Here's a nice little BBC video article about the history of the ident, highlighting the designer of the first BBC ident, Abram Games.
It's interesting to see in the following clip how the ident went from its original abstract whackiness, through boring globe spinning and then came out at the other end even stranger than the very first.
(If you want the animations of these idents then follow this link to the BBC site. It also features some voiceovers)
Before working on this 3D medium for the BBC, Games was a well-known advertising and poster artist. Of note are some of his wartime pieces such as this one.
Read more about Games at Wikipedia, here.