Sunday, May 14, 2017

Star Trek at the BBC: Random Updates

Thanks to everyone who has commented and corrected any mistakes or omissions in these articles. If you've got any information to add then please leave a comment. I do check in on a semi-regular basis. Although -as the date between this update and the last one shows - it's not always as often as it could be so please accept my apology in advance if you leave a comment and it takes months to appear.

I'm always looking out for more information. Let me know if you have any details about edits the BBC made to its Star Trek film prints. Regarding the 1984-86 run Stevie V pointed out that

As well as moving the opening titles right to the start of the episodes, in this 1984-86 run all the first season episodes featured the cello version of the theme music and Where No Man Has Gone Before had the opening narration. It would need someone older than me to confirm whether all previous runs were like this but at a guess I would say so. I imagine that many others were as surprised as I was when The VHS tapes came out and the second pilot had that electric violin version and no narration. So does this mean that all first season episodes were supplied with the cello version or did the BBC not like the earlier version and decided to replace it with copies taken from the later episodes?"

This is all speculation but I'd say the BBC was supplied with syndication film prints. 
When And The Children Shall Lead came out on VHS I was surprised to see a lengthy scene of Kirk in the Triacus cave which I'd never seen before, and that scene was cut for syndication according to The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers. The BBC would then edit these prints to move the titles to the start of the episode which seems like a relatively simple job for an organisation which has film editors on staff. These prints would have most likely contained a standardized title sequence which met with all contractual requirements and creative guild agreements (you can see how the Star Trek titles had to be changed on first run at Star Trek Fact Check ). It seems unlikely that the BBC would have been prepared to pay the extra cost associated with duplicating the cello version of the theme. Mind you this is the BBC we're talking about. They could be a law unto themselves.

I'm also not sure if by 1984 the BBC was still using the original film prints it purchased in the late sixties. BBC2 broadcast Leonard Nimoy: Star Trek Memories in 1985. This was a 1983 special which had been added to the syndication package. The 1985 repeat of And The Children Shall Lead was also definitely edited for syndication because like Stevie V I was confused when I found the VHS didn't match what I'd previously seen. All this implies that after 1983 the BBC obtained new syndication prints. However the film break at the start of the 1985 repeat of The Return Of The Archons indicates that this was an older print which broke at the point where the film had been cut to move the titles. Was the BBC was buying new prints and then editing them to move the titles to the start of the show to maintain continuity with the earlier repeats? This is the BBC we're talking about.

I'd also like to hear from anyone who has a copy of Swap Shop's Star Trek spoof. Unless anyone knows differently it doesn't appear to exist on the internet except for a few very short clips in online versions of the documentaries Multi-Coloured Saturdays and It Started with Swap Shop.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Star Trek at the BBC: The Written Archive Centre

The BBC's Written Archives Centre at Caversham holds files and scripts dating from 1922 when the BBC was founded. Its focus is understandably on BBC produced programmes, and imported series like Star Trek get less attention.

I wanted to try and confirm some details about Star Trek's transmission by the BBC and they very kindly sent me relevant sections from the daily Programme as Broadcast (PasB) sheets. These sheets contain a wealth of information about the schedule; cast lists; start and end times of programmes, to the second; details of trails for upcoming programmes; even snippets of information about what wasn't shown (like the Grandstand outside broadcast from Aston Hill on 18/10/1969 "not transmitted due to the A.B.S strike").

I don't want to directly reproduce the PasBs which I have been sent to avoid infringing BBC copyright. There are plenty of examples online, including on the BBC site itself. Click here and you'll see the Pasb forms for Patrick Troughton's last Doctor Who story The War Games; frustratingly the PasB scan for episode 10 cuts off just before it gets to details for the Star Trek trail shown immediately afterwards.

Unlike BBC programmes the entries for Star Trek are restricted to a few lines. The entry for Wednesday 16 December 1970 reads

19.20.07 FILM: STAR TREK (3) PARADISE SYNDROME (16/4/0/1603)
SOURCE: Desilu
Footage: 4,541' 35mm
First Transmission

Not terribly useful right? Wrong. BBC Genome lists The Empath as being broadcast, because this is two weeks after the showing of Miri which generated complaints and resulted in the BBC pulling Miri, The Empath, Whom Gods Destroy, and Plato's Stepchildren from broadcast until 1993. BBC Genome results are generated from the Radio Times listings, which went to print in advance of broadcast and could not reflect last minute schedule changes. This change seems to have been so last minute that even the daily papers list The Empath rather than The Paradise Syndrome.

We can also see that this was the first transmission of The Paradise Syndrome, and that it was transmitted from 35mm film with a print length of 4,541 feet; using a film length calculator this gives a running time of 50 minutes 27 seconds. So, the BBC seems to have shown an unedited print.

The (3) seems to be an internal BBC episode number, indicating that this is the third episode shown from some arbitrary date. Three episodes prior to The Paradise Syndrome was Miri, but this is listed as (27). In other cases the number denotes the position in the BBC transmission order, so The Corbomite Maneuver is (15) and was the fifteenth episode shown in "series one". That system doesn't work here. Mirror, Mirror -shown three episodes before Miri- is numbered (24), but is the 25th episode shown in 1970. The long number in brackets (16/4/0/1603) is obviously a BBC internal code. It's also interesting that the source is listed as Desilu, several years after that studio was absorbed into Paramount.

I only requested PasBs for five episodes, because I didn't want to push my luck. So I picked five episodes which I hoped would clear up some of the more obvious scheduling mysteries.

The Corbomite Maneuver: Confirmed by Pasb as being first transmitted on 18/10/1969. The documentation says it was shown from a 16mm print, rather than the normal 35mm. Robert Justman and Herbert Solow, in Inside Star Trek, do mention that 16mm prints were made of episodes (one to go to Canada, and one for Burbank as a backup copy) but I don't know if syndication copies were often 16mm. The episode title is given as The Corbonite Maneuver.

The Doomsday Machine: First transmitted on 06/12/1969. BBC Genome, and the television listings for the Daily Mirror both list Court Martial. Again this must have been a very last minute change with Court Martial being held back to start BBC1's "series 2" on 06/04/1970.

Mirror, Mirror: First scheduled for broadcast on 15/06/1970. Mirror, Mirror was bumped for a repeat of England's terrible 1970 World Cup loss to West Germany. PasBs confirm the first transmission was on 11/11/1970.

The Alternative Factor: Definitely not transmitted until 08/12/1971. There's no obvious reason why the BBC sat on this first season episode for so long. It's transmitted a year after Miri which went out on 02/12/1970, before that the last season one story shown on BBC1 was The Enemy Within on 13/04/1970. The transmission of The Alternative Factor is so delayed that it comes after the first repeat of nine season one stories. It's easy to be glib but given this is generally regarded as one of the worst of season one could the BBC have delayed transmission for quality reasons? Interestingly the footage length is given as 4200 feet, well under the normal length of around 4500 feet for Star Trek episodes. 4200 feet works out at a running time of 46 minutes and 40 seconds, compared to the normal time of around 50 minutes. Was the BBC supplied with an edited syndication copy of The Alternative Factor, or did they do some editing of their own?

I also asked if there was any information about the complaints which the BBC received after showing Miri but I was told that this material is not in the scope for researcher access, and so cannot be located. I've been told by a friend with more experience of the WAC this is a very BBC reply and could mean one of about 73 different things. The important one being, the information is not available to me.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Star Trek on the BBC: 2000 to 2007

Click here for part one: 1969  
Click here for part two: 1970 
Click here for part three: 1971

Click here for part four: 1972

Click here for part five: 1973
Click here for part six: 1974 to 1976

Click here for part seven 1977 to 1982
Click here for part eight: 1984 to 1986
Click here for part nine: 1992 to 1994
Click here for part ten 1995 to 1998


Where No Man Has Gone Before was repeated in a week when a viewer could also watch Farscape on Monday; repeats of Due South and Battlestar Galactica on Tuesday; Star Trek and Buffy The Vampire Slayer on Wednesday; a repeat run of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season three on Thursday; Sliders on Friday; and Star Trek: Voyager on Sunday.

