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 Posted:   Jul 13, 2010 - 10:40 PM   
 By:   Heath   (Member)

I always loved Trek as a kid, but never got to see some episodes until the early 1990s. I seem to remember hearing that the BBC, who used to have the monopoly on Star Trek TOS broadcasts, banned or heavily edited the following episodes for the reasons stated:

Miri - banned for being too distressing

Whom God's Destroy - banned for being rubbish (in the BBC's eyes)

Plato's Stepchildren - banned, but not for the inter-racial kiss, rather for being rubbish


The following were censored, I'm assuming, for the violent or disturbing content.


Enemy Within - Censored. Kirk's attempted rape of Janice was almost completely removed.

Man Trap - Censored. Spock laying double fisted punches on Nancy was cut as were all of the shots of the vampire creature's true appearance as it attacked Shatner.

The Lights Of Zetar - Censored. The shot of the dying woman suddenly turning green while talking guttural alien gibberish.

There may have been other examples, but these ones come to mind. So can anyone shed some light on this? Was it true that the BBC got the scissors out for these reasons?

Personally, I think Whom God's Destroy and Plato's Stepchildren were indeed rubbish, but no worse than, for example, Spock's Brain which was broadcast in full from day one. I'm not surprised the rape scene in Enemy Within was cut as it's pretty strong even today. Perhaps I can even understand censoring the horrific elements in Man Trap and Lights Of Zetar (I saw the green woman moment in Zetar for the first time when I was in my twenties and it scared the shit out of me). But what was so distressing about Miri? And why did the BBC decide to show ALL of these episodes complete and uncut in the early ninties... and right in the middle of the afternoon!

Opinions? Facts? Anyone?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 13, 2010 - 10:59 PM   
 By:   Lee S   (Member)

I am not from the UK, so I can only speak as an outsider. I had always understood, however, that The Empath was banned during the same period on the BBC. Also, I understood that Miri aired once in the original run and was banned thereafter. I honestly don't think the selections were critical reactions to the quality of the shows; all the banned episodes have graphic scenes of torture in them. Perhaps that violated a BBC policy? On the other hand, The Cloudminders and Mirror, Mirror also have torture scenes, so maybe there's a subtlety that escapes me.

My guess about their restoration in the 1990s would depend on the gap in airings...when was the last time they had aired? Perhaps the torture scenes didn't seem so horrible after 15 or 20 years of television violence? Can UK fans of other shows that had similar scenes (e.g. Mission: Impossible) tell us if any of those episodes were banned at the same time?

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 12:52 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

It's true - as well as the BBC not running "The Empath," "Miri" and "Whom Gods Destroy" during their original run of the series and for many years thereafter (Star Trek: The Next Generation also had at least one episode dropped by the Beeb - "The High Ground," due to references to Ireland being reunited. And it did not feel so good for the powers that be), episodes of this and other shows were (and are) edited for content depending on what time of the day they're shown, and sometimes not.

Among numerous other US shows that fell victim to UK TV censorship:

The Simpsons - possibly cut when BBC2 ran it, certainly snipped now it's on Channel 4. Sky also gets the scissors out from time to time, such as removing Groundskeeper Willie's opinion of the new tractors from all subsequent airings of "Fraudcast News" after the premiere... and the episode "The Cartridge Family" is the only one that Sky didn't run before terrestrial TV, allegedly because of its pro-gun stance - in which case they should never have run 24!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - screened by BBC2 at 6:45pm and prone to cutting, such as the hand gestures made by Buffy, Spike and Anya in "Hush" - the late night "uncut" repeats reportedly weren't! (In fairness to the Beeb, Sky 1's afternoon repeats also cut them.)

Gilmore girls. (You heard me.) This went through two different cable channels over here initially, first Nickelodeon (the only hour-long show to date that's aired on Nick UK) and then Hallmark, and not only did neither of them show the complete run but both were prone to censoring it. Especially Nickelodeon, which not only edited for content but was also quite happy to drop entire episodes (such as the one where Paris had a breakdown on C-SPAN). mad Even E4, which has aired the complete series, cuts them so I'm told.

