Sci-fi fans around the globe are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first episode of Star Trek.
On September 8, 1966 an unsuspecting universe had its first taste of a franchise that would capture the imagination of millions.
Captain Kirk, Mr Spock and Dr McCoy were the pioneers for a TV show that has re-invented itself down the decades, spawning a series of big screen blockbusters.
Mirfield-born Sir Patrick Stewart, former Chancellor at the University of Huddersfield, found Hollywood fame and fortune as Capt Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the starship Enterprise in the TV re-boot Star Trek: The Next Generation which ran for seven years from 1987.
Former Shakespearean actor Sir Patrick went on to play Picard in four feature films and when asked in 2011 for the highlight of his career chose Star Trek: The Next Generation “because it changed everything for me.”
Star Trek was more than science fiction, however. The early episodes in particular had a strong social and moral theme and its multi-racial crew raised eyebrows in 1960s America.
Star Trek emerged in the era of the space race but the storylines tackled some controversial attitudes and social issues from civil rights to gender inequality.
Star Trek even featured the first inter-racial kiss on American TV between Capt Kirk and African-American Lt Uhura.
The 50th anniversary is being celebrated with a special exhibition, Star Trek50, in Blackpool.
Among the exhibits are many uniforms and props used in the TV series and films. These include the uniform worn by Sir Patrick in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact.
Other weird items include moulds of Mr Spock’s pointy ears and a tribble, one of the furry creatures that bred furiously and led to some of the funniest scenes in Star Trek.
Star Trek continues to be popular with the latest film Star Trek Beyond in cinemas this summer and a new TV series Star Trek: Discovery due to hit American screens in January next year.
Star Trek50 runs until November 6 on Blackpool Promenade near Blackpool Tower.
Martin’s verdict on Star Trek50
We stumbled across the exhibition on a visit to Blackpool but it was a great way to spend an hour.
As someone who grew up with Capt Kirk and Mr Spock and later followed the exploits of Capt Picard and Co it was a great way to spend an hour.
It’s an exhibition for the more serious Trekkies but everyone will love the tribbles and Resistance is Futile when it comes to the Borg.
Make sure you download the app when you go in so you can video yourself being “beamed up” on the transporter.
And don’t forget a quick selfie on the captain’s chair on the original bridge. Make it so!