BBC2 favoured a mixture of science-fiction/fantasy/nostalgia programming opposite the BBC1 early evening news. What is commonly referred to as cult television. On BBC2 the cult genre had first developed in 1988 when shows like Mission: Impossible, The Invaders, and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century were shown under the DEF II banner; DEF II was a strand of programmes aimed at teenagers so it's difficult to tell if they were expected to enjoy a series like Battlestar Galactica in its own right or watch it ironically. Later ITC series like Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased), or Gerry Anderson productions like Thunderbirds were added into the mix. First run imports like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, and Farscape would keep things fresh.

Star Trek was an established part of this cult television cycle. It displayed remarkable staying power in a slot where the pattern tended to be strong viewing figures for the opening episodes followed by a decline as the audience became bored and drifted away. This was certainly what happened to the ambitious 6pm Tuesday repeat run planned for Doctor Who which began on 16 November 1999 before fizzling out in February 2000 due to disappointing ratings. The 2000 repeats were Star Trek's fourth time in the 6pm slot.

The repeats started on Wednesday, replacing first run season six of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, before dropping back to Tuesday in August. The series was then shifted to a Saturday afternoon slot in October. Star Trek never settled on Saturday. Its timeslot could be as early as 3.15pm or as late as 6.45pm depending on other programmes. The shift to Saturday looks like an attempt to build a new cult television slot. Star Trek often appeared with other cult series, mostly Thunderbirds repeats, or with Top of the Pops 2 a compilation of old performances from the BBC's venerable pop music show which aimed for a similar nostalgia audience. Earlier in the year Blake's 7 series one had also been shown on Saturday afternoons as a stand alone programme. The placing of Star Trek might show that an audience was more likely to tune in for a block of similar programmes.

The block of repeats starting in 2000 are also the only time the BBC showed Star Trek in production order.


When Star Trek returns after Christmas the series has shifted to Sunday; the same day as the first run of The X-Files series seven. There's no obvious reason for this day change but Battlestar Galactica is briefly dropped into the Saturday cult television block, before that block is also broken up. 2001 rapidly develops into a disrupted year like 1998. In January, February, and March the series is scheduled for two weeks of each month. In April and May the series only appears once. After 35 years Star Trek is understandably a lower priority and so it is moved to make way for other programmes.

Perhaps in an attempt to make up for this, Star Trek is given a place in the Sunday morning hangover recovery slot and stays there pretty consistently from June to the end of August, with a couple of skipped weeks because of sport; the old nemesis.

There's a two week gap at the start of September. This seems to be to build up a backlog of episodes so that on Sunday 16 September a double-bill can be shown to promote a second Star Trek Night. Yes, a second Star Trek Night [1]. The first one was in 1996 for the 30th anniversary, this one is to mark the 35th. The highlight of the night was a phone in vote to choose the Captain's Choice episode. The choice was between Captain Kirk/City on the Edge of Forever, Captain Picard/In Theory, Captain Sisko/Far Beyond the Stars, and Captain Janeway/Counterpoint. Counterpoint was the winning episode.

After Star Trek Night the series shifts to Saturday and then vanishes from the schedules after October reappearing for a single week in December to show By Any Other Name.


Star Trek reappears on Sunday in March before The Ultimate Computer is bounced onto Saturday 6 April to avoid Motorcycling. At the end of April and into May the series is presented as double-bills before it moves back to Saturday to avoid more sport. Then The Tholian Web is shown as a lone episode in June.

And then Star Trek vanishes. Maybe the intention was for the series to take a break over the summer and come back in the autumn, or to run the last remaining season three episodes in 2003. Whatever was planned didn't happen. The BBC paid for the rights to show Star Trek and the decision to throw that money away by leaving 15 episodes unrepeated seems unusual. Of course it's possible the BBC Genome records are wrong but it seems unlikely that 15 episodes could disappear in a technical error. The double-billing of episodes across April and May 2002 looks less like an attempt to find a new format for the repeats, and more like a way to extract the maximum value for money possible from the final few weeks of the run.

It's difficult not to get a sense of an era ending. Star Trek is taken off the air mid-run. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had finished in October 2001. Star Trek: Voyager would come to an end in August 2002. By the end of 2002 only Star Trek: The Next Generation would still be on air, and that would finish in October 2003 with a repeat of Time's Arrow Part II.

Since 1990 there had always been at least one Star Trek television series running on BBC2. 2004 would be the first time in 14 years that no Star Trek episodes were broadcast.


Star Trek may have been unceremoniously removed a third of the way through season three but someone at BBC2 obviously still thought fondly of the series. On January 14 the Huygens probe landed on Titan. The BBC coverage of this probe was called Stardate: Mission To Titan and on Saturday 15 January an appropriate repeat of Where No Man Has Gone Before was squeezed in before a mission update at 2.20pm.


The British television market was transformed by the time Star Trek returned. Subscription multi-channel television had been available since the mid 1980s (first on cable and then via satellite) but it was the launch of the digital terrestrial service Freeview in October 2002 which brought multi-channel television into most homes.

The 6pm weekday cult television slot opposite the news, which had existed in one form or another since 1990, was gone. Many of the series which formed the backbone of the slot were now available on DVD, or as repeats on the assorted Freeview channels. Successful first run series like Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Farscape, which kept the slot fresh and drew in new audiences, had finished. Potential replacement series had either been lost to other channels, Stargate, Smallville, and Star Trek: Enterprise all ended up on Channel 4, or proved unsuccessful; Seven Days only ran for 10 weeks on BBC2 although it completed three years on UPN.

With all this in mind it seems odd that BBC2 purchased the rights to show Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation again. The 6pm cult slot no longer existed. It was filled with quiz and lifestyle programmes. Instead Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation were scheduled back to back on Saturday afternoons. As double, and sometimes triple-bills.

UPDATE 14/05/17: Thanks to Chris Dale for pointing out a repeat of Mirror, Mirror which I had missed on digital channel BBC4. It was shown at 10pm sandwiched between a documentary called Parallel World's -A User's Guide and a repeat of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Yesterday's Enterprise. Embarrassingly it didn't occur to me to check the schedules of the non-terrestrial BBC channels for repeats.


Unfortunately the Saturday slot does not seem to have been a success and Star Trek's last year to date on BBC2 saw it relegated to the schedule backwaters of just past midnight on Saturday morning. By showing the series at this anti-social time the BBC was presumably less interested in capturing that valuable night owl market than getting at least some return on its investment. The alternative would have been to dump the series, as had happened in 2002. It's possible that even early in the morning Star Trek was capable of picking up a substantial share of whatever audience was watching. It depends on the competition from other channels. BBC1 was showing BBC News 24, while BBC3 and BBC4 were repeating programmes from earlier.

This repeat run started out in NBC broadcast order but the switch to late night double-bills caused some confusion at the start of season two. Who Mourns For Adonais? and Amok Time are shown the wrong way round on 10 March, and The Apple and The Changeling are also shown in the wrong order on 17 March. Mirror, Mirror had already been shown in 2006 and was skipped.

Once Star Trek finished the repeats of Star Trek: The Next Generation were moved into the same slot and at 01.20 on 6 December 2008 the last episode of any Star Trek series shown on the BBC was the appropriately titled All Good Things.

Some final figures

The BBC has transmitted Star Trek 9 times. The first run lasted from 1969 to 1971. With repeat cycles lasting from 1971 to 1973; 1973 to 1976; 1978 to1981; 1984 to 1986; 1992 to 1994;  1995 to 1998; 2000 to 2002; and 2006 to 2007.

