FROM THE ARCHIVE OF: Dave Baldwin
The opening minutes of the UK’s newest terrestrial TV channel.
[00:00:00] IDENT: the first appearance of the cutting edge ‘4’ ident, designed by Martin Lambie-Nairn.
There was a bit of fine-tuning of the blocks later, to eliminate, for example the slight jumping of the blocks as the ‘4’ logo is about to be formed.
[00:00:14] PROGRAMME: the channel opened with a package of programme highlights, produced by Tim Simmons – accompanied by Fourscore, produced by David Dundas and arranged by Rick Wenworth.
Tim Simmons, senior presentation editor/deputy to head of presentation, Channel 4, 1982 – 1988, commented online about the launch package:
“I had the pleasure and privilege of producing this opening sequence in the hectic weeks before we launched Channel 4. The images all came from a very modest (at that time) collection of programmes in our library, and the music is Fourscore, which was orchestrated and arranged by Rick Wentworth, based on the original four-note Channel 4 theme composed by David Dundas.
“The sequence was edited at Wisemans at 8 Dean Street London, and the editor was Tim Waddell. The entire sequence was created both musically and visually so that it could be broken down into a variety of preset lengths (hence the occasional freezes in the images) so these sequences could be used as commercial break ‘fillers’ because at the time of launch, there were precious few commercials due to a dispute.
“Happy days, the best times, and a memorable part of my career in broadcasting. Thanks to my ex-BBC colleague Pam for believing in me and giving me a job, and to Jeremy, the most inspirational, and supportive Chief Executive I ever had the good fortune to know.”
Tim also commented about the task of creating the channel’s iconic ident:
“The original Channel 4 logo was designed by a lovely man called Martin Lambie-Nairn. The tumbling idents had to be produced in the US – where mega computers were commandeered in downtime and each ident was created frame by frame, and transferred to 35mm film one frame at a time.
“I well remember an occasion when bits of dust got in the way, and left white spots on the black backgrounds. Back in the UK, we had to go through the film frame-by-frame and black out the spots with a black felt tip pen before the film could be transferred to videotape. High technology at its best!”
[00:03:57] IDENT: a still version of the ident introduces Channel 4’s first programme – Countdown.
RELATED ARTICLE: you can see the opening/closing of the first edition of Countdown here.
PICTURED: Channel 4 ident. COPYRIGHT: Channel 4 Television Corporation.