Adored by the Network: Considered BTV's flagship show for decades. Sadly, the network has a long and storied history of being chronically short on funds, and suffering from decade-long internal power struggles. The whole "Internal Investigation of the Inspector" plot-arc had to be in part a comment on this, which probably contributed to the whole relationship souring at the end of the original run.
Attractive Bent-Gender: Both invoked and strongly averted in the infamous "Peter/Petula" serials. When Associate Peter was transformed into Petula, the plan was for the beautiful Pamela Highwater to take over the role straight away, with Peter's actor, Roy Higginbotham, released from his contract. Unfortunately, no one had noticed that Higginbotham's contract had an unprecedented "pay AND play" clause. This required BTV not only to pay him for the entire series, but also to show him in all serials. The vivid contrast between the "sex kitten" Petula described in the script and Mr. Higginbotham in a miniskirt (seen here◊ in a rare production still) led many to believe that these not merely went missing, but were intentionally destroyed for the good of all mankind.
Cast Incest: The actor who played Inspector Spacetime's son in said episode is Landlord's real life father (It Makes Sense in Context) and is now in a real life relationship with the Fifth Inspector's actress.
Credits Gag: Until the Tenth Inspector era, Marius Goring continued to appear in the credits as "The Best Inspector." Most fans thought this was an in-joke referring to the actor's enormous popularity, but in fact it was a term of Goring's contract.
Enforced Method Acting: Rumour has it that actress Carla May Studebaker was encouraged by the producer to take a cocktail of tranquilizers to help her get into the dreamy, otherworldly, aloof character of Susannah Overseer. This also made her challenging to work with—she was famous for falling asleep in the middle of scenes—which may have contributed to the character being written out of the show.
In the 1960s, Owen Pantwhistle, BTV's Vice President, Dramatic Television and Puppetry, was responsible for several bizarre decisions, including the idea for the monsters in Third Inspector episode "The Kittens". Due to a traumatic childhood experience that he refuses to talk about to this day, Pantwhistle insisted that the titular kittens would become the show's most terrifying monsters. Instead, the episode proved to be an extremely effective Nightmare Retardant and is widely hailed as the cutest episode of Inspector Spacetime ever.
In 1966, Pantwhistle decided the show needed more sex appeal and instructed the producers to add a sexy female Associate for the remaining episodes of the series. The resultant contrived transformation of the Associate Peter into Petula drew protests from media watchdogs the Civic Eyes and Ears Council.
Let us not forget the three-episode stint during which the Inspector became stuck in his apartment. During this period, Pantwhistle decided to temporarily replace the Inspector's actor with his own son, Sean (who was but seven at the time). The "Lil' Inspector" episodes (which are not considered a part of the series and which are only included in the Special Edition of the Eleventh Inspector Box Set) are usually referred to as "ridiculous".
Following the strangeness of the Chapman era, the producers attempted to make the scripts "less weird" and simply made them horrible instead.
Sean Pantwhistle, the successor to his father, Owen, on the 1999 TV movie, issued an order to "inject some hip-hop urban flavour" into the relaunch, specifically mandating that the Inspector rap. While the younger Pantwhistle's increasingly odd demands and tense sixteen-hour standoff with the Metropolitan Police are the stuff of legends, the tie-in "Inspector Jamz" compilation album helped promote the careers of Jehst and Foreign Beggars.
The 30th Anniversary Dimensioned in Space special saw its writers forced to write the entire episode centered around the Grace Brothers Mall in an obvious crossover with another popular show. Despite initial misgivings about what was rumored to be "a complete trainwreck", the energy of the comedians combined with the sheer amount of fun the Inspector Spacetime actors were clearly having onscreen (all of them were said to be fans of Are You Being Served?) resulted in a beloved moment in television that was seen as a fitting sendoff to the classic series as BTV finally went broke and was unable to continue producing more episodes despite desperately wanting to keep the show going, even with many of the actors offering to play their parts for free. This is one of televisions rare examples where Executive Meddling resulted in a superior episode beloved by all, the staunchest fans of the Fourth Inspector all pointing to his performance in this final appearance as his best work ever.
Just as That Ripoff has achieved unexpected popularity in South Korea, Inspector Spacetime has enjoyed a cult following in Sarkhan for decades.
