This tape opens with the end of coverage of Bill Clinton’s inauguration.
There’s a trailer for Public Eye.
Then, Star Trek which opens with Lieutenant Sulu and another crewmember running through a studio backlot on their way to an audition for the musical Hamilton.
Sulu gets zapped by a strange man in robes just before he’s beamed up, and when he’s back on board, he starts raving about ‘Landru’. He’s been brainwashed by the robed chap. “It’s Paradise!”
This is The Return of the Archons. On a mission to find some trace of the crew of the starship Archon, which went missing 100 years ago, they have to send a new search party to the surface. “That’s odd” says Spock, of a native who passes by, “The expression on that man’s face – the mindlessness, vacant contentment.” That’s a bit judgemental there, Spock.
They’re just in time for the festival, they’re told, which is nice. Except it isn’t, because when the clock strikes six, all the locals suddenly switch from sappy contentment to feral fury. People start throwing stones, hitting people with sticks. Naturally a woman throws herself at Kirk and starts snogging him.
There’s a few people not affected by the festival. ‘Landru’ is controlling all the people. McCoy gets brainwashed too, and soon it’s Kirk’s turn.
But he and Spock are saved from the brainwashing by a friendly local, and they confront Landru – who’s a computer programming by the actual Landru 6,000 years ago, and who has been keeping the population in check by stifling all creativity.
Kirk and Spock tell the computer that by controlling the population, it has been damaging them, and, as all computers do when faced with contradictions, it blows up.
This is the Star Trek equivalent of a Blue Screen of Death when given unsanitised input.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 20th January 1993 – 16:30
before the next episode, there’s a bit of Masters Snooker. There’s also a trailer for French and Saunders.
Then, more Star Trek. The ship visits a colony on a planet being bombarded by deadly berthold rays. They expect to find a settlement devoid of life, but the settlers are thriving. The botanist on the team is Leila Kalomi, who has a past with Spock.
There’s something odd about the farm they’re living on. There’s no animals. And Leila plans for Spock to stay with them. McCoy determines they’re all in perfect health – the leader of the expedition has even got a new appendix, despite having his removed before the trip. And when Kirk tells them they’re being taken off the planet to a safe place, they refuse to leave.
It’s strangely similar to the last episode – all set on a studio backlot, not some SF place, a missing community in thrall to some unknown force.
Then Leila takes Spock to show him the reason they’re all still alive. He’s sprayed in the face by spores from a plant, and suddenly he’s a hippie.
Pretty soon, the rest of the crew start getting high, and beaming down to join the colony, leaving Kirk the only person not affected. And he reasons that anger can overcome the effects of the spores, so he lures Spock back to the ship to provoke anger.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 10th February 1993 – 18:00
Before the next episode, there’s the end of Horizon narrated by Angus Deayton.
There’s a trail for Young Musician of the Year.
Then, more Star Trek. Something is killing miners. There’s a classic old-school matte painting to establish the mine.
A monster is attacking miners and equipment, burning them up. This is a classic example of getting a greater effect by not showing something. We see the monster attacking several times, but all we actually see is a dark shape rearing up from the bottom of frame. When I first saw this, probably at a very young age, this was thrillingly frightening. So much so that this was the image I always remembered, and the reveal, later in the show, of the slightly less threatening real form of the creature didn’t make any impression on me.
This might be the least Star Trek episode of the early series – both Spock and Kirk decide that the creature, which they believe is the last of its race, must be destroyed, in order that the minerals being mined on the planet can continue to flow. Although Spock still quite wants to capture the creature intact. This doesn’t fit very well with the optimistic, humanistic view the show usually takes.
When the finally confront the creature, they find it’s a silicon based lifeform, and it’s wounded, so to gain its trust, Dr McCoy has to tend to it, leading to one of the greatest lines in all of science fiction. “I’m a Doctor, not a bricklayer.”
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 17th February 1993 – 18:00
After this, there’s a trailer for Sounds of the 70s, with a voiceover from Jimmy Savile, which now sounds shocking.
There’s another Misery-themed trailer for French & Saunders.
Then, Reportage on addicts and addictions. BBC Two – 17th February 1993 – 18:50
There’s a trailer for Mr Wroe’s Virgins. And a trailer for Bookmark.
Then, the start of Choir of the Year with Howard Goodall. The tape stops after a few minutes of this.