Star Trek was shown in production order once from 2000-2002, and that run was cut short.

Star Trek was shown in NBC broadcast order four times.

The other four times that the BBC showed Star Trek they used an order of their own devising.

The number of times the BBC actually showed Star Trek correctly is once; from 1992 to 1994. Every other time at least one episode was skipped or shown out of order.

The least shown episodes were Plato's Stepchildren and Whom Gods Destroy which only clocked up three transmissions on the BBC; first runs in 1993 and 1994, then repeats in 1998 and 2007. The Empath, the other episode censored by the BBC, was shown a total of four times because it squeaked in a repeat before the run in 2002 came to an abrupt end.

The most shown episodes were The Man Trap, Where No Man Has Gone Before, and The Galileo Seven which each got shown a total of ten times on BBC1 and BBC2.

Between 1969 and 2008 the BBC showed Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. Only five of those 39 years had no episodes from one of those series; 1983, 1987, 1988, 1989, and 2004. And in 1989 and 2004 you could still have watched some of the movies, leaving only three out of 39 years completely Trekless.

In the list below the number in brackets shows the number of transmissions of an episode. Most episodes in 2000 are on their eighth showing; that's the original broadcast plus seven repeats.

2000-05-31     18.00     The Cage (3)
2000-06-07     18.00     Where No Man Has Gone Before (8)
2000-06-14     18.00     The Corbomite Manoeuvre (8)
2000-06-21     18.00     Mudd's Women (8)
2000-07-12     18.00     The Enemy Within (8)
2000-07-26     18.00     The Man Trap (9)
2000-08-02     18.00     The Naked Time (8)
2000-08-09     18.00     Charlie X (8)
2000-08-16     18.00     Balance Of Terror (8)
2000-08-23     18.00     What Are Little Girls Made Of? (8)
2000-08-29     18.00     Dagger Of The Mind (8)
2000-09-05     18.00     Miri (4)
2000-09-12     18.00     The Conscience Of The King (8)
2000-09-19     18.00     The Galileo Seven (9)
2000-09-26     18.00     Court Martial (8)
2000-10-03     18.00     The Menagerie Part I (8)
2000-10-10     18.00     The Menagerie Part II (8)
2000-10-14     15.30     Shore Leave (8)
2000-10-21     16.15     The Squire Of Gothos (8)
2000-10-28     15.15     Arena (8)
2000-11-04     16.50     The Alternative Factor (8)
2000-11-11     18.45     Tomorrow Is Yesterday (8)
2000-11-18     16.40     The Return Of The Archons (7)
2000-11-25     16.10     A Taste Of Armageddon (8)
2000-12-02     16.00     Space Seed (8)
2000-12-09     16.30     This Side Of Paradise (8)
2000-12-17     18.35     The Devil In The Dark (8)
2000-12-23     18.10     Errand Of Mercy (8)

2001-01-21     18.55     The City On The Edge Of Forever (8)
2001-01-28     19.15     Operation -- Annihilate! (8)
2001-02-18     18.55     Catspaw (8)
2001-02-25     18.45     Metamorphosis (8)
2001-03-18     18.30     Friday's Child (8)
2001-03-24     18.30     Who Mourns For Adonais? (8)
2001-04-08     18.30     Amok Time (8)
2001-05-20     18.30     The Doomsday Machine (8)
2001-06-17     11.15     Wolf In The Fold (8)
2001-06-24     11.15     The Changeling (8)
2001-07-01     11.15     The Apple (8)
2001-07-08     11.15     Mirror, Mirror (8)
2001-07-15     11.15     The Deadly Years (7)
2001-08-05     11.15     I, Mudd (8)
2001-08-12     11.15     The Trouble With Tribbles (8)
2001-08-19     11.15     Bread And Circuses (8)
2001-08-26     11.15     Journey To Babel (8)
2001-09-16     11.15     A Private Little War (7)
2001-09-16     12.05     The Gamesters Of Triskelion (8)
2001-10-06     12.25     Obsession (7)
2001-10-13     12.25     The Immunity Syndrome (8)
2001-10-27     12.25     A Piece Of The Action (8)
2001-12-08     12.25     By Any Other Name (7)

2002-03-24     11.20     Return To Tomorrow (8)
2002-03-31     11.10     Patterns Of Force (8)
2002-04-06     12.20     The Ultimate Computer (8)
2002-04-14     12.00     The Omega Glory (8)
2002-04-21     12.00     Assignment: Earth (8)
2002-04-28     11.20     Spectre Of The Gun (8)
2002-04-28     12.10     Elaan Of Troyius (8)
2002-05-05     11.40     The Paradise Syndrome (8)
2002-05-12     11.20     The Enterprise Incident (8)
2002-05-12     12.10     And The Children Shall Lead (8)
2002-05-19     11.20     Spock's Brain (8)
2002-05-19     12.10     Is There In Truth No Beauty? (8)
2002-05-25     12.40     The Empath (3)
2002-06-16     12.00     The Tholian Web (8)

2005-01-15     13.30     Where No Man Has Gone Before (9)    

2006-07-08     14.55     The Cage (4)
2006-07-15     13.05     The Man Trap (10)
2006-07-22     13.00     Charlie X (9)
2006-07-29     14.55     Where No Man Has Gone Before (10)
2006-08-05     12.30     The Naked Time (9) 
2006-08-19     12.30     The Enemy Within (9)
2006-08-26     13.45     Mudd's Women (9)
2006-09-02     12.30     What Are Little Girls Made Of? (9)
2006-09-09     12.55     Miri (5)
2006-09-16     13.30     Dagger Of The Mind (9)
2006-10-07     13.55     The Corbomite Manoeuvre (9)
2006-10-14     13.25     The Menagerie Part I (9)
2006-10-21     13.20     The Menagerie Part II (9)
2006-10-28     13.25     The Conscience Of The King (9)
2006-11-04     13.15     Balance Of Terror (9)    
2006-11-11     13.35     Shore Leave (9)
2006-11-18     13.55     The Galileo Seven (10)
2006-11-25     13.35     The Squire Of Gothos (9)
2006-11-28     22.00     Mirror, Mirror (9) shown on BBC4
2006-12-02     13.30     Arena (9)
2006-12-16     13.30     Tomorrow Is Yesterday (9)

