Why the BBC refused to air these Star Trek episodes

LEEDS, ENGLAND - MAY 27: A general view outside the BBC Yorkshire Studios on May 27, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
LEEDS, ENGLAND - MAY 27: A general view outside the BBC Yorkshire Studios on May 27, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images) /

The BBC banned these Star Trek episodes

Star Trek: The Original Series produced episodes that some people didn’t like. In fact, many fans don’t rewatch certain episodes of the series. However, BBC didn’t give their viewers the option of watching three episodes that were originally aired in the 1960s, and one was pulled from future viewings after the BBC had received a number of complaints.

Miri, Season 1, episode 8

When “Miri” aired on British television on December 1970, viewers complained to the BBC about the content. Though the exact nature of the complaints weren’t revealed, when fans wrote to the BBC to complain when the episode was banned when Star Trek was airing in the mid-1980s, they received a standard reply that indicated the episode dealt “most unpleasantly” with the “already unpleasant subject” of disease. It reminded viewers that Star Trek’s “large and enthusiastic” viewership included “juveniles who would watch the programme no matter what time of day the series is put into the programme schedule.”

BBC finally lifted the ban in the early 1990s, and in 2020, this episode was shown in Britain on the Horror Channel.

Plato’s Stepchildren Season 3, episode 10 

This was the first episode that wasn’t shown at all on the BBC due to what it considered “sadistic” elements in the plot. According to a statement by BBC, “after careful consideration, a top level decision was made” not to air the episode. Those protesting the ban were given a standard reply for this and the other three episodes.

“There are no plans to screen the four episodes because we feel that they deal most unpleasantly with the already unpleasant subjects of madness, torture, sadism and disease.” Viewers were also reminded repeatedly of the juvenile viewership.

The Empath, Season 3, episode 12

This episode was originally scheduled to air in the UK on December 16, 1970, but “Miri” had aired two weeks prior, and, after the complaint, BBC took a closer look at Star Trek. This particular episode involved the torture of Dr. McCoy, and that led the BBC to cancel the screening. The torture was something that the BBC did not want children to see. “The Empath” did not air in the UK until the mid 1990s.

Whom Gods Destroy, Season 3, episode 14

While the United States dealt with censorship in the 1960s, it wasn’t quite as strict as the United Kingdom at the time as this episode wasn’t aired during the first third season showing, either. The censors objected to Kirk being tortured, and Marta’s dance scene at the banquet was considered “too sexual for children.” BBC viewers didn’t get to see this episode until the mid-1990s.

Next. Watch: 10 Weirdest Laws in the Star Trek universe. dark