The other day I was picking earwax out of my ears while watching a video of Yellow Submarine and reading an article on the rise of child pornographers, when I suddenly found myself wondering about how Star Trek became so popular.

Well, it made sense at the time!

After careful consideration which involved me staring at a piece of paper under the coffee table, I decided it was purely due to the presence of British characters, somewhat predictably. Now, as you may or may not know, this week marked the 50 year jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, so what better to commemorate this occasion than one of my typically offensive Anglo-centric articles. It's certainly enough for me. I'm supposed to be an anti-Royalist.

Anyway, let's begin!


British Character: Scotty

For the benefit of Americans and other strange and wonderful creatures, Scotland is NOT an independent nation. It is one of the slices that make up the sumptuous pie that is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Now that we've cleared that up, let's take a look at the character.

Scotty was the chief engineer, which meant he was the driving force of the ship. Oh sure, you could say that Captain Kirk was the most important man on board, but let's face it, an answering machine with a selection of amusing messages could do his job (if it had a huge libido and a toupee). Spock? Hell, you could dress up a monkey in pointy ears and train it to say 'illogical' every other word and no-one need know the difference. But Scotty, his were the hands that knew the workings of the Enterprise inside and out. If he ever got commissioned elsewhere you can bet the Enterprise would blow up or fall apart within a week. Perhaps Gene Roddenberry cast a Scottish man in the role deliberately, as he knew a British character would be the 'driving force' of the series.

And of course, Scotty was most famous for complaining about what the ship could and couldn't take. Personally, I think when Scotty said 'the engines cannae tak' it anymore' he was lying through his teeth and just wanted to go to bed early. You have to admire that sort of renegade attitude.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Star Trek is traditionally unkind to its fellows after its closure, leaving behind whole hordes of actors who never appear anywhere else, doomed to 'where are they now' specials. The actor who played Scotty (whose name I forget) took several minor roles here and there, including one in some film Chefelf reviewed once, before he fell victim to an ancient Egyptian curse and was tragically eaten alive by scarab beetles.


British Character: Picard

OK, so the actor was British but the character was supposed to be French. A special kind of twenty-third century French which meant he spoke in a very broad Shakespearian English accent. He was the Captain, which of course meant he was the driving force of the ship. Oh sure, you could say the chief engineer was the driving force of the ship, but not when they wear stupid wrap-around shades and hang around with a plastic man and Wil Wheaton. Picard guided his ship and crew through Hell and high water and always prevailed, which makes him a sort of future Horatio Nelson, admired throughout history for the massiveness of his column. And he drank Earl Grey Tea! And we're still supposed to believe he's French? Christ. He always admitted people into his room by just saying "Come", which at the same time illustrated both his super-efficient English brain and the cheeky schoolboy sense of humour within. Oh, how we were lost before Picard took to the spaceways.

He also had a problem with children. I bet he would have legalized spanking given the chance, so that makes us kindred spirits.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Patrick Stewart's story is perhaps the most tragic of all. After the Next Generation ended he took a string of roles in films, including films starring Mel Gibson and films based on popular comic books. Poor bastard.


British Character: Bashir

Despite having a name that sounds wonderfully close to 'brassiere', which would make him qualified for any position in Starfleet I'd have thought, Bashir was the ship's doctor, which obviously made him the driving force of the ship. Maybe the chief engineer kept the place ticking over and the captain administrated the whole jobby, but where are you if they both suddenly contract leprosy? Nowhere, without the ship's doctor! Of course it was later revealed that Bashir was genetically engineered to be a better class of human. And remember, he's British. Am I really the only one who notices these things? And he used to have regular meals with the ship's only Cardassian, which just shows how committed he was to intergalactic peace and brotherhood. What a guy.

He hung around with Chief O'Brien, who was Irish. I have not included him as a British character because Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland is, but if Chief O'Brien was from Northern Ireland he'd have to wear a ski mask and bomb public places.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? After Star Trek, Siddig El Fadil (who bizarrely became Alexander Siddig mid-series) found himself in an awkward position - a man in Hollywood with an English accent and a very noticeably foreign name. He took a number of minor roles here and there before bonding with a radioactive crystal from another dimension and acquiring superhuman powers. He now answers to the name of 'Ultraman' and fights for truth and justice everywhere.


British Character: None

Well, I think we've put our finger on why this series SUCKED, haven't we? Incidentally, while I'm here, I'd just like to apologise to all Northern Irish people for that joke in the last entry. Please don't shoot me.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? I would also like to apologise for that joke just now where I hinted that Northern Irish people like shooting people. That was just inexcusable.

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