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.

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