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)

1 comment:

  1. Just re-reading this series - still such terrific work, thanks for compiling it all! So many memories of frustrating sport-related schedule bumps...

    You mentioned Mirror Mirror disappearing during the 06/07 run, but it actually was shown on November 28th - over on BBC 4, as part of their Parallel Worlds night.