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The Lunatic With a Booth.

"When you look out at the skies at night, what do you see? Starlight. From millions of stars. And that's just the light that's arrived here at one point in time. You can see every star, every planet, in one point of time, and never get the full picture. So really, the question isn't where... but when."
The Eleventh Inspector

Inspector Spacetime is a British sci-fi series that has been on the air since 1962 and has gained a worldwide following. It's long since established its niche as a cult classic.

The Inspector is an alien from a faraway planet who has come to Earth to rescue us from dangers across space and time. He travels the universe in his snug Model X7 Dimensioniser time boothnote , which takes the form of a red telephone box. (Fans nicknamed it, simply, the "Booth".) The X7 is famously "just a little too small on the inside," adjusting its interior dimensions to almost, but not quite, comfortably accommodate its occupants. Even when the Inspector is alone, it retains its cosily cramped atmosphere. This is often alluded to as the reason that friendships formed in the Booth are the closest one ever makes. Even so, as the Inspector says, "There's always room for one more."


The Inspector often recruits Associates, most notably Constable Reginald Wigglesworth (Reggie). He has also amassed a Rogues Gallery of villains over the years that includes the Blorgonsnote , the Digifleet, Thoraxis, and the Sergeant. Optic Pocketknife in hand, he will investigate the horrors of the universe.

The Inspector is the last of the Infinity Knights, the race of people who lived on his home planet of Kayaclasch. They once policed the universe with their advanced spacetime technological inventions, such as the time booths, but grew arrogant and corrupt in their twilight. They perished in the catastrophic Time Wave, and the Inspector is the lone survivor... or is he??

Now, to ease his solitude and pass on his knowledge, the Inspector brings Associates along for adventures as he travels the universe, inspecting the roots of all its mysteries. He is a man who must often make tough decisions to meet his ends. Like all Infinity Knights, the Inspector was born without a heart, which explains his tendency to be cruel at times. His personal quest for a "substitute" for this organ has so far been unsuccessful since duty and danger always come first. Still set on this goal, he often takes on Associates who are similarly searching for something or looking to improve themselves. Except Jeffrey. Everyone hates Jeffrey.


The Inspector's Associates provide something unique to the cast with each new addition, such as classic favorites the maths and English teachers Irma and Bart, the Gaelic swordsman Aiden, the late Jeffrey, the barbarian princess Reena, fellow Infinity Knight Lunda, the genius Yosif, the automatomcat FE-Line, and the long-runner Mary Sue.note  More recent Associates include Lily Taylor, Captain James Haggard, the Magnificent Bastard Yorke, Constable Wigglesworth, Angelica "Angie" Lake, and Rory Williams note . The 2012 fiftieth-anniversary season introduced the Eleventh Inspector's newest Associate, "temporary" constable Geneva Stilton, who has gone on to be an official one for the Twelfth Inspector.

The programme won a devoted audience for wittily combining humour with scares and grew into a Long Runner despite Executive Meddling from producer British Television and distributor Boogatron Media—not to mention chronic underfunding, inconsistent script quality, archival carelessness amounting to sabotage, perversely wasted potential, and numerous other problems best left for another discussion. Fourteen actors have taken on the iconic role of the Inspector so farnote , alongside literally dozens of Associates, in an ever-expanding cast. The sheer AMOUNT of canon there is to go through might cause some Archive Panic, but it's well worth the hours you'll spend with it.note 

The new series has successfully branched out into several Spin Offs within the franchise, although they do not Crossover with the main Inspector Spacetime series. Unlike their parent show, they are all situated on Earth and rarely involve Time Travel.

  • The series Peacemist: Nicer Post starring Captain James Haggard began airing in 2005. It is significantly more family friendly than the current Inspector Spacetime.
  • A second spin-off series, The Mary Sue Predicamentsfar edgier and more thoughtful than its precursors—was recently cut short by the death of the lead actress.
  • A children's FE-Line series named simply ''FE-Line'', produced by an unrelated Japanese television company, has been running for the past three years, and yes, that is where those strange vids of Giant FE-Line came from.
  • The series Schooled, aimed at young children but with some concessions towards adults. The show focused largely on edutainment as opposed to interpersonal relationship drama, and was noted for its relatively strong ties to the main show's canon.

