BBC1 ident was finally overhauled and relaunched at 7pm on Monday 18 February 1985, with COW - Computer Originated World. Originally it was planned to appear on 1st January 1985 however Michael Grade deferred the change to coincide with radical schedule changes planned for BBC1.
The BBC1's mirror globe had been on screen since the beginning of colour and over the course of Fifteen years, TV technology had advanced rapidly and by 1982 it was the only mechanical symbol still in use, which also required frequent re-calibration. Work on the COW began in 1983 and was a mammoth task combining the efforts of BBC Computer Graphics, Graphic Design and the Designs Departments. The COW was generated by a black box containing several circuitboards. Each board carried one layer of the animation - the BBC1 logo, blue background etc. The output had an aspect ratio of 5:4 and was cropped for transmission (and you thought cropping was a new phenomenon!) The end result was a stunning, 3D revolving world image that was fully anti-aliased. Even today it's hard to believe the COW was not a model. Oliver Elmes designed the new graphics; six years earlier he created the design for BBC2's electronic ident. This page has a full account of how the COW was brought to life. Warning - very technical! http://www.bbceng.info/Designs/designs_technology/new_world.htm.