First Letter First (1993)

Concept and creative process

Don Maclean presented this high-tech word gameshow which demanded speed of mind and hand using a computer keyboard. For the titles of ‘First Letter First’, once the storyboard was approved, Clive Harris had Mike Kelt at Artem make a series of raised letters on approximately 8x8cm tablets. Engineer Tom Palmer assembled them in a staggered sequence on thin rods which were motorised. They were referred to as ‘kebabs’. On the rostrum camera Colin Hancock carefully panned down the set-up while the sticks were turning and filmed it against overlay blue. In the BBC Quantel Harry suite, Malcolm Dalton assembled the title to a specially recorded sound track, animating the type to thread through the maze of ‘kebabs’ and assembling the logo on overlay blue so that it could be keyed over the studio shot.