Time-Life/Lionheart Television

Compiled by James Fabiano, Daniel Fuentz And Sean Beard

Time-Life Television

A few explanatory notes first:

Time-Life Television was a division of Time Inc. active throughout the Seventies. It was most notable as the US distributor of the BBC's television output including Doctor Who and Monty Python's Flying Circus.

Time Inc. spun it off in 1982 to a HBO/BBC Enterprises joint venture which renamed it Lionheart Television International. The BBC eventually bought Lionheart outright by 1987 making it their North American distribution arm (now called BBC Worldwide Americas).

A totally different company operating as Time-Life Television exists today-as the production unit of Time-Life Video.

Nicknames: "T-L", "Time-Life", "The Time-Life TV Set"

Logo: A white conjoined, slanted TL (with the L connected near the end of the T) zooms into place onto a television-like box with a red/orange screen in the center,trailing itself as it goes ( la the 1978-81 Filmways logo). Once it reaches the screen, it quickly flashes and merges with the box forming the logo. On the bottom of the screen, the phrase "A BBC-TV Production" is seen as the logo completes its formation. This is faded out and the "Distributed By TIME-LIFE TELEVISION" blurb, centered under the logo,takes its place and then fades out completely.

FX: The TL trailing onto the empty shell of the logo and "flashing" into place

Cheesy Factor: Way off the scale, with the dawn-of-the-Seventies logo design,EXTREMELY crude animation and that jingle...!

Music: A shrill Moog synthesizer sounder, which seemingly grows louder and higher in pitch as the logo forms.

Avaliability: Was prevalent throughout the Seventies on BBC programs shown in the US and Canada,but mercifully replaced with the various Lionheart Television or BBC Worldwide logos over the years. [Monty Python's Flying Circus switched distributors completely, with logos for Python (Monty) Pictures Ltd. and Devillier-Donegan Enterprises replacing the Time-Life ID.] Surprisingly, it can still be found on certain Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker episodes of Doctor Who from the Seventies, whose 1972-78 vintage prints are still in use today.

Scare Factor: Nightmare-inducing level, with the jingle and the animation.

Lionheart Televison
1st Logo

Logo: On a plain black background a crude white drawing of a lion holding a winged staff or torch zooms up. From the left side of the picture the words "AN ABC PRODUCTION" fly out. That then flips to reveal:

Distributed by

"Lionheart" is in a stylized font.

FX/Cheesy Factor: A creepy Moog synthesizer intro, the "flipping lion". The "flipping lion" almost looks like it has its tognue sticking out.

Music: A moog synthesizer tune that starts with what sounds like a "winning" sound effect on a slot machine or a video game, which is followed by a fanfare.

Availability: Extinct, usually replaced with the 2nd logo.

Scare Factor: High, has a very creepy Moog synth tune and a terrible look.

2nd Logo

Nicknames: "Lion and Stripe," "The BBC In America"

Logo: Against a black screen, many white dots "dissolve" upwards and form a red and white lion's head. The words "LIONHEART TELEVISION - THE BBC IN AMERICA" appear from the bottom of the screen while a red and white stripe is "drawn" under the lion's head. There is a "V" shaped bend in the stripe at the part below the head.

FX: The lion materializing, the stripe being drawn, flying words.

Cheesy Factor: Simple '80s animation.

Music: None.

Availability: Can still be seen at the end of "Are You Being Served?" However, not every episode has it, not by the usage of the "BBC America Presents" bumper as previously mentioned. If I remember correctly, it is also at the end of "Fawlty Towers" reruns.

Scare Factor: Pretty innocuous. No music and simple animation will probably scare few.

3rd Logo

Logo: A picture of a globe is seen spinning around while parallelograms with the letters "BBC" drop over the globe. Under the "BBC", the words "Lionheart Television" appear with "A British Broadcasting Corporation Company" in small letters underneath.

FX: The /B/B/C/ logo flying into place on the globe; the remaining text fading into place

Music: A variant of the fanfare used in the first logo. Also used the ITC 1986 music on one occasion.

Availability: Rare, but seen a good deal on A&E (Lovejoy, A Touch of Frost, Pole To Pole with Michael Palin) and PBS until the mid-90s; also used to replace the older Lionheart (and Time-Life) logos on reissued BBC library shows (i.e. Fawlty Towers, Good Neighbours, 'Allo,'Allo, To The Manor Born)

Scare Factor: None

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