Extended Titles

It’s that Countdown sequence remake I mentioned back in January, when I reworked the 1989 titles. You have doubtless been on the edge of your seats since then, and for that I can only apologise.

And yes, there are some errors in there, but hopefully none so shamefully glaring as previously. It’s an extended cut this time around too, as, for some reason, the original Countdown theme tune was edited down to twenty seconds, despite predecessor Calendar Countdown using a perfectly serviceable thirty second version. I’m using that uncut theme here.

These snazzy CGI titles were introduced in 1987 for the 500th episode special (for the record, we’re fast approaching 8,000 episodes and forty years on air) and lasted just over two years. I’m wondering if they were perhaps saw the teatime game show on the other side – Blockbusters, of course – and decided they too would like a futuristic 7-segment style logotype? While we’re at it, how on earth did Bob manage to get away without a single appearance in Dictionary Corner? He’d probably have been a brilliant host aswell. Perhaps he was just too cool for Countdown.

Though obviously a big visual update back in the day, I was somewhat indifferent to the titles prior to working on this. I can imagine the animation process in the eighties was rather more challenging and laborious than today, and still I found it a pain to get those letters and numbers to fly around into the box. That’s partly why I hit the wall months ago – I just didn’t have a clue how to do it properly! Eventually, after resolving to get it out of the way by hook or by crook, I found a way using a spline and offsetting each letter. But it still doesn’t look quite as elegant as the original, so hats off to YTV and whoever animated this sequence.

  1. It would be fascinating to see how a lot of the title sequences were done “back in the day”. Need to find someone that was there…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Indeed. I’ve heard bits and bobs about certain pieces of CGI presentation – like how Lambie-Nairn had to go to America to render the original Channel 4 idents – but not much about the actual software/hardware that would have been used. It was an exciting time for sure, with all the possibilities coming in with it.

      Tomorrow’s World did a piece on it, complete with the physical model BBC 1 used at the time:

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve still got a Tomorrow’s World book up in the loft.

        It’s good that it isn’t full of 1950’s crazy ideas of flying cars and day trips to the moon.

        It’s a bit more grounded. One day we may be able to watch a film from something the size of a CD, or that one day we might be able to type a question on the home computer and get an answer from an encyclopaedia within minutes.

        Alexa or Siri would blow their minds.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        It’s great looking at stuff like that now. I used to quite like Tomorrow’s World, and How Do They Do That with Des Lynam and co. I remember they did a CGI/special effects sequence where the entire studio flooded and they escaped to the roof of Television Centre, where someone fell off the roof! I was about four and it terrified me! 😄

        Liked by 1 person

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