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

1990

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
Justice
The Battle
The Battle
Haven
Hide And Q
Justice
Haven
Hide And Q
The Big Goodbye
Too Short a Season
Datalore
The Big Goodbye
Angel One
Datalore
11001001
Angel One
Too Short a Season
11001001
When The Bough Breaks
Home Soil
Home Soil
When The Bough Breaks
Coming Of Age
Coming Of Age
Heart Of Glory
Symbiosis
The Arsenal of Freedom
The Arsenal of Freedom
Symbiosis
Heart Of Glory
Skin Of Evil
Skin Of Evil
We'll Always Have Paris
We'll Always Have Paris
Conspiracy
Conspiracy
The Neutral Zone
The Neutral Zone

1991

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.

1992

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.

1993

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.

1994

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

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)

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