Other facets of the vast Inspector Spacetime media empire include American, British, and Japanese comic books, two different animated adaptations (one Eastern, one Western), novels, radio dramas, and video games.

Early in the series' run whilst it was gaining popularity, an American studio obtained film rights to the series. The movie version notably isn't canon with the TV series and controversially changed many aspects of the series' mythology, for example changing the Inspector from an Infinity Knight to a human police officer literally named "Spacetime" and re-inventing the Blorgons as malfunctioning peacekeeping robots. For these reasons (and others) fans don't like to talk about this adaptation. (Except for the fact that its star Christopher Lee soon became the Second Inspector.)

Not to be confused with a far less popular imitator.

It has its own wiki here.

The origin of this landmark television show requires detailed examination too extensive and complicated to summarize here. note 

This show provides examples of:

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    In-Universe Tropes 
  • Action Girl:
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Affably Evil:
    • The Sergeant, although a classic "bent copper", remains cordial despite the Inspector constantly foiling his schemes, which he passes off as cordial rivalry.
    • The Orange Warden. Sometimes.
    • Ms. Patch is a little old lady who drinks tea, knits and...plans to kill the Inspector with her minions, the Quiet Men.
  • Alien Geometries: The incomprehensible geometries of Mathsville, where larger objects appear to fit within smaller ones; the Inspector and Angie's loss of their third dimension in "Squared". The interior of the Infinite Cyclorama, particularly on its second appearance.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The Rostraan caste system is Color-Coded for Your Convenience, with orange for proles, olive green for scientists, beet red for the military, and aubergine for the oligarchs.
  • Arch-Enemy
    • The Sergeant: The Third Inspector specifically considers himself to be the Sergeant's nemesis.
    • In addition, each Inspector attracts a special adversary:
      • The First Inspector: The Tinker
      • The Second Inspector: The Circuit-Chap Commander 0LD-BN
      • The Third Inspector: The Dark-Matter Inspector
      • The Fourth Inspector: Vosrda, the Blorgons' creator
      • The Fifth Inspector: The Orange Warden
      • The Sixth Inspector: Vosrdanote  and the Indictor
      • The Seventh Inspector: The Maharini
      • The Eighth Inspector: Alephnote 
      • The Ninth Inspector: Wabe Gimble-Gyre Tove
      • The Tenth Inspector: Yorke
      • The Eleventh Inspector: The Cacophony
  • Badass Longcoat: The Inspector's signature Mackintosh coat, a constant costume piece throughout his incarnations' otherwise distinctive tastes in clothes.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Popping up on the periphery of major events in Earth's history is practically the Inspector's avocation, as well as a source of amusement for the programme's writers.
    • In 1390, the Tenth Inspector investigated the highway robbery and assault of Geoffrey Chaucer ("The Chaucer Puzzle").
    • In 1483, the First Inspector examined and unofficially acquitted Richard III ("The Two Princes' Murder").
    • In 1851, the Ninth Inspector teamed up with Metropolitan Police Inspector Charles Frederick Field to rescue their author friend Charles Dickens from the underworld den "Rats' Castle" ("The Riotous Living").
    • In 1882, the First Inspector negotiated the surrender and arrest of Alexander Franklin "Frank" James ("The Desperadoes").
    • In 1911, the Fourth Inspector exonerated Pablo Picasso in the theft of Louvre's most famous painting ("The Mona Lisa Caper").
    • In 1913, the Sixth Inspector discovered that Gustav Holst... well... see below ("The Mask of the Maharani").
  • Berserk Button: The Eleventh Inspector's bowler should not be messed with.
    • Also the Third Inspector in regards to wasting tea, especially spilling it.
  • Big Bad:
    • The Blorgons.
    • The Orange Warden, in Season 16's "Bolt of Space" story arc.
    • The Quiet Men, maybe Ms. Patch too.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Notably downplayed with the Booth's famous—"Always room for one more!"—cosily cramped carrying capacity.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Despite looking nearly identical to humans, the Infinity Knights have many physiological differences, most notably the fact they have no hearts.note 
  • The Blank: The identity theft victims in "The De-Faced Doppelgängers"; the Cyber-Optimised Police androids from "The Five Inspectors, One Time Booth"; and the Pokerfaces in "Pokers and Tongs".
    • Also, as uncovered in the climax of "Mindscrew", Benjamin.
