First on this tape, Star Trek The Next Generation, and the episode The Most Toys. Data is kidnapped by a man who collects the rarest things in the universe. The crew thinks he has been killed in an explosion. Saul Rubinek is his captor, and there’s plenty of debating about the morality of imprisonment, and data’s impulse to escape.
Meanwhile, Geordi can’t accept the accident at face value, as nothing appeared to be wrong before Data’s ship exploded.
The crew eventually follow the clues and rescue data, just as he’s about to kill Rubinek. It’s a nice story, with some edge to it.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 1st April 1992 – 18:00
Before the next episode there’s the end of Horizon, on the search for a proto language.
There’s a trailer for One World, and a trail for The Rough Guide to Egypt.
Then, more from the Next Generation with Sarek. Spock’s father, the legendary Vulcan Ambassador Sarek. Before he comes on board, the captain is briefed that Sarek is old, and is not up to a lot of diplomatic functions. But when Sarek arrives with his new wife (called Perrin – perhaps the writers liked Worcestershire Sauce) he seems perfectly fit and able.
He’s there to oversee negotiations with a strange alien race – one of those that needs a vat of gunge to sit in, and has ridiculous requirements for decor and furnishings. “These walls are too bright.”
The crew start experiencing strange feelings of anger, including Dr Crusher slapping Wesley round the face, a crowd-pleaser at the time, I’m sure. There’s even a bar fight in Ten Forward.
Sarek’s advancing age has left him suffering from a particular Vulcan affliction, which causes him to emit a telepathic field of emotion, making those around him angry.
The solution is for Sarek to mind meld with Captain Picard, linking their minds, and letting Picard cope with all the violent emotions caused by Sarek’s illness, and leaving Sarek able to fulfill his diplomatic duties.
We never do see the gunk-dwelling aliens, though.
Here’s a slightly strange coincidence. The Horizon programme before this episode was called Before Babel. The first episode of Star Trek to feature Mark Lenard as Sarek was called Journey to Babel. Well I thought it was interesting.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 8th April 1992 – 18:00
The next episode is Menage a Troi. The Enterprise is doing another diplomatic thing, this time around Betazed, Deanna’s home planet, meaning her mother, Lwaxana, is on board. Also aboard are some Ferengi, who have been slightly toned down from their original appearance, being more relaxed among the other races. But not entirely, as one of them tells Lwaxana he wants to buy her.
Riker gets to spend a bit of time on Betazed, which means we get to enjoy what passes for casualwear in the Next Generation universe.
But the Ferengi won’t take no for an answer, and he turns up on the planet to kidnap Troi, her mother and Riker.
Being Ferengi, naturally, the women aren’t allowed the honour of clothes – Roddenberry has the same, creepy, leery attitude to woman that seemed to pervade SF in the 50s and 60s.
This is also the episode where we learn that a Ferengi’s ears are erogenous zones.
One of the Ferengi is played by Ethan Phillips, who would go on to play the even more annoying alien Neelix in Voyager.
There’s an amusing ending, where Picard has to pretend to fight for Lwaxana’s love.
Also in this episode, Wesley is going off to take his oral exam for starfleet academy, but events conspire to make him miss it, so he gets to stay on the Enterprise for another year, and Picard gives him a field promotion from Acting Ensign to full Ensign, and he gets to wear the red uniform for the first time.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 15th April 1992 – 18:00
After this episode, recording switches to BBC1 and Wogan, talking to Griff Rhys Jones and Lenny Henry about Comic Relief. There’s no Night of Comic Relief this year, but there’s a ‘Behind The Nose’ programme looking at the projects funded by Comic Relief, and also repeats some of the comedy from previous years.
He talks to Rebecca de Mornay about The Hand that Rocks the Cradle. I love the awkwardness of Wogan’s interviews with film stars, especially women. To his credit, he doesn’t want the interview to be solely a puff piece about whatever the celebrity is plugging, but that then leads to questions that sometimes seem a bit rude, as here when he asks her why her career hasn’t been as successful as Tom Cruise’s – her co-star in Risky Business.
I’ve cut out the musical guest – I didn’t record them on the tape, but music was from Texas.
Then his final guest is Microsoft’s Bill Gates, still looking like a teenager at 36. His big demo for the programme is a PC with handwriting.
Amusingly, when the interview ends, and the credits roll, Gates gets up an leaves, and Terry does, as he promised, switch seats to play with the computer. I wonder how he got on.
BBC Genome: BBC One – 15th April 1992 – 19:00
After this, there’s a segment from an arts programme Artrageous, about Cyberpunk, featuring contributions from Dick Jude, Ian McDonald, Gwyneth Jones (name misspelled as Gwynneth on her caption), Paul McCauley and illustrator Jim Burns.
There’s also a short look at Guitar Design with Sean Dickson from the Soup Dragons, and the start of a report of the new independent radio station that just started broadcasting, X-FM.
I can’t pinpoint the exact date of this broadcast from the Radio Times descriptions, so let’s just plump for the one closest to the last recording.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 22nd April 1992 – 19:30
The tape ends during this programme.