Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

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Focus II
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Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Focus II »

I've been enjoying early episodes of this on Netflix including some episodes I've never seen before. Full marks to Netflix for maintaining the correct and original aspect ratio.

This got me thinking about the BBC transmissions during the '70s. These always commenced with the start title sequence, the BBC 1 Colour globe slowly fading into the galaxy while later transfers have a taster before the opening titles. I'm wondering if the BBC went as far as to edit the film prints around? All episodes shown also omitted the end Desilu or Paramount ident at the end.

It would seem most unlikely the BBC would've re-edited each film print this way, but do recall the edits made to "Boss Cat". I can still hear the jump at the end theme to edit out the word "Top Cat".

Would be interesting to hear from someone who remembers how they originally went out in the US?

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by John Williams »

Yes - the BBC did edit the episodes to put the "taster" after the credits.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by groovy69 »

The 35mm film prints of Star Trek were indeed physically edited to place the title sequence first. From memory, they were also edited to remove the fades to black at the commercial break points if possible. I think the policy was to make US programming appear more like home grown product in terms of format. i.e. titles first and no breaks. They made others cuts like Spock hitting the alien (in female form) with both hands in The Man Trap.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Spiny Norman »

groovy69 wrote:the fades to black at the commercial break points
Ah, the fade to black for commercial break! How used you become to some things that ought to seem really strange editing decisions!
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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by TVT_Dave »

I don't remember the original films being 35mm. I worked in the dubbing projection area at TVC during 1968 and just round the corner were preview theatres. I saw a couple of the first series when they were being shown there and they weren't on 35mm. Also, sometime during the 70's, my old school wanted the opening title sound (Space the final frontier etc) for a review, so I got hold of an episode to lift the track, and was sent a 16 mm comopt print.

As to the earlier comment about the opening titles being cross faded from the channel ident, I have read somewhere that this caused problem in the regions (who were putting out their own regional ID at the junction) as they couldn't go back to network from London until the crossfade had been completed. This made the junction look messy in the regions!
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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by JezR »

On at least one occasion the film broke on transmission on a splice of the rearranged opening. A example of one of these is available in an easily accessible place - sprocket holes on show.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Bob Richardson »

TVT_Dave wrote:
As to the earlier comment about the opening titles being cross faded from the channel ident, I have read somewhere that this caused problem in the regions (who were putting out their own regional ID at the junction) as they couldn't go back to network from London until the crossfade had been completed. This made the junction look messy in the regions!
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Absolutely correct Dave. The Nations & Regions hated that slow mix from the symbol into the opening starfield. They didn't have their own print, or clean feed, so regional announcers had to stay on their own symbol in Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham etc until the London symbol had completely gone before they could cut to London vision. Every week they would ask for a cut or a very quick mix, but the London Network Directors would sometimes simply ignore this request.

One of the oddities with "Star Trek" which always puzzled me was the variable durations on the TX forms. There was a section on the form in which previous TX dates and durations were listed, and they were all over the place. Not just a few seconds out, but 42'12", 44'19", 43'50" etc. I never understood why they were re-edited so often, but these peculiar discrepancies occurred with most episodes.
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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Mark »

Some of you may find this of interest, quite nostalgic, you can even listen to the original BBC 1 trail for it.

Scroll down the page for "Star Trek" on the BBC

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Focus II »

Thanks very much for the feedback. Fascinating! The BBC were still using these prints in the mid '80s, although shown on BBC 2.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Mark »

The BBC 1 trail sounds interesting (must have seen it at the time, as I easily recall part 10 of "The War Games", but not the trail) it would seem to have consisted of mute clips with the announcer and what sounds like a library track...possibly "Fantasy In Orbit".

Also of note is an apparent unscheduled repeat on the Saturday morning of May 1 1982, opposite an LWT screening of "Space 1999", "Death's Other Dominion", with the cartoon getting kicked off.
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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Brian F »

Strange about editing out fades to black as I have read that B&W Dr Who episodes had fades to black in them so when sold to countries with commercial TV they could fit in advert breaks.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by groovy69 »

TVT_Dave wrote:I don't remember the original films being 35mm. I worked in the dubbing projection area at TVC during 1968 and just round the corner were preview theatres. I saw a couple of the first series when they were being shown there and they weren't on 35mm. Also, sometime during the 70's, my old school wanted the opening title sound (Space the final frontier etc) for a review, so I got hold of an episode to lift the track, and was sent a 16 mm comopt print.
That ties up with the fact that the series wasn't shown here until July 1969. While assessing a potential purchase by the programme acquisition department, they would have been sent 16mm prints to view. Once it was decided to go ahead, an order for 35mm prints would be made for the actual transmission. On certain series (generally half hour comedies) this latter ordering stage for 35mm didn't always happen, so UK viewers ended up watching 16mm copies of certain series such as MASH, The Monkees, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple etc as the 16mm prints were much cheaper if not free.