  • Britain Is Only London: London is undoubtedly the Inspector's favorite city on Earth, not least because it attracts so many aliens. The Inspector's adventures officially began here in "A Timeless Man", and each of his incarnations has visited at least once. As the Third Inspector says, "When one is tired of London, one is tired of the universe!"
    • It is even implied that his time booth takes the form of a telephone box because that is the best camouflage for its most frequent destination.
  • British Series: So very, very British. Despite its international popularity, the programme has never made any concessions to overseas accessibility. If anything, its extensive usage of UK slang, trivia, and popular culture only makes its settings seem that much more unfamiliar to audiences abroad.
    • Even supposedly American characters such as Nicola "Coco" Coates and Gary Mulligan refer to boffins, knuckle dusters, prams, "space fancy dress", spanners, and, of course, telephone boxes.
    • In addition to all the aliens who have apparently received RADA/RSC training, the Inspector has always been remarkably Anglophilic for an extraterrestrial throughout his incarnations (with one notable exception).
  • Canon Foreigner: Many additional Associates created for the Great Ending Productions Inspector Spacetime audio plays.
  • Catchphrase:
  • Chase Scene: Often for the finale, following the obligatory summation scene, the Inspector has to pursue the story's unmasked malefactor(s)—typically down Endless Corridors.
    • In the first, and greatest, of the programme's many chase sequences, "The Marathon Pursuit" has the Inspector tracking Blorgons over time and space, including Virginia's Roanoke colony in 1590, London's Crystal Palace in 1936, and a Wild West railway heistnote , until he finally apprehends them on the swamp planet Mucidus in the third millennium CE.
  • Chaste Hero: The Inspector, although it's been a Running Gag over the decades to have him strongly hint that he's been in several tumultuous marriages, and has numerous children.
    • And Word Of God says that he and Lunda did in fact have sex, but that Infinity Knights don't go about the whole process in quite the same way that humans do. Whether she was pregnant with his child when she committed her final Heroic Sacrifice and left the Universe with the Bolt of Space is less canonical.
  • Church Militant: The Inspector has run afoul of a number of these.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The Inspector has pursued white-collar criminals ever since the titular "The Saviour of Earth" in the classic series and continues into the new:
  • Cosmic Play Thing: Many of the Associates. For this reason the Associates are nicknamed "Soccers" by the fans. It's partly a shortening of "associate" and partly because they tend to get kicked about a fair bit.
  • Creator Cameo: If some luckless extra appears on-screen just long enough to meet some grisly demise, chances are it's either the director of the series in question, or the show's current Executive Producer.
  • Days of Future Past: Sometimes it was easier for BTV's overextended production department to refit existing costumes and sets from their historical dramas to create futures that looked extra-retro.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Textbook case with Mary Sue although it is taken to extremes in her spin-off The Mary Sue Predicaments that fans often complain about.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: In "Fry and Laurie", everyone has to go barefoot at the solar medical facility due to extremely prejudiced sanitation rules, except for the Inspector, who dons a special set of health regulation meeting antiseptic booties. Joanna, however, is very happy to run around in her bare feet due to her country roots, bellowing "Shoeless by the Sun!" while wiggling her toes in the astroturf.
    • She actually leaves the facility still barefooted and the Inspector has to go back and pick up her shoes, accidentally going back too far in time and handing them off to her before they officially met, creating a Stable Time Loop. After the Inspector shows her inside the Booth and mentions the astroturf room of his own, Joanna just kicks her shoes off again and tries to explore the time machine barefoot... only to find herself reaching for her shoes in a heartbeat when she sees there's no rooms at all but the one space. Turns out the Inspector tricked her to curb that habit.
    • Later becomes a Call-Back and a Brick Joke in "First of the Inspectors": As Joanna leaves the Booth, she kicks her shoes off once more and gives them to the Inspector:
    Joanna: A parting gift. Wore 'em out during my time on the Moon. Just like I'm sick of you, I'm sick of shoes. I've always wanted to walk the Earth, and I planned on doing it barefoot. What's the point of exploring greener pastures if I can't enjoy that green grass under my toes? But... if guess if you wanna find me, just place these kicks on my doorstep. I know your dress code. Shoes required in the Booth.