2007-02-03     00.15     Court Martial (9)
2007-02-03     01.05     The Return Of The Archons (8)
2007-02-10     01.00     Space Seed (9)
2007-02-10     01.50     A Taste Of Armageddon (9)
2007-02-17     00.20     This Side Of Paradise (9)
2007-02-17     01.10     The Devil In The Dark (9)
2007-02-24     01.00     Errand Of Mercy (9)
2007-02-24     01.50     The Alternative Factor (9)
2007-03-03     01.10     The City On The Edge Of Forever (9)
2007-03-03     01.10     Operation -- Annihilate! (9)
2007-03-10     01.05     Who Mourns For Adonais? (9)
2007-03-10     01.55     Amok Time (9)
2007-03-17     00.40     The Apple (9)
2007-03-17     01.30     The Changeling (9)
2007-03-24     02:50     The Doomsday Machine (9)
2007-03-24     02:40     Catspaw (9)
2007-03-31     03.25     I, Mudd (9)
2007-03-31     04.15     Metamorphosis (9)
2007-04-07     02.20     Journey To Babel (9)
2007-04-07     03.10     Friday's Child (9)
2007-04-14     02.10     The Deadly Years (8)
2007-04-14     03.00     Obsession (8)
2007-04-21     01.40     Wolf In The Fold (9)
2007-04-21     02.30     The Trouble With Tribbles (9)
2007-04-28     02.25     The Gamesters Of Triskelion (9)
2007-04-28     03.15     A Piece Of The Action (9)
2007-05-05     01.25     The Immunity Syndrome (9)
2007-05-05     02.15     A Private Little War (8)    
2007-05-12     02.00     Return To Tomorrow (9)
2007-05-12     02.50     Patterns Of Force (9)
2007-05-19     02.05     By Any Other Name (8)
2007-05-19     02.55     The Omega Glory (9)
2007-05-26     02.20     The Ultimate Computer (9)
2007-05-26     03.10     Bread And Circuses (9)
2007-06-02     02.10     Assignment: Earth (9) 
2007-06-02     03.00     Spock's Brain (9)
2007-06-09     02.00     The Enterprise Incident (9)
2007-06-09     02.50     The Paradise Syndrome (9)
2007-06-16     02.10     And The Children Shall Lead (9)
2007-06-16     03.00     Is There In Truth No Beauty (9)
2007-06-23     02.00     Spectre Of The Gun (9)
2007-06-23     02.50     Day Of The Dove (8)
2007-06-30     03.00     For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky (8)
2007-06-30     03.50     The Tholian Web (9)
2007-07-07     01.05     Plato's Stepchildren (3)
2007-07-07     01.55     Wink Of An Eye (8)
2007-07-14     01.35     The Empath (4)
2007-07-14     02.25     Elaan Of Troyius (9)
2007-07-21     01.30     Whom Gods Destroy (3)
2007-07-21     02.20     Let That Be Your Last Battlefield (8)
2007-07-28     01.20     The Mark Of Gideon (8)
2007-07-28     02.20     That Which Survives (8)
2007-08-04     01.55     The Lights of Zetar (8)
2007-08-04     02.45     Requiem for Methuselah (8)
2007-08-11     02.30     The Way to Eden (8)
2007-08-11     03.20     The Cloud Minders (8)
2007-08-18     02.25     The Savage Curtain (8)
2007-08-18     03.15     All Our Yesterdays (8)
2007-08-25     02.20     Turnabout Intruder (8)

[1]19.30: Star Trek Night
Ends 12.45.
Jonathan Ross hosts a celebration of the 35th anniversary of Star Trek. The evening includes classic episodes, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. Viewers can also vote for a Star Trek captain's favourite episode to be shown at 9.55pm. See page 42 for further details.
7.35 From Enterprise to Franchise How the legendary sci-fi series became a global phenomenon.
Then Memorable Moments A compilation of classic Star Trek moments demonstrating it's a good idea to Never Wear Red, plus a day out with fans at The Convention. (S)
8.10 Make It So A behind-the-scenes look at Star Trek's special effects, from photon torpedos to 24th-century bras.
8.40 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Trials and Tribble-ations
An Away Team go back in time onto Captain James T Kirk 's starship Enterprise. (R) (S)
9.20 The Warp Factory Star Trek writers have plundered all their best ideas from science. Having created four ever more advanced space ships, where is there left for Star
Trek to go? (S)
Then Memorable Moments Classic clips of big shoot-outs in Battlestations and what happens when DIY and Star Trek meet in Space: the Final Front Room. (S)
9.55 Star Trek: Viewers' Vote Winning Episode The screening of the winning episode of the Captain's Choice Viewers' Vote. Lines will be open from 10 September and close tonight at 9.15pm. Calls cost a maximum of lOp. Votes can also be registered
Captain Kirk/City on the Edge of Forever
Captain Picard/In Theory (R) (S)
Captain Sisko/Far Beyond the Stars
Captain Janeway/Counterpoint
10.40 Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home **** Science-fiction adventure starring William Shatner , Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley. In the 23rd century, Captain Kirk and his
- crew return to 1986 San Francisco to prevent Earth's destruction. Widescreen. Review page 61.Director Leonard Nimoy (1986. PG) (S) (W) The reel story behind .. : page 62
Then Memorable Moments Space cuisine clips in Feed Me Up Scotty and romantic moments in Star Dates. (S)

Monday, May 4, 2015

Star Trek on the BBC: 1995 to 1998


The trend had been for Star Trek to spend longer and longer off air between blocks of repeats. From 1969 to 1976 the series ran annually before taking a break in 1977 and returning again from 1978 to 1981. A three year gap was then followed by another run of repeats from 1984 to 1986. Star Trek was then off the air for six years before returning as a substitute for Star Trek: The Next Generation between 1992 and 1994. Surprisingly in 1995 the series bucked this trend by returning within 18 months although the series was no longer in the 6pm weekday slot. It was dropped onto Sunday morning at 11.40; a time when the majority of viewers are presumed to be recovering from a hangover in front of the telly. Star Trek spent the rest of 1995 playing out in front of an audience too fragile to cope with the rigours of watching Countryfile on BBC1. At the end of the year The Conscience Of The King displaces The Menagerie Part I, presumably to stop the story being split around the new year break. This means that by 1995 the BBC has repeated Star Trek seven times but only the 1992 to 1994 repeats were completely in NBC order. 


Star Trek stayed in the Sunday morning bacon sandwich and coffee slot until 21 April. It was replaced by a series called Fully Booked which sounds far too bright, active, and loud for that time of day.

In August BBC2 marked Star Trek's 30th anniversary with a repeat of The Cage and The Man Trap and a night devoted to Star Trek on Bank Holiday Monday; 26 August [1]. This themed evening was a mixture of comedy, documentary, and quiz programmes. The night also promoted BBC2's purchase of Star Trek: Voyager. The Caretaker would be shown as part of the theme night and the series began at the end of September. In fact the end of 1996 was a good time to be a Star Trek fan with repeats of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Wednesday, series two of Deep Space Nine on Thursday, and Voyager series one on Sunday. All that was missing was the series which started it all. 


If the end of 1996 had been a good time to be a Star Trek fan then the start of 1997 must have been paradise. The Next Generation on Wednesday at 6pm, Deep Space Nine at the same time on Thursday, Star Trek on Friday (in the 6pm "cult tv" slot previously occupied by Gerry Anderson's series UFO), Star Trek: The Animated Series on Sunday morning at 6.45am, and Voyager also on Sunday at the more sociable time of 6.45pm.

As 1997 goes on the repeat run is disrupted. Star Trek is bumped on 16 March by regular BBC1 programmes transferred to BBC2 because of Comic Relief. A couple of months later the same thing happens again in the aftermath of the General Election on 2 May. Then on 23 May it's the turn of golf and tennis.

Star Trek took a break over the summer and returned at the end of August. Two days later Diana Princess of Wales died on 31 August and the UK entered a strange week of national mourning. On Friday 5 September, the day before the funeral, in response to an increasingly ugly public mood the Queen made a speech at 6pm which was carried live on BBC1. It seems extraordinary to think that BBC2 was showing A Piece Of The Action as this unprecedented speech was being made but there is no evidence to show that the BBC2 schedule was altered.

In November there's a two week gap caused by the BBC's apparent desire to repeat some Ren And Stimpy followed by another week off due to snooker. The series returns for three weeks in December and then goes off the air over Christmas. 


The watchword for 1998 is unpredictability and the tone is set on 16 January when Star Trek is bumped for ice skating after two weeks of repeats. Spectre Of The Gun is broadcast on 23 January and then Star Trek takes another two weeks off for programmes about the forthcoming Winter Olympics. Not the actual Winter Olympics themselves but two programmes about the Winter Olympics in general. Actually this is fair enough. The 1998 Winter Olympics came from Nagano in Japan and with live broadcasts running from midnight to 4am the games needed all the publicity they could get. That said it's something of a disappointment when Star Trek returns once on 13 February and then goes off on a much needed holiday; shagged out after four whole repeats over the first seven Fridays of the year. Don't worry, the series will be back in April on Good Friday once Robot Wars has finished, plus another week for sport; tennis and more ice skating.

