TV to have ‘all-seeing’ eyes as trade mark 

26 August 2020

The 'all-seeing' eye


Birmingham Gazette masthead

From the Birmingham Gazette for 2 December 1953

TELEVISION is to have its own “trade mark.” Viewers will see it for the first time this evening.

The new symbol is as modern as the medium it represents. It is an abstract pattern consisting of two intersecting eyes which scan the globe from north to south and from east to west.

Flashes of lightning on either side represent electrical forces and fan out in two wings to suggest the creative forces of television.

Designer of the “all-seeing eyes” is Mr. Abram Games, of Hampstead, London. Another of his designs was the helmeted head of a star which was used as a symbol of the Festival of Britain.


Festival of Britain programme cover


The TV “trade mark” has been modelled in three-dimensional form so that viewers will not see merely a static design but a “mobile” which can move in an animated pattern.

The symbol has been developed in such a way that it can be used for colour television.



❛❛Russ J Graham writes: A lot of people got into broadcasting history by having a television ident make an impression on them as a small child. Usually this impression was one of fear – the stories of people seeing the ATV shadowed-eye as a wasp, or being terrified by the doom-laden ‘On Ilkla Moor Baht’at!’ ident music of Yorkshire Television abound.

BBC crest

BBC coat of arms, used as the main symbol of BBCtv until December 1953

But here it is: the original terrifying symbol. Since nicknamed ‘the bat’s wings’, it makes its debut as ‘the all-seeing eyes’ – a metaphor seemingly designed to strike terror into viewers.

Intriguing is the idea that it has been designed so that it can be used for colour television. This is hard to fathom: the model fell apart after being filmed, so it couldn’t be re-done for colour. Was colour supposed to be added somehow? If so, where? The yellow-on-blue chromakey style of colour idents of the 1970s surely wouldn’t work, would it?

It’s also worth noting that this is the symbol for television. Yes, there’s only one television channel at this point, but the BBC is already arguing for another and parliament is debating a competing commercial system. But this seems to have been the plan – a symbol for all television, for all time.


Courtesy of bbctim123


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