British Broadcasting Corporation (mostly referred to as BBC) is a British terrestrial television company that their networks, BBC One and later, BBC Two, used to air The Simpsons from November 1996 until May 2004, after they were outbid in February 2002. Channel 4, another terrestrial TV channel, has had the terrestrial rights to air the show since November 2004.

History with The Simpsons

In November 1996, BBC acquired the rights to the series, and it was regularly shown at a teatime slot (between 5pm and 7pm). The first episode shown on the BBC was "There's No Disgrace Like Home", which is odd since that is the fourth episode of the show in the USA. At first, BBC One aired the show from November 1996 to March 1997, but BBC One stopped showing it, so BBC Two had the terrestrial rights to air it at the same usual time slot since March 1997 until May 2004.

On June 23, 2000, BBC Two celebrated ten years of The Simpsons being shown on Sky1 by holding an event known as "Simpsons Night", where they premiered Season 7's "Much Apu About Nothing" (the first new episode the BBC got for the show since February), as well as showing comic clip compilations of Professor Frink and Comic Book Guy, a viewer's choice where you can call a number to vote for one of the five random episodes to air (the winner was Lisa's Wedding), and two random Season 1 episodes when the event started. Two specials, entitled "The Simpsons: America's First Family" and "My Wasted Life", were also aired that night; the former being about the origins of the show, and the latter being about Matt Groening's childhood and inspirations.

In February 2002, the cost of purchasing newer episodes rose too high for the BBC, making them disinclined to pay for newer episodes, which leaded them to lost the terrestrial rights to air The Simpsons, with the final episode, "Behind the Laughter", airing on May 7, 2004 at 6pm. However, broadcasting rights were held until 2006. The channel was outbid by Channel 4, who handled the rights and has been airing the show in terrestrial television since November 2004.

In May 2005, this event was referenced on Dead Ringers, in which a false continuity announcement was given out, regarding the fact they no longer aired The Simpsons, and that they now showed a double feature of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (a common fixture to weeknights on BBC Two, where The Simpsons was always followed by The Fresh Prince).

Over the course of the show airing on BBC Two, it averaged around 3 million viewers per episode. In October 1998, it reached a peak of 4.58 million.

On June 23, 2000, during Simpsons Night, two special idents for the event aired on BBC Two: [1]

  • In a parody of the first scene of the opening sequence, a yellow-colored and wiggly 2 is zooming into the camera, cracking it before backing up, which is against a sky background with a couple clouds.
  • There is a power cut in The Simpsons household. When the lights are back on, The Simpsons are all shaped as a 2.

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