Tiny Toon Adventures. (See previous parenthesis.) At least one episode has been cut that I know of - the episode "Animaniacs!," presumably so Children's ITV viewers wouldn't try to imitate the bit where Bugs, Daffy and Porky try to escape Shirley the Loon's massively long cartoon and get a massive electric shock from the doorknob ("Like, this year we're keeping the judges INside for a change!").

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 12:56 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

And on a more violent tack, the BBC aired Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and toned down the ninja violence. (Curiously, they also screened all three live-action movies under their proper titles!)

 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 2:52 AM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

It seems like the UK and European state-sponsored media over-protect their people to the point of brainwashing.

I would support rules against modern torture porn (SAW, etc), but 1960s STAR TREK was very mild. Is it that the governments in question want their people to be milder still? The governing class might want to make the general population into soft, meek, pacifists who would never rise up against their rulers. It's easier to supervise the meek.

The item that grates the most is "Miri - banned for being too distressing." For some reason that really annoys me. Hence my theory of sinister motives.

It's like the plot in SERENITY where a planetary colony was chemically pacified by the government.

I admit, I would be tempted to ban "Plato's Stepchildren" on the grounds of pure embarrassment. Spock does a flamingo dance around Kirk's head, sings a bad song, and weeps. Both he and Kirk have to wear mini-length togas with no pants. It's pretty bad.

 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 5:36 AM   
 By:   welwynfilmstudios   (Member)


It's like the plot in SERENITY where a planetary colony was chemically pacified by the government.



Sounds more and more like something out of Blakes 7.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 5:36 AM   
 By:   Lee S   (Member)

In fairness, CBS refused to air Living in Harmony during either of its two showings of The Prisoner. NBC refused to air The Sorcerer's Apprentice on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. True, it's a slightly different situation because the BBC is a government-run body, but there was content-based censorship based on pretty strict rules here, too. According to Norman Lear, Mike's Problem, an All in the Family episode concerning impotence was nearly scrapped, but CBS relented after a fight and a threat to quit by Lear. Does anyone know of other episodes produced but not aired by a US network? (Not unaired leftovers of a canceled show...episodes scrapped for content.)

 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 5:38 AM   
 By:   welwynfilmstudios   (Member)

I always loved Trek as a kid, but never got to see some episodes until the early 1990s. I seem to remember hearing that the BBC, who used to have the monopoly on Star Trek TOS broadcasts, banned or heavily edited the following episodes for the reasons stated:

Miri - banned for being too distressing

Whom God's Destroy - banned for being rubbish (in the BBC's eyes)

Plato's Stepchildren - banned, but not for the inter-racial kiss, rather for being rubbish




I believe back in the early days of VHS, these episodes were released in the UK by CIC Video with a label stating they were banned episodes.

 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 6:46 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

It seems like the UK and European state-sponsored media over-protect their people to the point of brainwashing.



COME ON! (No offense, but that belongs in the 'If Stephen Hawking had been born in the UK, (he's English!) he'd 've been left to die by a death squad' bracket of propaganda fantasy.) This was in the 1960s, and nowadays the Beeb allows stuff you'd never get on late-night US regular stations.

If I remember correctly, 'Star Trek' was first broadcast in maybe 1969 (years later than in the US) on Saturday afternoons. That's the classic sci-fi kid's spot, and although they billed it as 'adult, intellectual' sci-fi they had to cope with that. Series 2 and 3, for some reason I recall aired on Monday nights? at peak time. It was always understood this was a programme that children would be attracted to.

I can't believe I actually went ot the trouble to write a little letter to the BBC when I was about 13, after one of the series was to be axed, and they wrote me back a very kind letter referring to my particular personal queries and told me they'd be bringing it back!

Regular small cuts are made for the pre-9:00pm watershed. For instance Sean Connery's line in 'Robin and Marian' to Richard Harris, 'YOU do it!: YOU're a bloody bastard!', is cut if the film is shown before 9, and I noticed Draco's great line, 'You could eat her blood raw if you wanted to' was cut from 'The War Lord'. The cuts tend to be miniscule, but relate to films that children might be drawn to, before 9.00 pm..