Much like that ripoff show had a lot of its lost episodes recovered from old broadcast affiliates tapes from overseas tv station archives, a french canadian television station had a lot of Second Inspector tapes in a forgotten archive. As best as the documentation could recover, these were part of a french language dub deal that never went through and the tapes were meant to be destroyed but the guy in charge of doing so got fired that week under circumstances still unclear. While french canadian viewers lost a chance at a french dub, this nonetheless resulted in multiple serials being rescued from being Lost Forever in the BTV tape burnings.
In the 1960s, like the BBC during the same period, BTV had a habit of reusing videotapes to save money. This is why so many 1962-1968 episodes of Inspector Spacetime are missing.note The tapes were used to record episodes of the long-running quiz show Is It Buoyant?, of which a 100% complete archive now exists.
Several episodes were lost when the master tapes fell down a well in a freak bowling accident, including parts of "Solar System 16", "Journey to the Familiar," and "The Legend Locators". Later, the same freak accident befell tapes of the infamous "Peter/Petula" episodes, leading some fans to theorize that the episodes were, in fact, "pushed".
The Peter/Petula episodes were later found, so they are disqualified.
"Ashata" was left incomplete after a thunderstorm and resulting fire destroyed all the sets. The episode was never completed or aired, though a few scenes did appear in the Clip Show episode "Memories of Tomorrow". The rumour that one of BTV's police dramas opportunistically used the sets to depict an arson investigation is sadly just that.
Steve Carrell's Inspector would feature in a remake for radio years later, alongside Maureen O'Brien as Susannah Overseer.
"The 1981 Inspector Spacetime Holiday Special": After its broadcast's critical reception, the creator took a hammer and smashed all copies at BTV studios, though this did not prevent his knighthood being revoked.
"The Missing Episode" from The Mary Sue Predicaments is not an example, as it never really existed. It was "made" both as a tie-in for the Cosmic Retcon crossover arc between IS and Peacemist and because every single extra showed up tired and emotional on the sole day of filming. However, the production numbers and DVD releases for Season One include a spot for the episode, and if you click on the episode title, a motionless image of a Snarling Lion slowly creeps into the screen.
Old Shame: Christopher Lee, the Second Inspector, is a mild example. While not actively disliking the show, he has always expressed bemusement at society's ongoing fascination with a "rather silly little" character he was hastily conscripted to play forty years ago, and that he took mostly because it offered a steady paycheck for a few years. He has joked that he's grateful to the extent that at least it has kept him from being typecast as "that chap who used to be Dracula."
Poorly Disguised Pilot: "Communialty Above the Atmosphere", which eventually led to the moderately successful series. Ironically, the resulting programme took so long to actually air, is so different in tone and focus, and makes such few and fleeting references to its originator, it's not generally included in the list of spin-offs above.
The Problem with Pen Island: In the early years of the World Wide Web, the inspectorspacetime.com URL was owned by Ukrainian marathoner Irina Nikolaevna Spector and used to host her pace time calculator programs. Ms. Spector finally sold the URL to BTV in 2009 when she added social networking features to her site. Adding the ability for users to post their own pace times, she then moved the "I.N. Spector's Pace Time" page to its current location at pacetimesexchange.com.
Troubled Production: The original version of the show was always a bit ramshackle, but with the episode "The Hills of Androgyny", just about everything that could go wrong did.
Leslie French abruptly departed from the role as the First Inspector at the beginning of the fourth series after a dispute over typecasting with BTV.
Christopher Obi was credited under his screen name Daniel Landlord when he debuted as the Tenth Inspector but after finishing his tenure decided to revert to his given name to prevent being too closely associated with the role.
In the later seasons, new script editor Roger Giles decided that the Inspector was still 'too mysterious' and planned to reveal much of his background and personal information, including his family history, his exact age, his medical exam results, his favourite kind of filling, his name it's Chet, and his shoe-size. This became known as the "Giles Counter-Plot". The show's cancellation prevented this, thankfully, and much of the information that was planned to be revealed was made non-canonical by later Expanded Universe works, which means his name isn't Chet.
A lot of fans think that Richard Ayoade would have made a pretty awesome Ninth Inspector if not for Boogatron Media wanting a bigger name to restart the franchise.