|A chance to win Empire Strikes Back toys in |
TV Times as Star Wars came to television
When Star Wars reached British television in 1982, the listings magazine TV Times gave it an unprecedented amount of space. It even commissioned short comic strip telling us something of how the Rebel Alliance stole the plans to the Death Star – and almost certainly contradicting the forthcoming film Rogue One. Episode Nothing takes a trip back to October 24 1982.
The TV Times Star Wars cover
|The TV Times Star Wars cover|
TV Times was, in those days, a listings magazine which could only list the schedules for one channel – ITV. Nonetheless, it was unheard of for it to devote a full five pages to one film as it did with Star Wars, along with a lengthy billing for the film on the day of transmission. The articles feature among ads for video recorders (retailing at around £400), Teletext TVs and Atari video game consoles.
The cover that week heralded “STAR WARS Sunday”, as though the film’s broadcast put the date on a par with Easter Day or Christmas Day. The dramatic cover, with Darth Vader holding two lightsabers which met above the TV Times masthead, showed the cast in their costumes from The Empire Strikes Back. That’s because, as fan Declan McCafferty pointed out in a comment last week, the cover was an Empire Strikes Back poster with the sequel-exclusive elements taken out.
|The poster that formed the basis for |
the TV Times Star Wars cover
The TV Times Star Wars comic strip by Martin Asbury
|The Rebels steal the Death Star plans in |
Martin Asbury's TV Times Star Wars strip
For the transmission of Star Wars, TV Times commissioned a double-page comic strip from Martin Asbury. His art was familiar from the action comic strip Garth in the Daily Mirror and from the previously mentioned Look-In magazine in the 1970s. This time, he only had a few frames in which to depict the Rebels’ acquisition of the Death Star plans – but what he produced is a memorable piece of Star Wars art.
The “famous faceless men” of Star Wars, plus Carrie Fisher as Woody Allen
Here are those articles, along with the TV Times film critic David Quinlan’s concise review of Star Wars and the listings for the great day itself – Star Wars Sunday.