    Inspector: Fine by me.
    Joanna: I'm not in the mood to meet again soon. Just surprise me in the future, cowboy.
    • Her abandonment of shoes becomes symbolic of her relationship with Minnie Smythe when Minnie also throws out her shoes and the two of them walk off into the sunset holding hands with the soles of their feet caked in mud. The two of them never wear shoes again, staying perpetually barefoot in every appearance after the Series 3 finale, which works out to their advantage in the Series 4 finale when the Blorgons are lured into a trap by their footprint heat signatures. In their final appearance in "The Last Minutes", they've become widely known as "The Barefoot Bounty Hunters" and even wear their wedding rings on their toes. As the Tenth Inspector is about to metamorphosise, he drops off their old discarded shoes and then limps away. They both figure out that this is his final goodbye to them and they won't be getting back on the Booth again.
  • Does Not Like Spam: The Tenth Inspector once joked that the mere mention of mangoes around him is like a Brown Note, and if the Blorgons ever got word of that, the universe would be doomed in ten seconds flat.
  • Do-Anything Robot: FE-Line; one common fan theory/joke is that she was originally a jumbo-sized Optic Pocketknife which had ears, a tail, whiskers and Prehensile Articulated Walking Struts bolted onto it.
  • Doomsday Device: Constantly appearing in the Inspector's adventures and threatening the world/galaxy/universe/reality itself.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: "Doom" is tied with "Terror" as the favorite noun for unpleasantness in titles for ''Inspector Spacetime" stories.
  • The Dreaded: Averted, gradually, in the classic series, then restored in the new one.
    • As the programme continued and the Inspector became less intimidating over his incarnations, his enigmatic reputation soon lost its ambiguous aura of menace. By the 80s, especially with the misadventure-prone Sixth Inspector and the often-clueless Seventh, any villain recognising who this strange individual calling himself "the Inspector" actually was immediately had to chuckle.
    • After the events of the Time Wave, however, the Inspector's reputation as a dangerous foe received a significant boost. In the new series, he's prone to re-emphasising this in case anyone's forgotten.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Supreme Counter-Intelligence, an unearthly, disembodied entity intent on preventing humanity's discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence throughout history, appearing in "The Unspeakable Lavamen" and its Sequel Episode "The Underground of Doom".
  • Everyone Calls Him Inspector: To this day, the Inspector's true name is unknown. However, rumours say his nickname was Pi Lambda.
  • Evil Former Friend:
    • The Inspector and the Sergeant
    • Yorke. Although how much of a friend he was is up for debate.
  • Evil Smells Bad: The Sulphur Soldiers. For a certain definition of "evil" (especially in "The Great Game").
  • The Exotic Detective: Detectives don't come any more exotic than a literally heartless time-travelling alien solving mysteries across the universe.
  • Expanded Universe:
    • The line of books that largely involve the Eighth Inspector travelling around with Amateur Sleuth and Great Detective Fitzwilliam Fort.
    • Not to mention the audio dramas by Great Ending Productions.
    • Let's not forget the comic book series of the Tenth and Eleventh Inspectors published by CCC (Creation and Concept Comics) Publications.
    • In the early '70s, Archie Comics bought the rights to do an IS comic under its Red Circle Comics imprint for American audiences. Their writers quickly went off the rails, however, and the comic was cancelled in 1979 (cutting short an arc in which the Twenty-Second Inspector was travelling to before the Big Bang to codify the universe's laws of time and space).
  • Eyepatch of Power: Before Ms. Patch in "Brooke Gets Hitched", there was Cap'n Helios in "The Buccaneer Comet".
  • Fantastic Fighting Style:
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: While FE-Line is definitely a female-identified robot, the Circuit-Chaps' Circuit-Mutts are always voiced by male actors.
  • Fictionary: Incomplete attempts have been made to create a language for the Blorgons. For example, "blogon" (pronounced "BLOW-gon") means "thank you" in Blorgon.
  • Friendly Enemy: The Sergeant. Especially since that he and the Inspector were once friends as cadets at the Kayaclaschian Police-Time Academy.
  • Good Is Not Nice / Good Is Not Soft: The Inspector tends to exemplify one or the other of these.
  • Go-to Alias: "Joe Bloggs"note  for the classic series Inspectors; "John Doe" for the Eighth; "Fred Bloggs" for the new series—which culminated in a shocking twist in the 50th anniversary series finale's "The Alias of the Inspector".