Star Trek was always broadcast from 35mm film prints up until 1986. When it returned after 6 years in 1992 for the first time the broadcasts were made from tape and those tapes had been derived from NTSC converted analogue 1" masters. Anyone that saw it was dismayed at the soft, smeary pictures after being used to nothing but direct 35mm images for years. VT staff complained but nothing much happened until someone higher up pointed out that Sky were also showing Star Trek and they had the lovely crisp pictures of old. It was found they had done a deal and had had the old BBC prints transferred giving them better quality compared with the new tape masters that had been bought in. The situation was fairly quickly rectified after that!

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by groovy69 »

Brian F wrote:Strange about editing out fades to black as I have read that B&W Dr Who episodes had fades to black in them so when sold to countries with commercial TV they could fit in advert breaks.
The fades to black in 1960s Doctor Who episodes would be down to the studio recording blocks and cut editing techniques of the 2" Quad tapes in those days. The edit was hidden where possible in the fade to black as it would often cause a slight picture twitch. The production wouldn't have concerned themselves with how overseas stations handled their commercial breaks.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Brock »

Bob Richardson wrote:The Nations & Regions hated that slow mix from the symbol into the opening starfield.
Since the entire country apart from London and the south-east received regional continuity at the time, this means that the effect would only ever have been seen by a minority of viewers. (I certainly never saw it.) Why did the BBC go to the expense of creating it?

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by TVT_Dave »

To answer Brock - Why did the BBC go to the expense of creating a mix through from channel ID to the Startrek titles?

Well there wasn't any 'expense' - it was done by the vision mixer in the appropriate Network Control as a cross fade from the ID to the TK/VT channel.
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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Duncan »

groovy69 wrote:
Brian F wrote:Strange about editing out fades to black as I have read that B&W Dr Who episodes had fades to black in them so when sold to countries with commercial TV they could fit in advert breaks.
The fades to black in 1960s Doctor Who episodes would be down to the studio recording blocks and cut editing techniques of the 2" Quad tapes in those days. The edit was hidden where possible in the fade to black as it would often cause a slight picture twitch. The production wouldn't have concerned themselves with how overseas stations handled their commercial breaks.
Well I'm pretty sure that I've read that the fades were indeed meant for overseas adverts, and this would have been in a DWM so would have been written by an authority such as Andrew Pixley.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by ian b »

Yes, isn't there a contemporary production memo from someone reminding directors about the required length of the "black gap"?

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Richard Bignell »

ian b wrote:Yes, isn't there a contemporary memo from someone reminding directors about the required length of the "black gap"?
Not the length, but during the 1960s, directors were instructed to insert two fade-to-black points in each episode to "facilitate Television Enterprises" (i.e. to allow for advert breaks for overseas stations). This was in the basic written instructions given to directors by the production office when they began pre-production.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by groovy69 »

Richard Bignell wrote:
ian b wrote:Yes, isn't there a contemporary memo from someone reminding directors about the required length of the "black gap"?
Not the length. but during the 1960s, directors were instructed to insert two fade-to-black points in each episode to "facilitate Television Enterprises" (i.e. to allow for advert breaks for overseas stations). This was in the basic written instructions given to directors by the production office when they began pre-production.
Well there you go... that is interesting. The fades certainly would have coincided with a recording break though and probable edit point.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Spiny Norman »

Fade to black just isn't the same when it isn't predeced by a zoom/close-up on the face of the lead actor and a bit of dramatic music.
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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

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groovy69 wrote:
TVT_Dave wrote:I don't remember the original films being 35mm. I worked in the dubbing projection area at TVC during 1968 and just round the corner were preview theatres. I saw a couple of the first series when they were being shown there and they weren't on 35mm. Also, sometime during the 70's, my old school wanted the opening title sound (Space the final frontier etc) for a review, so I got hold of an episode to lift the track, and was sent a 16 mm comopt print.
That ties up with the fact that the series wasn't shown here until July 1969. While assessing a potential purchase by the programme acquisition department, they would have been sent 16mm prints to view. Once it was decided to go ahead, an order for 35mm prints would be made for the actual transmission. On certain series (generally half hour comedies) this latter ordering stage for 35mm didn't always happen, so UK viewers ended up watching 16mm copies of certain series such as MASH, The Monkees, Laverne & Shirley, The Odd Couple etc as the 16mm prints were much cheaper if not free.