Amazingly the repeats then run for eight whole weeks before sport intervenes. The Mark Of Gideon is postponed on 5 June; probably due to overrunning cricket. The following week That Which Survives is also bumped; either because of overrunning tennis or possibly World Cup football. The Friday after this has already been set aside for more sport -a triple bill of cricket, Royal Ascot, and tennis- and then it's Wimbledon fortnight so its not until 10 July that Star Trek briefly elbows its way into the schedules for The Mark Of Gideon. The following week is The First Night Of The Proms, and some more golf. Quick there's a Friday without any sport or culture scheduled! That Which Survives is repeated on 24 July. 

The Lights Of Zetar, Requiem For Methuselah, and The Way To Eden all follow. There are only four episodes left. Can they make it on air? No! European Athletics and more cricket block the way. The Cloud Minders makes it through on 4 September, and then -oh no!- it's two weeks of The Commonwealth Games followed by highlights of the Scottish National Party annual conference from beautiful downtown Inverness.

Finally, the last three episodes of season three make their way on to BBC2, and Star Trek realises that its been relegated to filler status. Two years ago the programme was proudly celebrating its 30th anniversary. Now it's reduced to filling the gaps between other programmes.

In the list below the number in brackets shows the number of repeats of an episode. Most episodes are on their seventh showing; that's six repeats after the original broadcast.

1995-10-15     11.40     The Man Trap (7)
1995-10-22     11.40     Charlie X (7)
1995-10-29     11.40     Where No Man Has Gone Before (7)
1995-11-05     11.40      The Naked Time (7)
1995-11-12     11.40      The Enemy Within (7)
1995-11-19     11.40      Mudd's Women (7)
1995-11-26     11.40      What Are Little Girls Made Of? (7)
1995-12-03     11.40      Miri (3)
1995-12-10     11.40      Dagger Of The Mind (7)
1995-12-17     11.40      The Corbomite Manoeuvre (7)
1995-12-24     11.40      The Conscience Of The King (7)

1996-01-07     11:45     The Menagerie Part I (7)
1996-01-14     11:45     The Menagerie Part II (7)
1996-01-21     11:45      Balance Of Terror (7)
1996-01-28     11:45      Shore Leave (7)
1996-02-04     11:45      The Galileo Seven (8)
1996-02-11     11:45      The Squire Of Gothos (7)
1996-02-18     11:45      Arena (7)
1996-02-25     11:45      Tomorrow Is Yesterday (7)
1996-03-03     11:45      Court Martial (7)
1996-03-10     11:45      The Return Of The Archons (6)
1996-03-17     11:45      Space Seed (7)
1996-03-24     11:45      A Taste Of Armageddon (7)
1996-03-31     11:45      This Side Of Paradise (7)
1996-04-07     11:45      The Devil In The Dark (7)
1996-04-14     11:45      Errand Of Mercy (7)
1996-04-21     11:45      The Alternative Factor (7)
1996-08-19     18.25      The Cage (2)
1996-08-20     18.30      The Man Trap (8)

1997-01-24     18.00     The City On The Edge Of Forever (7)    
1997-01-31     18.00     Operation -- Annihilate! (7)  
1997-02-07     18.00     Amok Time (7)
1997-02-14     18.00     Who Mourns For Adonais? (7)
1997-02-21     18.00     The Changeling (7)
1997-02-28     18.00     Mirror, Mirror (7)
1997-03-07     18.00     The Apple (7)
1997-02-21     18.25     The Doomsday Machine (7)
1997-02-28     18.20     Catspaw (7)
1997-04-04     18.25     I, Mudd (7)
1997-04-11     18.20     Metamorphosis (7)
1997-04-18     18.20     Journey To Babel (7)
1997-05-09     18.20     Friday's Child (7)
1997-05-16     18.20     The Deadly Years (6)
1997-05-30     18.20     Obsession (6)
1997-06-06     18.25     The Wolf In The Fold (7)
1997-06-13     18.20     The Trouble With Tribbles (7)
1997-08-29     18.05     The Gamesters Of Triskelion (7)
1997-09-05     18.00     A Piece Of The Action (7)
1997-09-12     18.00     The Immunity Syndrome (7)
1997-09-19     18.00     A Private Little War (6)
1997-09-26     18.00     Return To Tomorrow (7)
1997-10-03     18.00     Patterns Of Force (7)
1997-10-10     18.00     By Any Other Name (6)
1997-10-17     18.25     The Omega Glory (7)
1997-10-24     18.20     The Ultimate Computer (7)
1997-10-31     18.25     Bread And Circuses (7)
1997-11-07     18.25     Assignment: Earth (7)
1997-12-05     18.20     Spock's Brain (7)
1997-12-12     18.20     The Enterprise Incident (7)
1997-12-19     18.20     The Paradise Syndrome (7)

1998-01-02     18.20     And The Children Shall Lead (7)
1998-01-09     18.25     Is There In Truth No Beauty (7)
1998-01-23     18.20     Spectre Of The Gun (7)
1998-02-13     18.00     Day Of The Dove (7)
1998-04-10     18.25     For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky (7)
1998-04-17     18.25     The Tholian Web (7)
1998-04-24     18.20     Plato's Stepchildren(2)
1998-05-01     18.20     Wink Of An Eye (7)
1998-05-08     18.25     The Empath (2)
1998-05-15     18.25     Elaan Of Troyius (7)
1998-05-22     18.25     Whom Gods Destroy (2)
1998-05-29     18.25     Let That Be Your Last Battlefield (7)
1998-06-05     18.25     The Mark of Gideon POSTPONED
1998-06-12     18.25     That Which Survives POSTPONED
1998-07-10     18.25     The Mark of Gideon (7)
1998-07-24     18.45     That Which Survives (7)
1998-07-31     18.45     The Lights of Zetar (7)
1998-08-07     18.50     Requiem for Methuselah (7)
1998-08-14     18.45     The Way to Eden (7)
1998-09-04     18.40     The Cloud Minders (7)
1998-10-02     18.25     The Savage Curtain (7)
1998-10-16     18.25     All Our Yesterdays (7)
1998-10-30     18.25     Turnabout Intruder (7)

[1] 7.15 Star Trek Night Introduction. Craig Charles introduces an evening of programmes to celebrate 30 years of the fantastic universe created bv Gene Roddenberry.
7.20 To Boldly Go Where No Quiz Has Gone Before. Peter Smith sets out to find the ultimate Trekker as five contestants battle it out in an intergalactic mission through the logical and illogical rounds of Trek trivia to win a night with the stars of Star Trek.
Followed by Star Trekkers Comedian and actress Josie Lawrence reveals her admiration for Captain Picard, and Labour MP Paul Boateng considers Lt Uhura as a black role model.
8.00 Science: the Final Frontier. The world of Captain Kirk portrays a fantastic future, but how plausible are warp drives, transporters and photon torpedoes? Eminent scientists such as Stephen Hawking , Roger Penrose and Lawrence Krauss , author of The Physics of Star Trek, describe how Star Trek science fiction measures up to real-life science fact. Star Trek's science adviser Andre Bormanis explains how he tries to keep one step ahead of reality, while still presenting a plausible vision of the future, and experts at the cutting edge of science describe how they are experimenting with Star Trek's vision and coming up with answers of their own.
9.00 Spoof Trek. Over the years many comedians have seen the funny side of the Star Trek universe. Alistair McGowan introduces a collection of send-ups inspired by the programme.
Followed by Star Trekkers Jonathan Ross recalls his adolescent longing for a girlfriend with blue skin, and artist Damien Hirst contemplates the Borg.
9.25 Star Trek Story. Gene Roddenberry's Utopian vision of humanity in the 24th century had a profound effect on American viewers. During the height of the Cold War, the tension of the civil rights movement and the jingoism of the Vietnam War, they saw a multicultural crew working together on the bridge of the Enterprise. Leonard Nimoy , Patrick Stewart ,
Nichelle Nicols, Brent Spiner and others reflect on Star Trek's cultural impact over its 30-year history, and contemplate its future on the small screen.
10.20 Funk Me Up Scotty. In this tribute to the stars, John Peel forages in the archives for a collection of musical performances by Star Trek cast members, as well as various records inspired by Star Trek over the years.
Followed by Star Trekkers Astronomer Patrick Moore praises the qualities of the eternally logical Mr Spock , and feminist Camille Paglia reveals why she once wrote Data a love letter
10.50 Star Trek: Voyager. The pilot episode of the latest Star Trek series, starring Kate Mulgrew Caretaker. Agroup of "freedom fighters" called the Maquis take up arms to combat a new treaty between Cardassia and the Federation. Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager has pursued a Maquis ship into the Badlands, but then both ships are catapulted 70,000 light years into an uncharted quadrant of space.
Star Trek: the Next Generation continues on Wednesday at 6.00pm
12.20am Star Trekkers Shaun Ryder and Kermit from Black Grape yearn for the fantasy world of the Holodeck.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Star Trek on the BBC: 1990 to 1994

