This ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ episode was banned in the UK

The High Ground, an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, was banned from airing in the United Kingdom in the 1990s. The ban was imposed because of its casual support for violence and references to Irish unification, a sensitive political issue. Even though the Ansata separatists engage in violence against people, the episode portrays them sweetly, highlighting a pattern in American popular culture in which insurgents are frequently portrayed sympathetically.

The episode’s plot revolves around the crew members of the starship Enterprise being kidnapped by the Ansata, a guerrilla separatist group. Lieutenant Data compares the Ansata’s brutal methods with past political movements on Earth that used terrorism to achieve their objectives, such as the fictitious Irish Unification of 2024. This phrase relates to the historical war between Ireland and England, and prediction indicates a violent outcome.

The episode’s reference to the  Irish Unification of 2024 sparked controversy since it was a sensitive topic in the UK owing to the Troubles. This war saw groups such as the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) use violence to push for British withdrawal from Northern Ireland, resulting in chaos on both sides.

During the 1990s, an edited version of the episode was released, with the controversial conversation between Data and Captain Picard removed. But the unedited episode was shown on British television and at a Belfast Arts Festival in 2007.

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