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CH4 and S4C Schools Continuity: September 1987-present

On September 14th 1987, Channel 4 took on ITV's responsibility for showing schools programmes, and ITV showcased its new morning programme line-up, with such programmes as "This Morning" and "The Time The Place".

S4C uses/used its own graphics, and occasionally opted out of CH4 programming to show regional Welsh programmes, as HTV did before it.

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Channel 4 and S4C used these graphics up until end-of-term 1992.

The ITV logo used to rotate, and change colour in a very 80s fashion.  The music was always the same, and didn't change periodically, as did the music when the schools' programmes were on ITV. 

Dan McPheat says, "The animated sequences were designed by Jim Stokoe and Jim Chalmers at Central TV, and the songs were 'The Journey' & 'Just A Minute' by James Aldenham, an alias of BBC Golf & Rugby Special maestro and ex-Shadow, Brian Bennett."

This movie shows the logo rotating, and then morphing into the clock.

MPEG available.

The clock music was never changed, either.

The movie shows the clock in action.

MPEG available.

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Here's a picture of an English S4C interval...

...and here's one of its accompanying clock.

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Here's a rather noisy S4C interval preceding a Welsh-language programme. I don't know whether this type was before the above type or after - can you help?

Perhaps this type was used only for Welsh language programmes (or programmes from BBC Cymru, which couldn't be branded 'ITV Schools').

Here's the accompanying clock.

Ysgolion is Welsh for 'Schools' and Ymhen Ychydig means 'Follows Shortly'.

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In the mid 90s the advertising of the fact that schools' programmes were made by ITV companies but just happened to be broadcast on CH4 was deemed unnecessary, and the ITV identification was dropped from independent (with a small 'i') television schools presentation.

This is the final shot from an introductory animation.

They've cleverly incorporated the time-honoured phrase 'for schools' into the name of the thread, '4 Schools'.

This style was introduced in September 1992 or 1993 (can anyone pin down exactly when?) and was designed by Jo Roman. (Alan Jones)

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Here's another final frame of an introductory animation.

At this stage CH4 went back to using interval slides, as in the days when schools programmes were on ITV - but with a difference. A selection of slides was broadcast during each interval instead of just one.

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Here's another slide from the same interval...

....and then a slide told us where the pictures had come from.

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A countdown was still used, but it was deemed less important with the advent of VCRs being in every school.

I imagine it was included partly as a convenience to teachers fast-forwarding through videotape, and partly because they'd always had a countdown!

The countdown was halved though from 1 minute to 30 seconds.

Notice that now each programme has an associated photograph, modernising the presentation from a single clock for all programmes.

Here's another example of a countdown slide.

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With the coming into fashion of real-life idents, Channel Four used this animation which incorporated the 'four circles' identity package of the time.

There were several children, each passing to the next a 'light' which then transformed into a large circle that showed an academic discipline (eg science) in a representative form (as shown here).

The 'circles' CH4 style was designed by Crawford Wilson, an in-house designer at C4 at the time. The Circles were launched in Oct 1996, but the schools version didn't air until Spring Term, January 1997. (Alan Jones)

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This is the final frame of a countdown - there was more than one version.

For the first time, during this era of schools continuity, announcers gave details of the follwing programme (as with 'regular' presentation).

There were no intervals as such, but when time permitted there were short 'documentaries' lasting about 30 seconds.

This one was entitled Worlds of Faith.

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Jumping forwards to September 1999 (and the present), here's a taste of the latest Channel Four style of schools presentation, incorporating Channel Four's 'stripes' look (in 14:9).

Of course, by now most schools have video recorders and are able to show programmes at any time, so the practice of using long interval between programmes in order to settle classes is no longer required.

Schools presentation is still distinct, but has been brought closer to mainstream CH4 presentation.

This slide gives details of a number to ring for further information about a programme.

Is it me or do this girl's fingers look odd?

Here's a still of the end of the countdown. In this countdown, children perform activities that they may be asked to do in school, as the camera pans to the left.

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Here's a still from another variant of the countdown.

And now we present the last round-faced schools clock on British TV: that of S4C. 

The dragon in the centre (in red) forms up at the same time as the red balls bounce into the picture to take their places on the clockface.

The clock can repeat if necessary when all of the red balls are in place.

This is shown in place of the CH4 stripes, but any pamplet or resource announcements are taken straight from CH4.

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Here's the Welsh language version.

Shift-click to download the MPEG, which shows a full circle of dots, the final part of the clock and a BBC Cymru ident.

MPEG available (1 min 26 sec, 1.73Mb).

Here's the fully-formed S4C Dragon at the end of the clock sequence.

You can download the music here (1.46Mb).

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This clock sports a newer S4C logo.

This is shown as an interval ....

...which then changes to this when the programme is just about to start.

There is no continuity announcement.

Click the picture to see a brief MPEG.

This was taken from S4C Digital, and the opting in isn't as professional as it could be, so we've only got a partial clock.  But you can get the picture...

There's a better MPEG above.

MPEG available.

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This is the end of a short animation played at the end of the day's schools programmes.

This says "Back tomorrow 9.30"

This is the same as the above, except it's captioned "Back Monday 9.30"

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Same for this one, except it says "Back Next Term."

There are also English versions of these three available.

Whether or not there's one that says "Back next year" isn't known.


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