test card gallery

test card f

Test Card F is a test card that was created by the BBC and used on television in the United Kingdom and in countries elsewhere in the world for more than four decades. Like other test cards, it was usually shown while no programmes were being broadcast. It was the first to be transmitted in colour in the UK and the first to feature a person, and has become an iconic British image regularly subject to parody.

The central image on the card shows eight-year-old Carole Hersee (born 1958) playing noughts and crosses with a clown doll, Bubbles the Clown, surrounded by various greyscales and colour test signals needed to ensure a correct picture. It was first broadcast on 2 July 1967 (the day after the first colour pictures appeared to the public on television) on BBC2.

The card was developed by a BBC engineer, George Hersee (1924-2001), father of the girl in the central image. It was frequently broadcast during downtime on BBC1 until that channel went fully 24 hours in November 1997, and on BBC Twountil its downtime was replaced entirely by Pages from Ceefax in 1998, after which it was only seen during engineering work, and was last seen in this role in 1999. The card was also seen on ITV in the 1970s. Test Card J, Test Card W andTest Card X, which are digitally enhanced, widescreen and high definition versions respectively, have replaced it, although they are very infrequently broadcast because the BBC now broadcasts BBC News and promo loops of programmes shown on the channel on its terrestrial channels during downtime. Testcards now only appear during the annual RBS (rebroadcast standby) Test Transmissions and, until 2013, during the BBC HD preview loop, which used Test Card X. 


test card j 

Test Card J is a test card, an image used to determine the quality of a broadcast television picture. It is an updated version ofTest Card F, which was created by BBC engineer George Hersee, and is used to test analogue television signals. It first appeared in November 1999.

The centre picture in Test Card J is a new version of the picture at the centre of Test Card F, rescanned from the original transparency, to make the colours in the image look more accurate. The centre picture was also re-aligned within Test Card J to put the cross on the noughts and crosses board at the exact centre of the screen, where it was originally intended.

A green square at the top of the screen, which does not appear in Test Card F, is used within Test Card J to facilitate an easier observation of chrominance to luminance delay.

The negative black squares in the left hand step pattern should flash on and off at 1 Hz. This is to aid in the detection of frozen digital links. 

test card w - widescreen

Test Card W is a test card, an image used to determine the quality of a broadcast television picture. It is an updated 16:9 (1.78:1) widescreen version of Test Card F, which was created by BBC engineer George Hersee. Test Card W is similar to Test Card J, the latter being a 4:3 version. Both appeared for the first time in November 1999.

The colour-bars on the top and right of the image are the full 100 percent saturation version, unlike Test Cards F and J which use the 95 percent type. Extra mirrored arrow-heads on the central axis at the sides mark the positions of the middle 4:3 and 14:9 sections of the image.

As television is usually broadcast 24 hours a day, the test card is now rarely used. The last known occasion that this card was broadcast on British screens was Friday 9 January 2004, when early morning tests were carried out on BBC One and BBC Two. BBC Two still closes every weekday morning between 4.00 and 6.00 and during Educational Holidays, but pages from Ceefax rather than test cards are broadcast on these occasions.

On Freeview in the United Kingdom, Test Card W can be viewed at any time on most Freeview boxes. 

You can display the test card on any reasonably new Freeview receiver using the following steps. Note that some older set top boxes do not fully conform with the specifications and may be unable to access this service.


1. Tune to the BBCi channel (currently ch. 105) 2. When the BBCi background appears, press Yellow (within 30 secs)
3. Tune away to a different channel - 4. Tune back to the BBCi channel (currently ch. 105)
5. When the BBCi background appears, press Green (within 30 secs) The word 'Secret' will appear in the top right hand corner.
6. Wait until the status page appears - 7. Enter 3, 3, 5, 8, 2, Red, Green, Yellow, Blue
(note "33582" spells out the word "DELTA" on a mobile phone keypad)
8. Wait approximately 30 seconds 9.Test card W will appear



The high-definition version of Test Card W is visually similar but officially lacks a designation letter. This version is often referred to as Test Card X, but this is not a designation which the BBC recognises.  It is designed for use on high-definition TV services, and had been included a part of BBC HD's preview loop since November 2008 (though it had been in use internally at the BBC since several years earlier) until the channel's closure in March 2013. 


This is Sky's attempt to make a Sky HD test card that looks like Test Card F. Myleene Klass replaces Carole Hersee