By the way, the bit about 'Ireland reunited' would've been cut from TNG, not because of some totalitarian Big Brother agenda, but because the IRA were doing some pretty nasty things to innocent people in the '80s (Warrington etc..) and the Beeb AND other stations were sensitive to any outrage the PUBLIC might feel at handing them an uninformed platform for publicity. Those were sensitive times, and there was still a lobbying level of naivete in America about all that in those days, so it could have been easily misconceived by some of the public. I'd imagine the original screenplay's innocent intent was just in keeping with the 'all conflicts resolved in Utopia' agenda the show had.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 8:11 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

I knew the facts behind all this at one time, but I've forgotten them. I'm pretty sure however that no episodes from the original series of STAR TREK were banned for being "too rubbish". I vaguely remember that "Miri" (?) wasn't shown because of its use of children in adult roles or something. You can imagine. I think the BBC also used to start each episode with the titles and THEN do the pre-credits sequence (or maybe omit it altogether)? Sorry, brain a bit blurred.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 8:16 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

This was in the 1960s, and nowadays the Beeb allows stuff you'd never get on late-night US regular stations.

If you mean more graphic serial killer stuff, then include me out...

 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 8:19 AM   
 By:   welwynfilmstudios   (Member)

I think the BBC also used to start each episode with the titles and THEN do the pre-credits sequence (or maybe omit it altogether)? Sorry, brain a bit blurred.

Yes they did.

 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 8:22 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)


If you mean more graphic serial killer stuff, then include me out...


Yes, me too, but my point is that there was no 'nanny' 1984 thing going on. There are all these misconceptions that fit certain lines. All the cuts were basic 'child protection' cuts deemed right in the sixties. (I'm talking more about humour and language then violence anyway.)

I don't remember that thing about the prologues being shown after the titles. Hard to remember. Certainly not in series 2 and 3 in the '70s.

 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 8:25 AM   
 By:   welwynfilmstudios   (Member)


By the way, the bit about 'Ireland reunited' would've been cut from TNG, not because of some totalitarian Big Brother agenda, but because the IRA were doing some pretty nasty things to innocent people in the '80s (Warrington etc..) and they were sensitive to any outrage the PUBLIC might feel at handing them an uninformed platform for publicity. Those were sensitive times, and there was still a lobbying level of naivete in America about all that in those days, so it could have been easily misconceived by some of the public. I'd imagine the original screenplay's innocent intent was just in keeping with the 'all conflicts resolved in Utopia' agenda the show had.


Originally, the plot was intended to have parallels to the American Revolution, but writer Melinda Snodgrass was told to change the analogy to Northern Ireland, a change she was very unhappy about. "I wanted it with Picard as Cornwallis and the Romulans would have been the French, who were in our revolution, trying to break this planet away. Suddenly Picard realized he's one of the oppressors. Instead, we do 'Breakfast in Belfast,' where our people decide they're going to go off to Northern Ireland." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)

http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_High_Ground

 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 8:32 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)


Originally, the plot was intended to have parallels to the American Revolution, but writer Melinda Snodgrass was told to change the analogy to Northern Ireland, a change she was very unhappy about. "I wanted it with Picard as Cornwallis and the Romulans would have been the French, who were in our revolution, trying to break this planet away. Suddenly Picard realized he's one of the oppressors. Instead, we do 'Breakfast in Belfast,' where our people decide they're going to go off to Northern Ireland." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)

http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/The_High_Ground



Thanks for that. I don't recall ever seeing that one! Maybe I watched the series at the wrong time! It doesn't seem to be terrorist-sympathetic anyway.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 9:24 AM   
 By:   Lee S   (Member)

Along these lines, TVLand, the U.S. cable network, was airing Barney Miller about 10 years ago. After the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001, all episodes relating to bombs or bombings (5 or 6 of them) were removed from the rotation and never restored.

