Watch Brian May enthuse about Star Fleet Project on kids' TV in 1983

Brian May on TV
(Image credit: BBC)

The news that a massively expanded version of Brian May and Eddie Van Halen's Star Fleet Project will be reissued next month was greeted with a conspicuous amount of enthusiasm, but Brian May will surely be delighted not to have to hit the promotional trail as he did when the original EP was released in October 1983.

Shortly after the release, the Queen guitarist appeared on Central TV's The Saturday Show, a children's show launched the previous year to replace the anarchic and much-missed Tiswas

Hosted by Scottish singer Isla St. Clair and former Magpie man Tommy Boyd, The Saturday Show was revolutionary in its own way, featuring an "interactive" segment where viewers could – in theory, at least – record the code for a computer programme broadcast on the show, then upload it to their ZX Spectrum (for any youngsters reading, that's an early home computer) for home enjoyment. 

Perhaps it was this scientific inititave that appealed to Dr Sir Brian. Perhaps we'll never know. But there he was, surrounded by enthusiastic children and an equally enthusiastic Tommy Boyd, earnestly explaining how the Star Fleet Project came into being, and how he got Eddie Van Halen and the other musicians involved. 

"I just played it to them," explains Brian. "They're all people who I liked as friends and people who I admired as musicians, and I made a little demo. I got an acoustic guitar and made a little demo tape of how I wanted it to be, and they all said, 'Great! That sounds fine! Let's try it!'"

"So we bowled in one day and it was just as easy as that. We had about three goes at it, and eventually we got to the end, and we went 'Yeah! We've done it! Great!'"

Boyd and May goes on to set a competition, asking viewers to identify the mysterious figure who adorns the Star Fleet album cover.* A Star Fleet t-shirt and a copy of the album are up for grabs, entries on a postcard to the usual address, and May concludes the segment with a brief flurry of one-handed air guitar.

The expanded Star Fleet Project set will be available as a box set featuring the original EP on red vinyl, two CDs – the first features an expanded version of the album that includes various Project-related interviews and live tracks, while the second (exclusive to the box) includes 23 previously unreleased session tracks – and a 7" Star Fleet single backed by Son Of Star Fleet

*the answer was DAI-X, a vast experimental robot formed by combining three fighter craft, Braincom, Mainbody and Legtrax, that could destroy opponents by throwing punches and stamping on its enemies. It also featured a Super Cannon, in addition to the individual fighters' weapons. Now where's our t-shirt?  

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.