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Star Wars UK TV Broadcast dates


I am new here so apologies if this has been discussed before. This really is just some nostalgia from a 31 year old Star Wars from Scotland.

Star Wars premiered on ITV. ITV bought the rights for £1 500 00. The BBC were never invited to bid. The broadcast dates:

Star Wars

Premiere 24th Oct 1982

Repeated 15th Sep 1983

Repeated 30th Dec 1984 (before the debut showing of Duran Duran’s concert movie As The Lights Go Down)

Repeated 01st Jan 1987

Repeated 01st Jan 1988

After that the rights go to pay TV Satellite broadcaster SKY.  They start showing it from 1989 onwards. ITV still have the sequels.

The Empire Strikes Back

Premiere 25th Dec 1988

Repeated 24th Dec 1991

Repeated 01st Jan 1994

Repeated 01st Jan 1995 (not all ITV regions)

Return Of The Jedi

Premiere 26th Dec 1989

Repeated 29th Dec 1990

Repeated 17th Apr 1992

Repeated 07th Apr 1996 (Central region only)

Repeated 19th May 1996 (Grampian region only)

So no Star Wars in 1985, 1986 or 1993 in the UK. It seems the terrestrial broadcasts stopped after 1994. Maybe George wanted to boost the VHS and DVD sales? SKY started showing the sequels from 2001 onwards.

I think the first time I saw Star Wars must have been the 1987 showing. I also remember getting a Darth Vader costume for Christmas. I got into Star Wars properly in the late 80’s. Sadly SKY had the rights to the first movie and we could not afford a subscription. The sequels were repeated fairly often as you can see from what I posted above. I was also given cheap ex rental copies of V and VI as gifts from my parents. I longed to see the first movie again though and finally my parents saved up and bought me a full price VHS of it from Woolworths (UK video store). I remember once the tape broke so I opened it up and repaired it with super glue.


Didn't we just have a thread about this at the top of this page?


I remember the ITV premier of ESB on Christmas Day 1988.  It was broadcast the same time as the Back to the Future premier on BBC1.

I remember setting my VHS on a timer to record one movie, but recording the wrong channel by accident (I wasn't too upset, as I have always been a big fan of both movies!)

Ah.....nostalgia ain't what it used to be!

 Spoiler free for the ST


This is excellent information, humanracer. Thanks!

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

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Me in Falkirk but as I spent much of my school holidays in Brighton my home tapings were mostly of TVS broadcasts.

Not that you could tell because I edited the adverts out (I still expect to see the ad break cards at key scenes of the film like just after Luke and Threepio decide to look for Artoo in the morning).


can anyone answer:
I know the original ITV broadcast was the mono mix. When did they stop showing the mono mix and what version did they use instead, the 85 mix or something else? Is the unaltered trilogy repeated on TV at all today?


Brilliant information - thanks! Ahhh the nostalgia!

I still remember the excitement of the Star Wars premiere in those 'only the lucky buggers can afford VCRs' days! I recorded the whole thing onto C90 cassettes using a crappy 'Bush' tape recorder and the built-in mic. Woe betide anyone that talked or coughed that evening hahaha! :p

Remember reading the Star Wars themed TV Times over & over again prior to the broadcast.

Would love to see a TVS (we were in the South East TV region) recording of that premiere, complete with all the adverts.

Great days/memories :)



I fondly remember the ITV title cards before and after the adds from my home VHS. Anybody got screengrabs just for nostalgia's sake?

I seem to remember it was this image...

...with possibly a white bar down the left handside with the old ITV logo and text. But my memory could be playing tricks.

Would be amazing to get a download of an old VHS. Then it could be recreated adverts-and-all from a nice higher-definition source like Harmy's but cropped to 4:3 and pan and scanned. Would be a sepia tinged treat.

Wonder what the adverts were... probably Nescafe, Castlemaine XXXX, Tunes and Milk Tray lol

Speaking of Tunes, heres a SW ad spoof from the mid 90s (I believe)...

VIZ TOP TIPS! - PARENTS. Impress your children by showing them a floppy disk and telling them it’s a 3D model of a save icon.


humanracer said:

Hi Ryan

see here:



Oh nice thanks, I was right about the title card lol. Maybe it was ESB or ROTJ that had the white border? I was indeed in the Granada region.

I don't remember any of those adverts though. Either my VHS was taped from a different broadcast or perhaps my Dad/Older-Brother didn't record the adverts.

VIZ TOP TIPS! - PARENTS. Impress your children by showing them a floppy disk and telling them it’s a 3D model of a save icon.


I just got these today…
Star Wars Unknown date Sky Movies
The Empire Strikes Back Premiere 25th Dec 1988 HTV West
Return Of The Jedi Premiere 26th Dec 1989

Sadly the star wars VHS got caught in my VCR, so the opening crawl has tracking issues. I’m scared to rewind the tape to the start now. Also there seems top have been a technical fault during the broadcast as the screen cuts to the sky movies logo for a few secs just before they escape the death star.

The other two tapes work fine and they include commercials (well I only checked up to the first set).


Hi there I’ve posted elsewhere but does anyone have a copy of the Rotj 1990 broadcast with adverts?


Ahh, my dad recorded these before I was born for me, this is how I watched the original Star Wars, until I wore the vhs tape down to an unplayable mess… oops.

Anyway did they ever air the special editions because I swear they did but I might R.E.M. bed being confused as to why some bits were different so I just went back to the itv recordings which were low quality mono mixed slowed down mess, for some reason it was slightly slowed down. I went back to the digital copies I have (SILVERSCREEN EDITION) and I figured it was slowed down by 0.12x but I don’t know why. Good times.


‘A day long remembered: Star Wars comes to television’

^ a 2016 article at the excellent Episode Nothing blog - with a few images and advert videos from the time.

It also chronicles the early US TV appearances - and also quotes from Lucasfilm seemingly not happy and also not wanting Star Wars to be on tv…

‘Star Wars on TV: how Britain’s TV Times celebrated its arrival on the small screen’

^ another 2016 article at the excellent Episode Nothing blog - with more images and advert videos form the time.

As well as The TV Times’ Star Wars comic strip!

and from the same quality blog…

‘A 1977 interview with Mark Hamill from Blue Peter - and what it reveals about Star Wars’


A couple of BBC articles from 2001 re the 1997 Special Editions being shown on satellite TV in the UK for the first time:-

Sky wins Star Wars (15th February)

Satellite TV feels force of Star Wars (3rd April)


A 2002 article from The Guardian on the first showing the 1997 Special Editions on terrestrial UK TV:-

Star Wars takes ITV over to the dark side (11th September) Moderator

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