way with a new support URL "http://learning.channel4.com" (Summer term 2000)


Click for larger image Click for larger image Click for larger image