Monday, December 1, 2014

Star Trek On The BBC: 1974 to 1976

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

For the first time since 1969 Star Trek was used as a between series substitute for Doctor Who. Series 11 of Doctor Who finished on Saturday 8 June and Star Trek repeats resumed the following Monday; 10 June. A measly 10 episodes were repeated, well down on 1973's massive 49 week block of repeats, but this was because the BBC had a new programme to schedule; Star Trek: The Animated Series.
The Galileo Seven was the last episode of the block of 10 (again note how the BBC tends to stop and start Star Trek according to its own made up series order, The Galileo Seven was the final episode of the BBCs made up "series one" in 1969) and Star Trek: The Animated Series began the following Saturday; 31 August. It comes as no surprise to discover the BBC rejected both production order, and US broadcast order, in favour of a random order of its own devising.

Star Trek: The Animated Series led straight into a series of Christmas repeats of the live action series called Holiday Star Trek (it's tempting to imagine the BBC added holly to the logo and sleigh bells over the theme music). Holiday Star Trek was broadcast in the morning, just before midday, along with other child-friendly programming. Four years ago the BBC was withdrawing Star Trek episodes because of concerns over their content, now it is seen as suitable for children. The content hasn't changed, but the constant repeats have blunted its impact. The first episode shown at 11.25 is The Enemy Within which features bad Kirk's attempted sexual assault on Yeoman Rand. Merry Christmas! It is of course possible the early repeats were edited for unsuitable content, but there is no way to tell beyond noting that the Radio Times listings show the repeats of The Enemy Within and Court Martial occupied a 45 minute slot. Even this could just be the BBC being vague on the running time. Look at the episode durations of Doctor Who episodes and you'll be amazed at the amount of variation the BBC would allow in a programme supposed to fill a 25 minute slot each week.

Holiday Star Trek carried on into the new year and then the repeats took a break until the new series of Doctor Who had finished. As in 1974 repeats of the live action series were followed by Star Trek: The Animated Series but this year the cartoon was moved out of the early evening slot and relegated to early on Saturday morning; presumably it hadn't achieved the same level of popularity. This time round the Radio Times does not print episode titles, another sign that the animated series was no longer held in the same regard, so all we can tell is that the animated series ran in a block from 27 September to 29 November. Holiday Star Trek must have been a success, the branded repeats returned for Christmas 1975. Included in the Christmas 1975 repeats was Dagger Of The Mind. At one point the BBC seemed reluctant to repeat this episode, now it can be shown, apparently unedited, in a fifty minute slot at 11.40 in the morning.

By now the BBC had settled into a routine. The repeats were put on hold after Christmas until the current series of Doctor Who had finished. The exception was Star Trek: The Animated Series, now firmly scheduled for children at 16.45 in the BBC's post-school slot. Six episodes were shown between 6 January and 10 February. It's possible this was the animated series' six episode season two but without episode titles there is no way to tell.

1976 was the year the BBC wound down its repeats of the live action series. There would be no repeats at all in 1977. In 1969 it looks as if the BBC bought the rights to show each episode of Star Trek three times over an eight year period. When And The Children Shall Lead was bumped for Easter Monday programming on 19 April it was quickly slotted back into the schedule in July as if it needed to be shown as soon as possible. This turned out to be the week after Turnabout Intruder, which would otherwise have been the last episode repeated.

Except, the BBC unexpectedly transmitted The Return Of The Archons the week after And The Children Shall Lead. This was an episode which had not been broadcast since 1969. It's well known that complaints about Miri in 1970 resulted in the BBC never showing it again until 1992, and also led to three other episodes being pulled; Plato's Stepchildren, The Empath and Whom God's Destroy. In the wake of this the BBC also did not repeat Dagger Of The Mind and The Return Of The Archons but, for whatever reason, when the BBC put these two episodes to one side it did not classify them as unsuitable in the way it did for Miri, Plato's Stepchildren, The Empath and Whom God's Destroy. In 1973 the BBC finally repeated Dagger Of The Mind
in place of Miri. Now as the BBC's rights to show Star Trek came to an end someone appears to have found The Return Of The Archons sitting on the shelf and decided to tuck it in at the end of the repeat run. This is pure speculation but I've already noted how the constant repeats have made otherwise controversial material seem familiar and safe, hence the repeats of The Enemy Within and Dagger Of The Mind in the Christmas Holiday Star Trek slot. If the festival material had originally made the BBC nervous about repeating The Return Of The Archons then by 1976 it was clearly regarded as typical Star Trek. Considering the rest of the series had already been repeated three times, the sudden appearance of an episode unseen since 1969 must have been like watching a brand new story.

In the table below the number in brackets shows how many times each story has been broadcast. If there is no number then it's the first time an episode has been shown.

