A Diary of Britain (1979)

Concept and creative process

The opening title design for a BBC Scotland series of documentary films on life in Britain in 1978 between September 10th and December 25th. Designer Alan Jeapes came up with a very cerebral solution and had a stylised map of Britain cut from a rectangular block of stacked white cards. The design of the map was made up of squares, like filled-in graph paper, whereby a mid-blue colour defined the sea and a lighter blue the land mass of the Irish Republic, while Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom remained white. This created a background for the programme title and a succession of dates to be printed in registration in 17 different locations on the map, indicating where the programmes on those particular dates were located. The model was shot single frame in a table top set-up and a change of camera angle from wide to close-up allowed the animation of the cut-out cards to be achieved by painstakingly hand animating each one over 5 frames, which resulted in a pleasing blur and a persistent after-image of the registered dates as they occurred in their different locations.