625: Andrew Wiseman's Television Room (2K)
625 - Right to Reply

Right to Reply:

Created  Tu 2-Dec-98
Revised  Mo 15-Jul-02

Digital viewers and viewers living in the US are already familiar with bugs or "DOGs" - permanent logos that tell you which channel you are watching. These DOGs are now invading more channels - Channel 4's T4 strand and the BBC's digital services were the latest to fall victim back in 1998. In November that year I filmed an item for Right to Reply on behalf of all of us viewers who are fed up with this electronic pollution. Shortly after this film was aired, the BBC removed the DOGs from its digital channels BBC One, BBC Two and BBC Choice. A victory for viewer power!

Thanks to Rob Sedgebeer for the images and the RealVideo.

From Right to Reply shown on C4 on Sa 21-Nov-98 at 18:30, repeated Fr 27-Nov-98 at 05:25
and shown on S4C on Mo 23-Nov-98 at 12:00

Copyright © 1998 Channel 4 Television Corporation.



Roger Bolton


Presenter, Roger Bolton (4K)


Last Sunday, the latest digital broadcaster, ONdigital, launched a new service of 30 channels. Television viewers entering the digital age will discover a whole new world of Electronic Programme Guides or on-screen menus to help them navigate the multitude of channels.

But broadcasters are worried that we won't know which channel we're watching when there are hundreds to choose from. In an attempt to make sure we remember, some are permanently displaying their logos on screen.

These logos are called DOGs, digitally originated graphics. Andrew Wiseman is just one viewer who wants their mess cleaned up.

Andrew to camera and voiceovers...

Many viewers are animal lovers, but like me just can't stand DOGs. Not our four-legged friends you understand, but those permanent, annoying on-screen logos that are popping up all over the place.

Spot the DOG! (2K)

Broadcasters say we have to have them so we know which channel we're watching. Very useful when you're channel surfing, they say. DOGs, they say, are particularly useful for digital TV, when potentially hundreds of channels will be available.

You don't need DOGs on digital when you have an EPG (6K)

Rubbish! When you change channel on a digital television, an on-screen display tells you exactly which channel you're watching. This information can be brought back on screen at any time at the touch of a button. So we don't need a constant reminder as though we have the memory of a goldfish. Do broadcasters think we're too stupid to use this information?

* Insert SOUND F/X: Dog bark

I'm not the only one who finds DOGs* intrusive. Channel 5, the first terrestrial channel to have a permanent on-screen logo, toned down the intensity of its DOG in the wake of a wave of viewers' complaints.

CLIP: The Jack Docherty Show C5 1/4/97 showing Jack cleaning the logo from the screen.

"If anyone at home has any traditional folk remedies
for removing Channel 5 logos,
don't write in - it was just a joke!"

The Jack Docherty Show, C5 1st April 1997 (4K)


Glynn Brailsford

Glyn Brailsford, Controller of Creative Services C5 (5K)  

Glynn Brailsford
Controller of Creative Services C5

We tweaked it - we reduced the intensity of it within probably two weeks of being on air and more or less left it at that. And just gauging, quite honestly, on viewer complaints, they've just ceased now; they were very few. I think I can honestly say that. And I think it's accepted as part of the landscape.

We love our DOG and take great care of it. And we wouldn't like to see it put down.


It was viewer power that forced Sky to completely remove DOGs from its movie channels.

Similarly, the reason that Channel 4 is relatively bug-free is that viewers forced it to rethink its branding plans when a logo was run overnight, much to viewers' disgust. That's why its new digital channel, FilmFour, was launched without a DOG at all.

Movies are DOG-less on Sky's movie channels (3K)
Channel 4 is relatively bug-free (Bug is another term for DOG) (2K)


Steve White

Steve White, Head of Presentation C4 (5K)

Steve White
Head of Presentation C4

People that have subscribed to FilmFour who particularly want to see a two-hour film uncut as if they were in the cinema certainly think it's reasonable not to include a DOG on the film. It's fair that they see the film as it was meant to be.

