11 Nostalgic BBC Christmas Idents That Will Give You A Festive Glow

As BBC One puts its on-screen decorations up, we're looking back on the channel's best-ever festive visual identities.

In another sign that Christmas is just around the corner, the BBC has unveiled their trademark festive ident for 2022.

This year’s offering features characters from the forthcoming The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse animation, which is at the heart of BBC One’s schedule this Christmas Day.

As much as we love it, it got us thinking about the iconic idents of BBC Christmas past, so prepare to revisit festive seasons past with 11 of the best there’s been...

2000 – Christmas Balloon

Around the turn of the millennium, the red and orange balloon was BBC One’s trademark identity, and it would be seen in various locations in idents used between 1997 and 2002.

In 2000, Santa was left in charge of piloting the balloon in a specially commissioned Christmas ident, using it instead of his sleigh to deliver presents.

2015 – Sprout Boy

In 2015, the BBC told the story of Sprout Boy, who – as an unloved vegetable – went in search of people to love him, only to stumble upon an all-star gathering of BBC celebs where he was welcomed with open arms.

The short GCI story was narrated by the then-Doctor Peter Capaldi, and saw the likes of Claudia Winkleman, Idris Elba, June Brown, Mary Berry and Benedict Cumberbatch reimagined as animated characters.

1993 – Singalong With The Stars

OK, so the actual 1993 ident in itself was pretty boring – it just featured an icy figure ‘1’ is in a snowy landscape, with two polar bears and Santa flying above it.

However, that year also saw perhaps the BBC’s campest-ever festive marketing campaign, which featured a host of the channel’s biggest stars at the time including Linda Robson, Pauline Quirke, Bruce Forsyth and Mr Blobby singing along to a specially composed song to showcase all the shows on that year.

Altogether now, “Ding-dang, ding-dong, shing-a-ling-a-ding-dong!”

2007 – Penguins

The BBC caught Happy Feet fever in 2007 when they introduced us to their own penguins who skated around a Romford ice rink for their Christmas ident.

It actually proved to be so popular that the BBC later repurposed the ident for use outside of the festive season by removing the Christmas tree, airing it during the winter period up until 2016.

2001 – Christmas Toys

The BBC have a long-standing relationship with Aardman Animations, with the Wallace And Gromit creators making a number of idents over the years – not least 2021’s offering.

Their earliest one came in 2001, when three toys took centre stage in the Christmas ads that were all connected to the festive schedule.

They included a dog to represent the network premiere of Toy Story, a dinosaur to showcase that year’s flagship drama The Lost World, and a Reliant Robin van to signal the comeback of Only Fools and Horses, while the BBC balloon could also be seen through the window.

2017 – The Supporting Act

The BBC commissioned a special festive film in 2017, from which that year’s idents were taken from.

The Supporting Act told the story of a schoolgirl attempting to capture her father’s attention by practicing a dance routine for an upcoming school talent show and was set to that year’s huge chart hit Symphony by Clean Bandit and Zara Larsson.

2002 – Snowflakes

After BBC One did away with the balloon, they had scope to create something completely different for their festive idents in 2002.

The end result was this cute little clip, which saw young children running around a winter landscape dressed as adorable snowflakes.

For the first time in BBC One’s history, the ident was reused the following year, which prompted a wave of complaints.

2004 – Christmas Puddings

Following the outrage over the reuse of the Snowflake idents in 2003, the BBC came out swinging (or should that be bouncing?) the next year with one of their most memorable efforts ever, which was actually designed by a Blue Peter competition winner.

It saw a group of children dressed in red and bouncing on Space Hoppers that looked like Christmas puddings and featured a festive remix of what was the BBC One theme music at the time.

2011 – Consider Yourself

Ten years ago, the BBC did a fresh take on their 1993 sing-along when their idents featured a host of celebrities belting out Consider Yourself (from the musical, Oliver) at a Christmas party, before all coming together in a snowy landscape with carol singers and sledgers gathering round them.

Among the stars were Bruce Forsyth, Tess Daly, Graham Norton, Matt Smith, the kids from Outnumbered, Alex Jones, Lenny Henry, Anne Robinson and June Brown, which was quite the eclectic line-up.

2009 – Doctor Who

Doctor Who was at the peak of its popularity in 2009, and after it was announced David Tennant would be vacating the Tardis to make way for Matt Smith, the BBC decided to mark the tenth Doctor’s departure by making him the star of their Christmas idents.

It saw the Doctor walking through a snowy forest, and using reindeers to pull his Tardis out of the snow to use as a sleigh.

2021 – Shaun The Sheep

Last year’s idents featured the characters of the beloved Aardman Animation series Shaun The Sheep, whose festive special was a big hitter in BBC One’s schedule on Christmas Day.


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