‘Can someone explain why BBC One is covered in CSS?’

The BBC has a pair of new bespoke typefaces, Reith Sans and Reith Serif. They’re quite nice.

I’m surprised that no private media organisations have “slammed” the “feckless corporation” for “staggering waste” over this. Or even just taken the piss out of some of the language in the Global Experience Language guidelines, which can be an open goal sometimes. Of course, some say they could have made do with something free from Google. The BBC behemoth must be cut down to size! Actually, the BBC expects to save money compared to licensing off-the-peg typefaces like Gill Sans – so there.

So far, only BBC Sport is using the new fonts. BBC Weather isn’t, despite having been mucked around with1 more recently. We’ll just have to wait.

Searching Twitter for stuff about that, I found something completely different:

Anyone know what causes this? Only on @BBCOne and @BBCTwo. Can't seem to get it to go away. Looks like code of some type. pic.twitter.com/QVODzsJ7cD

— David Jones (@schnuckster) 19 February 2018


CSS is love, CSS is life.

On a more serious note, can someone explain why BBC 1 is covered in CSS? pic.twitter.com/Nv3wQPKFmA

— Adam Brown (@ouchadam) 26 February 2018

The fuck.

The pictures show some minified cascading style sheets, obscuring an FA Cup match, Only Connect, and some other programme a week later. Let me be clear: this is not one of the quite interesting usual examples of source code in TV and films. This isn’t supposed to relate to the plot of the fifth round of the FA Cup. This is, surely, a bug.

Some of the styles in there mention Reith Sans, so we can assume the CSS was written by the BBC. The big flat screen in the bottom image has a Panasonic logo on it, and the other user says he has a Panasonic Blu-ray player which seems to be implicated. It’s known that these modern smart TVs all use bastardised web browsers so cross-platform experiences can be more easily shovelled across platforms. I guess there’s a missing </style> tag somewhere. Apart from that, I have no idea.

It’s an accurate observation that incident reports can be well-written and useful. I would be fascinated to read an incident report about whatever’s happened here.

Update: I missed this other tweet:

Some very unusual HTML / CSS style code appearing across the screen on @BBC channels on @FreeviewTV on @panasonic TV. pic.twitter.com/w2aPlCsbEJ

— Jonny McGuigan (@jonnymcguigan) 26 January 2018

To which a reply suggests the issue is fixed by a downloadable software update … which is thin gruel to anyone without an internet connection, or who hasn’t bothered to connect their television set to the internet.

Somehow I also missed the coverage in the Grimsby Telegraph: The strange Matrix-style coding suddenly appearing on TV sets - and how to fix it. Here’s a forum thread about the phenomenon. a516digital says the problem lies with the BBC’s new HbbTV service – HbbTV being a European standard for “hybrid digital TV”.

  1. “People aren’t happy with the BBC’s big weather redesign” is the most predictable headline. Oh dear. But one crumb of compensation: the northern bit of the landmass now looks proportionately bigger, to the delight of people who live there.