|Launched||5 November 2001|
|Closed||2 January 2009|
|Picture format||576i (16:9 SDTV)|
(at time of closure)
|Freeview||Channel 2 (Wales only)|
|Sky||Channel 102 (Wales)
Channel 991 (Rest of UK)
|Virgin Media||Channel 102 (Wales only)|
BBC 2W was a digital television channel run by the BBC in Wales until January 2009. It replaced the standard BBC Two broadcast on digital services in Wales — running on weekdays from 8.30pm to 10pm.1 Launched on 5 November 2001, it had an initial reach of 1.1 million viewers.2 2W broadcast in English and was aimed at the English-speaking population, unlike S4C, which broadcasts primarily in Welsh. The digital-only service was replaced with a single BBC Two for Wales on 2 January 2009.
The channel name on the Electronic Programme Guide was BBC 2W although outside its broadcast hours the channel was referred to onscreen as BBC Two Wales, using the BBC Two logo. The channel was said to be unpopular with some viewers because of its policy of broadcasting only Welsh-based programmes (including many repeats) during its opt-out hourscitation needed– unlike BBC Two Wales which only opted out for live sport and new programming. The first switchoff of analogue television in the UK, for instance, was controversial because viewers in Llansteffan and Ferryside, whose analogue transmitter was due to be switched off, insisted that BBC Two Wales be left broadcasting in analogue.3
The channel did provide a choice to all other viewers. Viewers on satellite could select a different BBC Two region (but not BBC Two Wales), and viewers on Freeview and cable could switch back to analogue to watch BBC Two Wales, although they were unable to watch the programme in widescreen.
Originally, the channel's news programme was 2W News & Sport, launching with the channel. In 2005, this was replaced by a bulletin of Wales Today, also shown on BBC One. The bulletin, entitled Wales Today on 2W carried the same titles as that on BBC One and was broadcast from the same studio with the same main presenters.
BBC 2W's original ident in 2001 was a bright green design with a stylised spinning cube that could transition directly into a programme menu.4 In 2003, a new set of idents debuted featuring a number of live action sequences where a green BBC 2W logo box is integrated into the scene as a physical object (such as on a beer tap or painted on a garage door), whilst still ending up in the bottom right-hand corner location like the usual BBC Two idents.5
However from 18 February 2007, BBC 2W simply used the standard BBC Two idents with the 2W box. At crossover (when BBC Two Wales became BBC 2W) the boxes alternated between each other during the ident. This alternation also occurred during trailers which advertised programmes during BBC 2W hours.
The BBC closed down BBC 2W in the run-up to digital switchover as part of plans to achieve 3% annual efficiencies at BBC Wales. Digital BBC Two in Wales reverted to the network version, with less frequent regional programmes as is the arrangement on Analogue BBC Two Wales.
BBC 2W was designed to offer "a unique experience unavailable anywhere else with the watchwords of topicality and style, intelligence with an occasional touch of irreverence, shining through" for Welsh audiences.6
- "BBC Wales launches new channel". BBC News Online. British Broadcasting Corp. 2001-10-29.
- "Digital TV for Wales". bbc.co.uk/2w. Retrieved 2007-07-06.
- Report of a Digital Switchover technical trial at Ferryside and Llansteffan (Technical report). Department of Culture, Media and Sport. 2005. p. 25.
- Idents (6) - Regional The TV Room
- Idents (7) - Regional The TV Room
- "BBC 2W to close". Digital Spy. 18 October 2007. Archived from the original on 19 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-18.