Are you watching season seven of Buffy The Vampire Slayer on BBC2? Is it making much sense to you? Do you find yourself thinking that the plot is a bit disjointed and confusing at times?
If so, please don’t blame the writers or the production company. The blame lies firmly with the BBC. They BBC have always insisted that Buffy is a children’s program which is suitable for broadcast at 6:45pm. Over the last couple of seasons this claim has looked less and less convincing. Buffy is an adult show that covers adult themes. In order to show it at 6:45pm the BBC has been editing the show to remove anything it thinks is unsuitable for broadcast at that time.
But of course, you can’t just remove random parts of a tightly plotted TV show like Buffy without ruining the plot. I’ve been watching these showings, having previously watched the (far less cut) versions on Sky One. It’s like watching a different program. If you’re watching them on the BBC for the first time then I can only assure you that the plot does make sense and that you’d probably be better off waiting to watch the DVDs when they are released next year.
To give you an idea of the size of the problem, there are people in the Buffy newsgroup, uk.media.tv.buffy-v-slayer who are monitoring the cuts. Here is a summary of the amount that has been cut from the episodes shown so far.
|Episode||Full Duration||Cut Duration||Missing|
|Same time Same Place||40:43:00||39:23:00||01:20:00|
|Conversations With Dead People||40:36:00||39:13:00||01:23:00|
|Never Leave Me||40:30:00||37:45:00||02:45:00|
Note that in two cases (Selfless and Never Leave Me) the BBC has removed almost three minutes of material. That’s over 6% of the program.
And it’s only going to get worse. The season has other episodes coming up which could have more removed than we’ve seen previously. The BBC has chosen an completely inappropriate time slot for this program and the viewers are suffering. If you’d like to complain to the BBC about how they are ruining the program then I suggest you email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want more details on the scenes that have been cut then read the archives from uk.media.tv.buffy-v-slayer.
 Many thanks to Jeremy Reeves at the BBC who supplies the timing information weekly.