Click here for part one: 1969  
Click here for part two: 1970 
Click here for part three: 1971

Click here for part four: 1972

Click here for part five: 1973
Click here for part six: 1974 to 1976

Click here for part seven 1977 to 1982
Click here for part eight: 1984 to 1986


The BBC had a new series to schedule. Star Trek: The Next Generation finally appeared on BBC2 on 26 September 1990; almost exactly three years after Encounter At Farpoint premièred on 28 September 1987.

According to fanzine DWB (issue 79 July 1990) the BBC had paid £8 million for the rights to the Paramount  Star Trek package which consisted of all 79 original series episodes, the first four Star Trek films, the 13 animated episodes, and "the 70 or so episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation made so far." Included in the package were resale rights and behind the scenes the BBC made an unprecedented deal with new satellite broadcaster Sky Television. The original series rights were sold on to Sky TV who began showing the series on their channel Sky One with the UK première of The Cage; Sunday 29 July 1990 at 8pm. During this repeat run Sky One also became the first channel to show Plato's Stepchildren, The Empath, and Whom Gods Destroy in the UK, and also repeated Miri for the first time since the BBC1 broadcast on 2 December 1970.

For many UK fans this would have been their first chance to see Plato's Stepchildren, The Empath, and Whom Gods Destroy. There had been two video releases in December1983 (Miri and The Empath) and October 1984 (Plato's Stepchildren and Whom Gods Destroy). By 1990 CIC Video was releasing Star Trek in production order on VHS with two episodes per tape. Miri was probably released on VHS before the Sky One broadcast but with its twice daily showings Sky One might have just shown the other three episodes before they were released on VHS; The Empath was released 5 November 1990;  Plato's Stepchildren, January 1991; and Whom Gods Destroy, February 1991.

Sky also obtained the rights to show Star Trek: The Animated Series from 1991, and the first three season of Star Trek: The Next Generation once the BBC run ended in 1992. It's not clear from the DWB article if these rights were resold by the BBC or purchased independently by Sky. The BBC did not purchase the first run rights to anything beyond series three of Star Trek: The Next Generation.  A decision which would come back to bite the channel.

For no readily apparent reason the BBC shuffled around the episode order of Star Trek: The Next Generation, as it had previously done with Star Trek. The series started in US broadcast order but after that the sequence breaks down.

Season 1
BBC Order
Encounter At Farpoint
Encounter At Farpoint
The Naked Now
The Naked Now
Code Of Honor
Code Of Honor
The Last Outpost
Where No One Has Gone Before
Where No One Has Gone Before
Lonely Among Us
Lonely Among Us
The Last Outpost
The Battle
The Battle
Hide And Q
Hide And Q
The Big Goodbye
Too Short a Season
The Big Goodbye
Angel One
Angel One
Too Short a Season
When The Bough Breaks
Home Soil
Home Soil
When The Bough Breaks
Coming Of Age
Coming Of Age
Heart Of Glory
The Arsenal of Freedom
The Arsenal of Freedom
Heart Of Glory
Skin Of Evil
Skin Of Evil
We'll Always Have Paris
We'll Always Have Paris
The Neutral Zone
The Neutral Zone


Star Trek: The Next Generation ran weekly on BBC2; generally at 6pm on Wednesday, opposite the Six O'Clock News. To keep this article from becoming impractically large I'm not going to list every episode but generally speaking there was almost no disruption to the run and, starting from the beginning of season two it was shown in the correct order.


And then suddenly the BBC ran out of Star Trek: The Next Generation. DWB reported in July 1992 (issue 103), "The BBC have admitted they fouled up the rights to the highest-rated programme on BBC2." The BBC's rights to first run Star Trek: The Next Generation only covered seasons one to three. According to DWB 103 the BBC had to organise a special deal to allow The Best Of Both Worlds, Part II to be shown on 6 May 1992. Sky One would begin showing Star Trek: The Next Generation in the autumn of 1992 and had snapped up the first run rights to seasons four and five. The series had been popular on BBC2 from the start. Encounter At Farpoint drew an audience of 5.07 million and was the top rated programme for the week. The Naked Now placed second with 3.94 million. Code Of Honour returned to the number one slot with 4.38 million. With the rights to Star Trek: The Next Generation lost until 1994 the BBC turned back to the original series.

Speaking personally, original Star Trek seemed very stale at the time. I remember feeling that a repeat run of Star Trek was no substitute for the new adventures of Captain Picard. This feeling was compounded because Star Trek was now completely available on VHS. There was no longer any need to wait for the series to be scheduled on television, episodes could be watched in any order at any time; hated episodes could be skipped, and favourites watched and re-watched until video fatigue set in.


A huge 48 week run with breaks only for cricket, 19 May and 7 July, and Wimbledon, 23 and 30 June. Only 1973 had more Star Trek, with 49 weeks of repeats.


The last remaining episodes of season three were were shown and Star Trek: The Next Generation returned with the fourth season episode Family on Wednesday 13 April. Whatever deal the BBC struck to allow them to show The Best Of Both Worlds, Part II in 1992 didn't allow them a second showing in 1994. Requiem for Methuselah was postponed on 23 February 1994, because of the Winter Olympics. The BBC decided it would rather show then media sensation Tonya Harding's entry in the figure skating contest.

In the list below the number in brackets shows the number of times an episode has been broadcast. The Cage is being shown for the first time so it has no number, The Man Trap is on its sixth transmission (a first run plus five repeats), while Miri has been shown twice (once in 1970, and now the first repeat).


1992-08-19     18:00     The Cage
1992-08-26     18:00     The Man Trap (6)
1992-09-02     18:00     Charlie X (6)
1992-09-09     18:00     Where No Man Has Gone Before (6)
1992-09-16     18:00     The Naked Time (6)
1992-09-23     18:00     The Enemy Within (6)
1992-09-30     18:00     Mudd's Women (6)
1992-10-07     18:00     What Are Little Girls Made Of? (6)
1992-10 14     18:00     Miri (2)
1992-10-21     18:00     Dagger Of The Mind (6)
1992-10-28     18:00     The Corbomite Manoeuvre (6)
1992-11-04     18:00     The Menagerie Part I (6)
1992-11-11     18:00     The Menagerie Part II (6)
1992-11-18     18:00     The Conscience Of The King (6)
1992-11-25     18:00     Balance Of Terror (6)
1992-12-02     18:00     Shore Leave (6)
1992-12-09     18:00     The Galileo Seven (7)
1992-12-16     18:00     The Squire Of Gothos (6)
1992-12-23     17:50     Arena (6)

