In 2001 the BBC gave branding agency Lambie-Nairn a daunting brief: create a new BBC Two presentation package to replace the immensely popular Big 2 idents which had been in service since February 1991. The BBC concluded that the much-loved idents were becoming too out of touch with BBC Two’s new ‘lighter’ schedule. And so in the early hours of Monday 19th November 2001, the curtain came down on the 1991-2001 era.
With little fanfare the new 2s signed on for their first day of service at 6.00am. Fish was the first ident to be shown, accompanied by a simple ‘This is BBC Two’ announcement. From now on the 2 would remain the same colour (ivory) and its antics would always take place in a yellow studio. The BBC Two logo was consigned to a purple box, a look which would soon be copied by the other BBC channels. The trail style remained largely unchanged; programme titles and schedule information were now left-aligned and wrote in a lighter variant of the Gills Sans typeface and the BBC Two box, which remained on screen throughout the trail, was placed in the bottom right corner of the screen. However, the real gems of the new package were the menu-info. A look at Now, Next and Later would appear on the left of the screen whilst in the top right corner an animated robot 2 could be seen. Sadly these menu-info quickly fell out of use and with no stings/animations to use BBC Two presentation quickly lost the variety it had once been famous for.
In contrast to the Big 2s which launched with 11 idents, the Yellow 2s launched with a mere 4 idents. The continuity manager was reported to have complained about the lack of choice available on their launch day. Idents were steadily added to bolster the package with Drip being the first new recruit in February 2002.
Shortly after 3.30am, a special compilation of idents was shown as a tribute – a similar package had been shown on BBC2 Northern Ireland and BBC2 Wales a few hours earlier.