Star Trek (British Version)
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“To boldly go where no one would want to go if they didn't have to”
Over the years plenty of British television series have been remade for American television in an attempt to set them not in Britain. Few have travelled the other way, in part due the BBC's 1974 attempt to Anglicise sci-fi hit Star Trek in 1974.
Lord Bumblebee, head of the BBC, came back from a trip to the USA harping on about some yank show set in outer-space called Star Trek. Being a man of little hair and less patience he quickly snapped up the rights to make a British version with a recession hit British public's honest cash.
"I want to include every single aspect of the American Version, but improve it by doing what Britain does better than anyone else in the world...Being British", he stated to someone he was talking to at the time.
Though many point to the accents being the main difference between the American and British version of Star Trek, there are a number of more subtle differences.
Bumblebee was not keen on setting the show in the twenty-fourth century; he believed a British audience would have difficulty relating to drama set in the future. Many counter-argued that its future time-frame was one of the main selling-points of the original series. Bumblebee countered that he was in charge and that he really didn't give a 'brass-arsed fuck' about the opinions of the license payer. 'They are to watch it - that's it' , he commented.
After much discussion and an apparent hearty consumption of cucumber sandwiches, brandy and not an insignificant level of intercourse, Bumblebee was moved to settle on a compromise; instead of setting the show four hundred years in the future, the British version of Star Trek was to be set four years on in 1978.
"Outer-space is not somewhere I feel our audience would be particularly interested in" Lord Bumblebee muttered to a servant, pipe in one hand, cigar in the other, cock in a mysterious third, "So I've...almost even we've, decided to set the show in Manchester - birthplace of the industrial revolution and all. Coronation Street's set there, so it has a good pedigree." His mention of Coronation Street at the time was particularly bizarre as the aging soap was experimenting with stories set in outer-space; culminating in the notorious "Deirdre and Ken Barlow's crash into the rings of Saturn".
Star Trek would be set in the fictional council-estate in Manchester named Rhiesha. The concept of the estate was a place of high unemployment and low tolerance for outsiders and the middle-classes.
Characters and Locations
Jim is a working-class unemployed northerner with a drink problem. He enjoys the company of ladies, and is often unfaithful to wife Sulu. In a controversial storyline, written with guidance from the RSPCA, Jim became attracted to a busy King Charles Spaniel. The episode, entitled "Wagging that Tale", featured the first man-dog kiss on British Television.
It's not been easy for single mother Spock. Bringing up her child Chekov, she struggles to hold down her job as a bar maid at the "The Enterprise", whilst studying between pouring to become a doctor. She has green blood. No explanation for this was ever given for this though fans have surmised that jelly dependency is a most likely contributing factor.
Down on his luck - and like Jim - heavily dependent on alcohol, Bones spends much of his day's shouting at passers-by as he hangs around on the estate in pocketless jeans. In better and more sober times, he was a practising GP, finally losing his license when he diagnosed a four year old kid with the common cold as being HIV positive. He would often unleash his famous catchphrase to all those giving him a patronising glance: "I'm a Doctor not burden on the welfare-state."
The first series started with their arrival in a battered camper-van. This notoriously badly behaved family are responsible for just about all the petty crime that occurs. They were responsible for the death of Jim's son after supplying him with 'bad shit'. Jim's proclamations of revenge reduced gradually throughout the series and in the last episode he admitted he had completely forgotten that he'd even fathered a child.
The Romulans believe they are too good to live on the estate. They look down on their neighbors and try to have as little to do with them as possible. Much of their screen time is taken up by them bemoaning the state of Bones' front garden and their pursuit of planning-permission for a loft conversion.
Local boozer on the Rhiesa estate, The Enterprise is invariably where Kirk and Bones end up spending most of their time. They're often served by unenthusiastic barmaid Spock who' catchphrase 'no Jim, I don't fancy a fuck' is considered a direct parallel to the American Spock's 'it's life Jim but not as we know it.'