1993-01-06     18.00     Tomorrow Is Yesterday (6)
1993-01-13     18.00     Court Martial (6)
1993-01-20     18.00     The Return Of The Archons (5)
1993-01-27     18.00     Space Seed (6)
1993-02-03     18.00     A Taste Of Armageddon (6)
1993-02-10     18.00     This Side Of Paradise (6)
1993-02-17     18.00     The Devil In The Dark (6)
1993-02-24     18.00     Errand Of Mercy (6)
1993-03-03     18.00     The Alternative Factor (6)
1993-03-10     18.00     The City On The Edge Of Forever (6)
1993-03-17     18.00     Operation -- Annihilate! (6)
1993-03-24     18.00     Amok Time (6)
1993-03-31     18.00     Who Mourns For Adonais? (6)
1993-04-07     18.00     The Changeling (6)
1993-04-14     18.00     Mirror, Mirror (6)
1993-04-21     18.00     The Apple (6)
1993-04-28     18.00     The Doomsday Machine(6)
1993-05-05     18.00     Catspaw (6)
1993-05-12     18.00     I, Mudd (6)
1993-05-26     18.00     Metamorphosis (6)
1993-06-02     18.00     Journey To Babel (6)
1993-06-09     18.00     Friday's Child (6)
1993-06-16     18.00     The Deadly Years (5)
1993-07-14     18.00     Obsession (5)
1993-07-21     18.00     The Wolf In The Fold (6)
1993-07-28     18.00     The Trouble With Tribbles (6)
1993-08-04     18.00     The Gamesters Of Triskelion (6)
1993-08-11     18.00     A Piece Of The Action (6)
1993-08-18     18.00     The Immunity Syndrome (6)
1993-08-25     18.00     A Private Little War (5)
1993-09-01     18.00     Return To Tomorrow (6)
1993-09-08     18.00     Patterns Of Force (6)
1993-09-15     18.00     By Any Other Name (5)
1993-09-22     18.00     The Omega Glory (6)
1993-09-29     18.00     The Ultimate Computer (6)
1993-10-06     18.00     Bread And Circuses (6)
1993-10-13     18.00     Assignment: Earth (6)
1993-10-20     18.00     Spock's Brain (6)
1993-10-27     18.00     The Enterprise Incident (6)
1993-11-03     18.00     The Paradise Syndrome (6)
1993-11-10     18.00     And The Children Shall Lead (6)
1993-11-17     18.00     Is There In Truth No Beauty (6)
1993-11-24     18.00     Spectre Of The Gun (6)
1993-12-01     18.00     Day Of The Dove (6)
1993-12-08     18.00     For The World Is Hollow And I Have Touched The Sky (6)
1993-12-15     18.00     The Tholian Web (6)
1993-12-22     18.00     Plato's Stepchildren
1993-12-29     18.00     Wink Of An Eye (6)

1994-01-05     18.00     The Empath
1994-01-12     18.00     Elaan Of Troyius (6)
1994-01-19     18.00     Whom Gods Destroy
1994-01-26     18.00     Let That Be Your Last Battlefield (6)
1994-02-02     18.00     The Mark of Gideon (6)
1994-02-09     18.00     That Which Survives (6)
1994-02-16     18.00     The Lights of Zetar (6)
1994-02-23     18.00     Requiem for Methuselah POSTPONED
1994-03-02     18.00     The Way to Eden (6)
1994-03-02     18.00     Requiem for Methuselah  (6)
1994-03-16     18.00     The Cloud Minders (6)
1994-03-23     18.00     The Savage Curtain (6)
1994-03-30     18.00     All Our Yesterdays (6)
1994-04-06     18.00     Turnabout Intruder (6)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Star Trek On The BBC: 1984 to 1986

Click here for part one: 1969  
Click here for part two: 1970 
Click here for part three: 1971

Click here for part four: 1972

Click here for part five: 1973
Click here for part six: 1974 to 1976

Click here for part seven 1977 to 1982

Two episodes of Star Trek were shown in 1982; Operation -- Annihilate! and an unscheduled showing of The Savage Curtain. Apart from that the series had been off the air since May 1981. The longest gap since the BBC began showing Star Trek in 1969.

News of this repeat run leaked out into the UK Star Trek fan community. Fans began writing to the BBC to request that the four withdrawn episodes (Miri, The Empath, Whom Gods Destroy, and Plato's Stepchildren) be included. An example of the BBC's standard negative response is available online. Presumably fans had also been writing to the BBC about the eccentric episode order used to schedule Star Trek and here they had more success. For the first time the series would be shown in NBC broadcast order. This change in policy does not seem to have been extended to other imported programmes. Mission: Impossible repeats would run after Star Trek in 1986 and the episodes shown were a random selection of stories from seasons two to five. 

That said, it's not long before the BBC breaks with the NBC order. The Squire Of Gothos and The Return Of The Archons are both missing from the 1984 repeats. The scheduling of the 1984 repeats is quite disrupted. The series starts on Tuesday at 18.40 and changes after six weeks to Monday at 19.10 where it replaces Manimal. Then on 20 August Star Trek is pushed into an earlier slot by a combination of International Athletics at 18.15 and a worthy but frankly depressing sounding programme at 20.00 called Still The Biggest Epidemic*. After a break for the August Bank Holiday the series is on the move again, back to Tuesday but this time at the much earlier time of 17.10. This is the earliest the BBC has ever scheduled Star Trek; except for the morning Christmas repeats of 1974/75/76 under the Holiday Star Trek banner.

Star Trek returned after Christmas. It was shifted to Wednesday and a later slot around 19.00. The first two episodes shown were The Squire Of Gothos and The Return Of The Archons. Could concerns over their content have caused both episodes to be held back so they could be shifted into a later time slot? In the case of The Return Of The Archons it's quite possible. This was an episode which went unrepeated between 1969 and 1976; my best guess is because the Festival scenes were felt to be too intense. It's interesting to note that four of the five episodes shown at the start of 1985 were transmitted at 18.55 while The Return Of The Archons is preceded by a Daffy Duck cartoon which pushes the start time back to 19.00. This might seem insignificant but programming before the 21.00 watershed tends to be done on the assumption that less child friendly material is shown later, by starting dead on 19.00 the BBC might have felt it was sending a message that this programme was not suitable for young children.

Home video recorders were more common by 1984. So it was probably in 1984 that this happened (it's next to impossible to tell if this was 1979 or 1984). The BBC edited their copies of Star Trek to put the titles first followed by the teaser which ran into act one. This seems to have been done on the assumption that the BBC was not a commercial channel so it shouldn't use commercial tactics to hook viewers. Cutting and rejoining the film left a weak point which is why it snaps where it does. There's an example of how the BBC went straight into the opening titles here along with a nice slow fade from the BBC globe into the Star Trek stars; one continuity announcer seems to have been particularly fond of the way that looked. 

There is no obvious reason to explain why The Squire Of Gothos was held back.

The last episode of Star Trek to be shown on BBC1 was Who Mourns For Adonais? The channel was undergoing radical changes and the following week was a key moment in the BBC's history. On Monday 18th February BBC1 was relaunched with a new look, a simplified schedule with more programmes starting on the hour or half hour, and the chat show Wogan to anchor the evening schedule on Monday Wednesday and Friday, and soap opera EastEnders on Tuesday and Thursday. This new broom approach included moving Star Trek to BBC2. In itself not an unreasonable decision, the series was by now nearly 20 years old and most episodes had been shown five times, but it seemed to also mark a sea change in the BBC's attitude to science fiction. Before 1985 science fiction had been populist -Star Trek, Doctor Who, Blake's Seven, Doomwatch, Survivors, The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy- after 1985 it seems to have been regarded largely as a failed genre (see the cancellation of The Tripods, planned as a trilogy but cancelled because of poor ratings while the second series was still being made) suitable only for the "minority" channel BBC2. This was a decision which cast a long shadow and into the 1990s series like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Quantum Leap, and The X-Files premièred on BBC2 when they might otherwise have been seen on BBC1. Actually The X-Files became one of the few science fiction series to escape from BBC2. It made the transition to BBC1 in 1996 and amusingly BBC1 accidentally revived an old tradition. The first three episodes shown on the channel were in the wrong order. 