 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 10:43 AM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

Censuring the 1960's 'Star Trek' seems positively quaint, and only goes to show how much has changed since those relatively innocent days. Prime time in the US was filled with "Rowan & Martin", "Smothers Brothers" and "Green Acres"... almost a different planet as compared to today's "CSI : everywhere" and a host of other explicit shows.

It has always perplexed me why nudity is soooooo taboo on TV, but the level of graphic violence continues to ratchet up. I thought the writing for the first season of Heroes was quite novel and interesting, but was surprised at the levels they pushed the envelope for the violence. Not a boob in sight however. smile

 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 5:34 PM   
 By:   ZapBrannigan   (Member)

COME ON! (No offense, but that belongs in the 'If Stephen Hawking had been born in the UK, (he's English!) he'd 've been left to die by a death squad' bracket of propanda fantasy.) This was in the 1960s, and nowadays the Beeb allows stuff you'd never get on late-night US regular stations.

From the original post, I thought that the censorship of ST TOS was a current affair.
Nevertheless, I stand by my disinformation.

 
 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 6:09 PM   
 By:   Michael24   (Member)

And on a more violent tack, the BBC aired Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and toned down the ninja violence. (Curiously, they also screened all three live-action movies under their proper titles!)

I also always heard something about Michaelangelo's nunchucks being removed either by trimming certain shots or actually replacing them with grappling hooks. If that was the case, were those just crudely drawn over the original animation or something?

 
 Posted:   Jul 14, 2010 - 8:06 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)


From the original post, I thought that the censorship of ST TOS was a current affair.
Nevertheless, I stand by my disinformation.


I would support rules against modern torture porn (SAW, etc), but 1960s STAR TREK was very mild. Is it that the governments in question want their people to be milder still? The governing class might want to make the general population into soft, meek, pacifists who would never rise up against their rulers. It's easier to supervise the meek.



Just for clarity, you're in some danger here of falling for paranoid traps with this. A lot of genuine misinformation is spread (which is why I quoted the Hawking thing, because the people who started that one knew very well it was a lie) about Britain, and I don't know what area of the spectrum anyone here is in relation to that.

Firstly, the BBC run about 6 or 7 channels and numerous radio stations, and some world channels, but they aren't the only players on the block. There are tons of other independent channels in the UK, all have to adhere to certain broadcasting guidelines and watchdog censures, but people have all the choice they want even before they go to foreign cable and satellite channels as everyone can nowadays. The BBC operate in that free environment, and do THEIR thing within that framework, but they're ALSO accountable to everybody who pays the licence.

Secondly, I guarantee you that back in the 1960s, there were far tighter TV censorship strictures in the USA than in the UK. But CHILDREN were always a prime consideration. I think these 'Star Trek' cuts we're talking about here were pretty silly, but let's stick with your overall concern.

The Beeb has a brief, to act as a wide 'educator' and facilitator with a wide product range, and 'minority' responsibility, as well as mere entertainment. If TV is left to free markets, then a lot of the really good investigative, cutting edge, new, risky, esoteric, minority or cultural programmes etc. etc. will simply disappear. It's happening already. There really is no money out there at the moment for production companies, and the Beeb themselves have to farm out a lot recently. Markets don't save these things. The Beeb know they have to act as a bastion against the huge tide of SAMENESS and unoriginality that characterises a lot of worldwide TV.

And the Beeb take licence fees (they run orchestras and research, and many other cultural events too) and have a RESPONSIBILITY to reflect public concern that independent channels just don't have, so they are more careful about these things. They still manage a lot of unique stuff that market-led channels just wouldn't. They aren't some 'arm of government' and controllers are often at odds with governments who try to restrict them (as in the Thatcher days ... that woman tried to censor everything, and there were battles).

People in the UK are very critical of government, but they gripe in a different way. You'll hear people seethe and roar at the BBC, but it's to be taken with a pinch of salt. Nobody likes licence fees, but it's all relative. The Beeb are benign, and were, for all their faults, trendsetters from the beginning. The very idea that Big Brother could control a populace with the Beeb's output would make most UK people giggle. It's the other way round. Actually, it's the grim commercial bland stuff that tends to influence people subliminally far more.

 
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