In an ideal world we wouldn't have had any DOGs at all. I don't like them personally, and I don't think that viewers do.

However, as a way of identifying channels, certainly with the introduction of satellite, it was seen to be the way that new channels could establish that they were there and that you didn't have to wait half an hour or an hour for the next programme to find out what channel you were on.


But one C4 Commissioning Editor has become a DOG breeder on Sunday mornings, much to the annoyance of many viewers - especially fans of The Waltons.


Why does T4 have a DOG?


Andi Peters

Andi Peters
Commissioning Editor
Children and Young People C4

T4 has a DOG because I felt it was necessary that the whole output of T4 programmes be branded.

Andi Peters, Commissioning Editor Children and Young People C4 (6K)

In this day and age it's possible to see a programme, for instance like Sister, Sister five times in one day on three different channels.

Therefore it's essential that when people watch Sister Sister on Channel 4, T4, they know it's Channel 4 that they're watching. And that might make them stay and think "I'll keep watching because of what will come next".


Are you surprised that viewers have complained?

Viewers have complained about the DOG in The Waltons (5K)

Approximately one hundred people have complained. On average the shows are getting... a lot more than that! I knew people would complain, especially Waltons viewers and as a special thing for Waltons viewers, I am in the process... I have commissioned the DOG to change to a sepia-coloured DOG.

I don't have a problem with DOGs.


So you won't be putting the DOG down then?


It's on four legs and it's going to stay there.

Andrew sums up to camera

DOGs' mess: it's time for a clean-up campaign (5K)  

If broadcasters are going to insist on using DOGs, then at least let them be subtle and unintrusive as possible not like the BBC's digital TV DOGs. For the Beeb, widescreen doesn't mean bigger picture, it means longer DOGs.

These DOGs are leaving longer and longer trails of excrement across our TV screens. I think it's time for a clean-up campaign. Technology can already tell us what we're watching. It's up to the broadcasters to make their channels distinctive with quality programmes, not designer labels.


The BBC confirmed that it has had a large number of complaints about the logo on its digital channels and is having a rethink.

Roger Bolton: the BBC is having a rethink (3K)


Watch the video!

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Behind The Scenes


The interview with Glynn Brailsford at Channel 5 took place in the presentation area. We had to keep silent during programme junctions so that the operators could work the desk and direct the announcer through the glass in the next room. We also filmed one of the operators pushing a button on the DOG generator box, but this was cut from broadcast piece.


You may have noticed that Andi Peters appears to have chopsticks sticking out of his shirt pocket. During the interview he presented them to me, although this was not shown when the item aired. The other ends had T4 logos attached, one smaller than the other, and they were designed to demonstrate how much smaller the new logo would now appear on screen. (Not very much!) These logo lollipops were put together for him by an assistant floor manager on T4.

Andi Peters has a present in his pocket (4K)

As well as Andi Peters' T4 chopsticks, I also got to take home the joke dog's pooh that was used in the final scene. One of the most common questions I get asked about Right to Reply is whether viewers were paid to appear. The answer is no. But with dog's pooh and chopsticks on offer, who needs money (!).

Links to anti-DOG Web Sites
>> The UK Campaign for Logo-Free TV web site documents the DOGs and lobbies the broadcasters and MPs to try to get rid of them. It also links to similar sites and on-line petitions.

I have also written a page about the subject here at DOG Watch!.

Other Right to Reply pages at this site...

Full Contents Channel 5 Preview Channel 5 Reception PDC Widescreen DOGs Branding Future TV

625 TV Logos Programme Delivery Control Explained Public Information Films Channel 5 Invasion of the Web Snatchers Digital TV - Beyond the Hype
TV Room TV Logos PDC
PIFs Channel 5 Web
Digital TV


625: Andrew Wiseman's Television Room (2K)