Series 1 got its first ever peak time rerun, almost exactly nine years after the original screening - Friday nights at 8.30pm, 7th September to 12th October. Average audience was 6.32m, chart position the mid-50s. Nothing special, but it could almost have constituted archival material by that stage. Series 2, not seen since summer 1983, followed on with much the same.
I think this was the first time I'd seen one or two of those episodes, "A Slow Bus to Chingford" for example.
It's worth noting that by this year, over 70% of UK households had a VCR. Repeats were losing their lustre. Also, satellite package Sky Television had begun broadcasting in February 1989, and BSB in March of this year. By Christmas they had merged. The terrestrial broadcasters finally had some real competition.
|Trotter's Ethnic Tours proves a damp squib in "A Slow Bus to Chingford". Hancock and Sid would've been proud.|
The previous year's special "Rodney Come Home" was reshown Sunday 8th December at 8.05pm, to an impressive 13.3m (17th place). "Three Men, a Woman and a Baby" got a standalone repeat, probably by popular demand, a couple of weeks later on Monday 23rd at 7.10pm - 11.1m watched (34th).
Series 7, with "Miami Twice" Part 1 tagged on at the end, got its first full repeat 11th March - 29th April, Wednesdays around 8pm. An average 9½m tuned in. "Miami Twice" Part 2 then followed a week and a half later, on Saturday 9th May at 6.25pm - 12.6 million. Not too far off its first showing a few months before.
As that's us up to the final series, there aren't many more first time repeats left to document.
An oddity: Series 1, ep 2 "Go West Young Man", in which Del and Rodney hit the West End clubs, was shown on BBC Two Sunday 3rd January at 8.40pm, as part of a weekend devoted to the City of London. It stormed the secondary channel's charts, gaining 7.7m - the highest audience ever to watch this episode. Only 6.1m had tuned in in September 1981.
|Del and Rodney clubbing it in "Go West Young Man". Some things go wrong. Well it was only episode 2!|
The 1992 and 1993 Christmas Specials weren't immediately repeated, for reasons unknown. "Mother Nature's Son" wasn't seen again on BBC1 for over six years - Saturday 9th January 1999 at 9pm, watched by 7.22m.
"Fatal Extraction" didn't have so long to wait - Tuesday 17th December 1996 at 9.30pm, amusing 11.56m (14th for the week). Perhaps the public were in a celebratory mood, for the first new episodes in three years were just over a week away.