1974-06-10    19.20    The Corbomite Maneuver  (3)
1974-06-17    19.20    Balance Of Terror (3)
1974-07-10    18.50    The Squire Of Gothos (3)
1974-07-17    18.55    What Are Little Girls Made Of? (3)
1974-07-24    18.50    Arena (3)
1974-07-31    18.50    This Side Of Paradise (3)
1974-08-07    18.50    The Doomsday Machine (3)
1974-08-14    18.50    Errand Of Mercy (3)
1974-08-21    18.55    The Conscience Of The King (3)
1974-08-28    18.50    The Galileo Seven (3)

1974-08-31    17.10    Once Upon a Planet
1974-09-07    18.35    The Jihad
1974-09-14    17.05    The Infinite Vulcan
1974-09-21    17.05    The Magicks of Megus-Tu
1974-09-28    17.15    More Tribbles, More Troubles
1974-10-05    17.05    The Survivor
1974-10-19    17.05    Beyond The Farthest Star
1974-10-26    17.05    Yesteryear
1974-11-02    17.05    One Of Our Planets Is Missing
1974-11-09    17.45    Mudd's Passion
1974-11-16    17.05    The Time Trap
1974-11-23    17.05    The Terratin Incident
1974-11-30    17.05    The Ambergris Element
1974-12-07    17.05    The Slaver Weapon
1974-12-14    17.15    Eye Of The Beholder
1974-12-22    13.30    The Lorelei Signal

1974-12-23    11.25    The Enemy Within (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1974-12-24    11.05    Court Martial (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1974-12-26    09:40    Catspaw (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1974-12-27    11.40    Who Mourns for Adonais? (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1974-12-30    11.45    The Apple (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1974-12-31    11.45    Metamorphosis (3) [Holiday Star Trek]

1975-01-01    10.55    Wolf In The Fold (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-01-02    11.45    The Changeling (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-01-03    11.45    The Trouble with Tribbles (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-05-19    19.25    Bread And Circuses (3)
1975-06-02    18.50    Journey To Babel (3)
1975-06-09    18.50    Return To Tomorrow (3)
1975-06-16    18.50    I, Mudd (3)
1975-06-23    19.20    Patterns Of Force (3)
1975-06-30    19.20    The Immunity Syndrome (3)
1975-07-07    19.20    The Omega Glory (3)
1975-07-14    19.10    A Piece of the Action (3)
1975-07-21    19.10    The Ultimate Computer (3)
1975-07-28    19.10    Friday's Child (3)
1975-08-04    19.10    Assignment: Earth (3)
1975-08-11    19.10    Mirror, Mirror (3)
1975-08-18    19.10    The Gamesters of Triskelion (3)
1975-12-20    10.35    Wink Of An Eye (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-12-21    12.00    Let That Be Your Last Battlefield  (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-12-22    11.40    Amok Time (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-12-23    11.40    Dagger Of The Mind (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-12-24    11.40    Operation -- Annihilate! (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-12-26    10.05    The Paradise Syndrome (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-12-28    11.40    The Cloud Minders (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-12-29    11.25    Requiem for Methuselah  (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-12-30    11.25    All Our Yesterdays (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1975-12-31    11.20    Day of the Dove  (3) [Holiday Star Trek]

1976-01-01    11.00    Spectre of the Gun  (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1976-01-02    11.10    The Way To Eden (3) [Holiday Star Trek]
1976-04-05    19.25    Elaan of Troyius (3)
1976-04-12    19.25    The Enterprise Incident (3)
1976-04-26    19.25    Spock's Brain (3)
1976-05-03    19.25    Is There in Truth no Beauty? (3)
1976-05-10    19.25    For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky (3)
1976-05-17    19.25    That Which Survives (3)
1976-05-24    19.25    The Mark Of Gideon (3)
1976-06-07    19.25    The Lights Of Zetar (3)
1976-06-14    19.20    The Savage Curtain (3)
1976-06-21    19.25    The Tholian Web (3)
1976-06-28    19.25    The Alternative Factor (3)
1976-07-05    19.25    Turnabout Intruder (3)
1976-07-12    19.20    And The Children Shall Lead (3)
1976-07-19    19.25    The Return Of The Archons (2)


1974-10-12: No Star Trek: The Animated Series this week. The 1974 Horse Of The Year Show was broadcast at 21.40. Making space for this programme seems to have disrupted the whole evening's schedule.

1974-12-22: Shown at Sunday lunchtime. The day before the early evening Saturday slot had been filled by a Christmas edition of Disney Time.

1974-12-27: A good day for science-fiction fans. Star Trek at 11.40, and an omnibus repeat of Planet Of The Spiders at 14.45.

1975-12-27: A Saturday. No Holiday Star Trek although the repeats ran on Friday 26 and Sunday 28 December. There was a repeat of the Doctor Who story Genesis Of The Daleks on the afternoon of 27th. Was the BBC trying to avoid repeating the two science-fiction series on the same day?

1976-04-19: Easter Bank Holiday Monday, Star Trek was replaced by the film version of Dad's Army.
1976-07-05: Another good day for science-fiction fans. A repeat of part one of the Doctor Who story Planet Of Evil at 18.35 plus Star Trek at 19.25

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