The week before the repeats kicked off on BBC2 the channel showed a special produced in 1983 called Leonard Nimoy: Star Trek Memories. According to Memory Alpha this special was often included in syndication packages to increase the number of episodes to 80. If the BBC was being supplied with syndication copies of episodes then it explains my surprise in 1990 when I discovered the VHS version of And The Children Shall Lead included a lengthy scene of Kirk in a cave on Triacus missing from the BBC2 repeat; listed as a syndication cut in The Nitpicker's Guide for Classic Trekkers. The regular repeats ran weekly on Thursday at 18.00. The BBC was now using Star Trek as counterprogramming to the hour of national and local news on BBC1. Exactly what happened to Star Trek when it first entered syndication in 1969.

A much more straightforward year in contrast to all the changes of 1985. Leonard Nimoy: Star Trek Memories was given a second repeat on Monday 2 June 1986 at 17.40. The one mystery of the year is the showing of The Galileo Seven on Tuesday 30 December. It's possible this was a delayed repeat after the showing on 9 October 1984 was postponed; that's what happened to Operation -- Annihilate! in 1982. However there's no obvious reason for why this could have happened. It's possible coverage of the 1984 Conservative Party Conference over ran but there's no evidence that this was the case. Nothing particularly newsworthy appears to have happened on 9 October 1984 which could have caused disruption to the schedule. 

Numbers in brackets below show the number of times each episode has been broadcast.

1984-06-26     18.40     BBC1     The Man Trap (5)
1984-07-03     18.40     BBC1     Charlie X (5)
1984-07-10     18.40     BBC1     Where No Man Has Gone Before (5)
1984-07-17     18.40     BBC1     The Naked Time (5)
1984-07-24     18.40     BBC1     The Enemy Within (5)
1984-07-30     19.10     BBC1     Mudd's Women (5)
1984-08-06     19.10     BBC1     What Are Little Girls Made Of? (5)
1984-08-13     19.10     BBC1     Dagger Of The Mind (5)
1984-08-20     18.45     BBC1     The Corbomite Maneuver (5)
1984-09-04     17.10     BBC1     The Menagerie Part I (5)
1984-09-11     17.10     BBC1     The Menagerie Part II (5)
1984-09-18     17.10     BBC1     The Conscience of the King (5)
1984-09-25     17.10     BBC1     Balance Of Terror (5)
1984-10-02     17.10     BBC1     Shore Leave (5)
1984-10-09     17.10     BBC1     The Galileo Seven (5)
1984-10-16     17.10     BBC1     Arena (5)
1984-10-23     17.10     BBC1     Tomorrow is Yesterday (5)
1984-10-30     17.10     BBC1     Court Martial (5)
1984-11-06     17.10     BBC1     Space Seed (5)
1984-11-13     17.10     BBC1     A Taste of Armageddon (5)
1984-11-20     17.10     BBC1     This Side of Paradise (5)
1984-11-27     17.10     BBC1     The Devil In The Dark (5)
1984-12-04     17.10     BBC1     Errand of Mercy (5)
1984-12-11     17.10     BBC1     The Alternative Factor (5)
1984-12-18     17.10     BBC1     The City On The Edge Of Forever (5) 

1985-01-09     18.55     BBC1     The Squire of Gothos (5)
1985-01-16     19.00     BBC1     The Return of the Archons (4)
1985-01-23     18.55     BBC1     Operation -- Annihilate! (5)
1985-02-06     18.55     BBC1     Amok Time (5)
1985-02-13     18.55     BBC1     Who Mourns For Adonais? (5)
1985-09-05     18.00     BBC2     The Changeling (5)
1985-09-12     18.00     BBC2     Mirror, Mirror (5)
1985-09-19     18.00     BBC2     The Apple (5)
1985-09-26     18.00     BBC2     The Doomsday Machine (5)
1985-10-03     18.00     BBC2     Catspaw (5)
1985-10-10     18.00     BBC2     I, Mudd (5)
1985-10-17     18.00     BBC2     Metamorphosis (5)
1985-10-24     18.00     BBC2     Journey To Babel (5)
1985-10-31     18.00     BBC2     Friday's Child (5)
1985-11-07     18.00     BBC2     The Deadly Years (4)
1985-11-14     18.00     BBC2     Obsession (4)
1985-11-21     18.00     BBC2     Wolf In The Fold (5)
1985-11-28     18.00     BBC2     The Trouble with Tribbles (5)
1985-12-05     18.00     BBC2     The Gamesters Of Triskelion (5)
1985-12-12     18.00     BBC2     A Piece Of The Action (5)
1985-12-19     18.00     BBC2     The Immunity Syndrome (5)

1986-01-09     18.00     BBC2     A Private Little War (4)
1986-01-16     18.00     BBC2     Return To Tomorrow (5)
1986-01-23     18.00     BBC2     Patterns Of Force (5)
1986-01-30     18.00     BBC2     By Any Other Name (4)
1986-02-06     18.00     BBC2     The Omega Glory (5)
1986-02-13     18.00     BBC2     The Ultimate Computer (5)
1986-02-20     18.00     BBC2     Bread And Circuses (5)
1986-02-27     18.00     BBC2     Assignment: Earth (5)
1986-03-06     18.00     BBC2     Spock's Brain (5)
1986-03-13     18.00     BBC2     The Enterprise Incident (5)
1986-03-20     18.00     BBC2     The Paradise Syndrome (5)
1986-03-27     18.00     BBC2     And the Children Shall Lead (5)
1986-04-03     18.00     BBC2     Is There in Truth No Beauty? (5)
1986-04-10     18.00     BBC2     Spectre of the Gun (5)
1986-09-04     18.00     BBC2     Day of the Dove (5)
1986-09-11     18.00     BBC2     For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky (5)
1986-09-18     18.00     BBC2     The Tholian Web (5)
1986-09-25     18.00     BBC2     Wink of an Eye (5)
1986-10-02     18.00     BBC2     Elaan of Troyius (5)
1986-10-09     18.00     BBC2     Let That Be Your Last Battlefield (5)
1986-10-16     18.00     BBC2     The Mark of Gideon (5)
1986-10-23     18.00     BBC2     That Which Survives (5)
1986-10-30     18.00     BBC2     The Lights of Zetar (5)
1986-11-13     18.00     BBC2     Requiem for Methuselah 5)
1986-11-20     18.00     BBC2     The Way to Eden (5)
1986-11-27     18.00     BBC2     The Cloud Minders (5)
1986-12-04     18.00     BBC2     The Savage Curtain (5)
1986-12-11     18.00     BBC2     All Our Yesterdays (5) 
1986-12-18     18.00     BBC2     Turnabout Intruder (5)
1986-12-30     18.00     BBC2     The Galileo Seven (6) 

1986-11-06: No Star Trek. All week the BBC was marking its 50th anniversary with archive repeats. On Thursday 6 from 18.00 you could have watched episodes of What's My Line?, Z Cars, Bruce Forsyth and The Generation Game, The Royal Ballet in The Firebird, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and Blue Remembered Hills.

*"Road accidents are the single biggest killer for people aged between 4 and 45. Accident statistics show that we are all likely to be injured on the road at some time in our lives.
One in three corpses dragged from a crashed car was 'drunk".'
Today the same is still true.... The wearing of front seat belts has brought the figures down to their lowest level in 30 years - 'the best piece of public health legislation this century'. It shows what can be done. But there are still 75,000 deaths and serious injuries each year. Why is this epidemic allowed to continue? Does no one care about the thousands of needless killings, twisted bodies, crippled minds ... because 'it'll never happen to me'? The carnage could be cut in half -this film shows how. "