Discovering Portuguese (1987)

Concept and creative process

For 'Discovering Portuguese', a series about the language, people and culture of Portugal, Anne Smith (now Kelt) identified the ubiquitous blue and white ceramic tile as the standout image of the country. She used the idea of a wall of tiles, depicting drawn scenes in the traditional blue and white of Portuguese tiles, and split the screen into 30 squares. This became the canvas on which the scenario for the title sequence played out, as the montage of still or moving images developed. The images depicted people, artisans, landscapes and buildings, culminating in the actual title logo for the programme, a tiled ceramic plaque, made to the designer's design by artisans in Lisbon. The titles for the series were created in the BBC Electronic Workshop, where each image was rendered to look as if painted in blue on tiles. Additionally, a small section of each whole mosaic image was replaced by the clean photograph or film on which the rendering effect was based. This technique cleverly rooted the images in the reality of the modern country, while harking back to its culture through the medium of the blue and white tiles.

More Information