Star Trek was always broadcast from 35mm film prints up until 1986. When it returned after 6 years in 1992 for the first time the broadcasts were made from tape and those tapes had been derived from NTSC converted analogue 1" masters. Anyone that saw it was dismayed at the soft, smeary pictures after being used to nothing but direct 35mm images for years. VT staff complained but nothing much happened until someone higher up pointed out that Sky were also showing Star Trek and they had the lovely crisp pictures of old. It was found they had done a deal and had had the old BBC prints transferred giving them better quality compared with the new tape masters that had been bought in. The situation was fairly quickly rectified after that!

This is all fascinating reading guys. I still have my VHS recordings of the BBC1 and 2 showings, all 35mm as you say. No VHS machine to play them in right now though..lol

I had no idea the BBC had tampered with the title sequence to Star Trek until I visited the US and saw the beginning of an episode on a channel there which began with the teaser (it was the one that started with a wedding ceremony, and then the red alert went off).

Next is to get to the bottom of why all the third season stories were so heavily edited. I'm slowly researching all the airdates and am hoping to spot any patterns. It is also strange that the edits were never restored and subsequent broadcasts were always the same. Perhaps these were syndication copies supplied to the BBC in an edited form?

There appears to be some censorship issues with certain episodes from the earlier seasons, but third season was consistently cut which suggests another reason. Any ideas?

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Juswuh »

Worth noting that of the four episodes that weren't shown on the BBC for years, three were from the third season.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by rosalyn »

Juswuh wrote:Worth noting that of the four episodes that weren't shown on the BBC for years, three were from the third season.
If you go to this page Juswuh and scroll down to the BBC letter, it explains why those four episodes were dropped.

http://scifi.stackexchange.com/question ... n-censored

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by wiggy »

One of the four was shown once, Miri, I saw it at the time.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by fatcat »

I think the teasers were removed for the early 1970s showings because at that time it was in a 45 minute slot (as opposed to the usual 50 min slot) and all superfluous material such as ad break fade outs had to go, but where the fade out was used in it's proper filmic context,such as showing a disconnection of time or scene these were kept.. IIRC

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by ctraynor »

I remember the first run from July to December 1969 on Saturday teatimes. They definitely showed (as mentioned in a post further up) Spock hitting Nancy with both hands in The Man Trap, and the original broadcast of Charlie X (either '69 or 1970) definitely had the woman's face blanked by Charlie so she couldn't breathe.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by rosalyn »

fatcat wrote:I think the teasers were removed for the early 1970s showings because at that time it was in a 45 minute slot (as opposed to the usual 50 min slot) and all superfluous material such as ad break fade outs had to go, but where the fade out was used in it's proper filmic context,such as showing a disconnection of time or scene these were kept.. IIRC
Hello fatcat. The teasers for ST were never removed for timing. They were relocated after the opening titles so it went titles/teaser/act 1, when the programme was actually assembled as teaser/titles/act one.

Also the earliest BBC broadcasts which were between July 1969 and April 1971 were shown in a 50-minute slot. The first episodes actually advertised as being in a 45-minute slot began in September 1971. I imagine this is where all the editing started. Many of the 45-minute versions in this, and the next run as well, were from the first and second series. The BBC must have either restored the films for these or replaced them later on as most of them were shown in full during the 1978 run and the run after it in 1984. It's the third series that appears to have been continually shown edited with very few of the cut films actually being replaced along the way.

Commander Traynor, you have brought back vivid memories about that scene with the woman's face in Charlie X being cut from at least one of the repeats. Probably one of the many censorship cuts the BBC made to ST along the way.

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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Private Frazer »

I just watched the 'Transporting Trek into the 21st Century' extra on The Original Series DVD box set. Does anyone else think that cleaning up the video is all that should have been done? I don't want anything changed from the original TV transmissions. I only got this set for the extras.
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Re: Star Trek- Original BBC transmissions

Post by Mark »

Yes, I agree with you, that's why I only have the first sets, it certainly mucks up the nostalgia factor, which is obviously an important element for those of us that recall the original broadcasts.

I have seen one or two of the re-done ones on a Sat channel, but the updated scenes stick out like a sore thumb and it's a tricky watch.

Are the extras on the new sets any good?
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