BBC Lying To ‘Roswell’ Fans?

Thanks to Gareth for this :)

I found this article at
It explains how the BBC Has intentionally lied to Roswell fans, and now they have put “Roswell high” in a graveyard slot sunday at 12 in the morning, It goes on to explain the pathetic actions BBC has attempted to boost the publics knowledge of Roswell.

In the US, “Roswell” (as the series is correctly known) has always been considered a primetime series. This season, its third, it airs at 9pm Eastern/Pacific Time, directly after “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, which is somewhat ironic given how the two series are treated in the UK.

When it arrived in the UK on Sky One, the series was retitled “Roswell High”, after the novels on which it is loosely based. This was unfortunate as anyone who’s seen the series will know that it has far more in common with “Buffy” or even “The X Files” than the likes of “Heartbreak High.”

This new title became more of an issue when the series migrated to terrestrial television. Few viewers would consider a series that airs at 8pm on Sky One to be solely for teenagers, yet when that same series is shown in a 6pm slot, the title seems more than likely to put off potential viewers in their 20s and upwards, especially since BBC-2’s promotion – a tacky “teenage aliens all over your TV!” approach – did it no favours whatsoever.

Despite this, the series’ ratings grew steadily over the course of the season, although the BBC was still prepared to lie in order to cover up its own shortcomings.

Anyone who complained that the season ended one episode short was told that the BBC had referred to the episode ‘The White Room’ as the “last episode in the current series” in order to avoid confusing viewers as the season finale couldn’t be shown at this time. The BBC went on to explain that, because it shares the rights to the series with Sky One, it was unable to show any episodes after 8 February 2001. Since “some transmission slots [were lost] to other programmes, such as sport, between December and the end of January,” it had no alternative but to end the run one episode early.

Apart from missing the obvious solution of scheduling an extra episode while it still could, the BBC was deliberately misleading viewers when it claimed slots had been lost to sport – only one had been lost in December and January, and that was between Christmas and New Year. This wasn’t an unexpected or last minute change as BBC-2’s 6-7.30pm slot has been either heavily disrupted or cancelled outright over Christmas in recent years. Yet anyone who pointed this out to the BBC was merely given the standard “your comments have been passed on” brush-off.

In fact, far from causing scheduling problems, slotting in an extra episode of “Roswell” could have prevented them. Had the penultimate episode been shown in place of that week’s “Buffy”, not only would the BBC have been able to show the whole season, but also the blank week for “Buffy” would have meant that a two-part story wasn’t interrupted by sport!

Perhaps I’m being overly cynical, but I suspect that the BBC was perfectly happy to finish the season one episode early as, despite upsetting viewers and disrupting the series, it also prevented a smooth handover to Sky One. This wouldn’t be the first time that BBC-2 has pulled this particular trick – back in March 1999, the head of Sky One told me that he’d agreed BBC-2 would show the first eight episodes of “Buffy”‘s second season, before his channel picked up from episode nine. In the event, the BBC pulled the series after five episodes – again citing unexpected breaks for sport as the reason for leaving viewers in the lurch.

When the series returned to Sky One on 21 February, it was under a new name – “Roswell.” Sky One’s “Backchat” feature explaining that the ‘new’ title reflected the series’ move away from the high school setting of the previous year.

Clearly it would have made sense for the BBC to follow suit, allowing them to pick up viewers who had come to the show during the second Sky One run, as well as those put off by the “Roswell High” title. I emailed the BBC to ask which title they would be using, only to be told that they would be sticking with “Roswell High”, using the logic that “as [‘Roswell’] might be a meaningless name to the majority of the British public, our retitling would increase the chance of the programme reaching its target audience of mid and late-teens.”

I believe this logic to be deeply flawed. “Roswell” is on a minority channel, and it is therefore largely irrelevant whether or not the majority of the public find the name meaningless. Far from providing the series with a more meaningful title, retaining the old one is likely to put off potential viewers – anyone watching “Roswell” on Sky One may not automatically make the connection that it is the same series as “Roswell High” on BBC-2, while the “High” suffix pigeon-holes the series as one about and designed for younger viewers.

More can be found on the site mentioned above.