  • Greater London Doubling: During the classic series, BTV's producers would take advantage of the region's architectural variety (and dilapidation) to supply scenery for stories set in the future and/or dystopias, e.g. the disused Battersea Power Station in "Recollection of the Blorgons"; the pre-redevelopment Isle of Dogs for the gangland Terra Omega in "The Melancholy Mafia"; and Brunel University's Brutalist campus buildings in "The Rostraan Scientific Method".
    • The new series instead regularly showcases the city's very latest buildings to present a shiny, happy future, including the Millennium Dome, The Shard, and, of course, "The Gherkin".
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jeffrey
    • Also King Sonacry of Barbartron IV.
    • And Infinity Knight Lunda, who not only "died" twice but ended up carrying the Bolt of Space on a one-way trip to another dimension.
    • Subverted with Captain James/The Good Lamb.
    • And of course, happens more than once with The Inspector himself, the most spectacularly in "The Worst Ally".
  • Historical Domain Character: Both the classic and new series play with these, from Young Future Famous People (e.g. "Bertie" Einstein in "Spacewhip") to Historical Person Punchlines (e.g. Winston Churchill at the close of "Return of the Revenge of the Blorgons").
  • Homicide Machines: Numerous examples, particularly during the Second Inspector's era.
  • Hope Bringer: Oftentimes the Inspector's role, especially in the new series.
    • Subverted in the episode "Noon", where instead of banding together under the Inspector's kindness and wit, the humans on the broken-down train try to sacrifice him to the "singing crystal" in the hopes that they would be spared.
  • Hot Scientist: Too many examples to count, of both genders, though the Wisewench of Barbartron IV is probably one of the high points, especially when compared to the Fan Disservice displayed by her monarch-employer.
  • Human Aliens: Preferred by the budget-conscious BTV producers and lampshaded by the frustrated writers ("But you look Kayaclaschian." "Well, you look human.").
    • While the Infinity Knights look human throughout their appearances in the series, the implication by the First Inspector and Susannah Overseer in "A Timeless Man" is that their outward manifestations have been selected for undercover work on Earth.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: The Inspector's relationships with his Associates have influenced his Character Development, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse (and, for the later classic Inspectors, sometimes dimmer).
  • Iconic Outfit: The Infinity Knights' official uniform was a distinctive high-collared trench coat-like garment, but the Inspector always livens up his emblematic Mac in each incarnation with special touches, especially his taste in hats.
    • The First Inspector's beret.
    • The Second Inspector wore Wellingtons and played the ocarina.
    • The Third Inspector's top hat.
    • The Fourth Inspector was known for wearing ostentatiously coloured knee socks.
    • The Fifth Inspector had a penchant for ampersands and a truly terrible hat.
    • The Fifth Inspector's carrot hatpin counts as well.
    • The Sixth Inspector was known for his unexpectedly sombre and dark attire.
    • The Seventh Inspector had an outfit adorned with exclamation points.
    • The Ninth Inspector who always dressed quite dashingly and extravagantly. He loathed all things casual, especially leather.
    • The Tenth Inspector was never without his prized coke-bottle glasses, tight jeans, and various nerdy T-shirts.
    • The Eleventh Inspector and his bowler hats.
    • The Thirteenth Inspector and her slogan “I’m the Inspector…” t-shirts
  • I'm Mr. [Future Pop Culture Reference]: Averted in the new series after the writers realised that this occasional habit of classic Inspectors now makes them seem that much more dated in reruns. For example, the First Inspector addresses Richard III as "you silly twisted boy", and the Third Inspector sings a few of his own verses to the #1 chart-topper "In the Year 2525" by One-Hit Wonder duo Zager and Evans at the climax of "Abaddon".
  • Joker Immunity: No matter how often the Blorgons are completely annihilated, they always manage to come back somehow. Once, the Inspector emphatically declared that the Blorgons were "entirely DESTORYED! Every! Single! Last! One! Of! Them! Including all the secret ones that were hiding. They were ALL erased from time itself, they've never existed, and they will never exist ever again! Never, never, never, never, NEVER!!!" Until next season.
  • Knight Templar: The Inspector, in his darker moments at least.
    • Definitely the Inspector General in the 50th anniversary special, "The Night of the Inspector".
  • Large Ham:
    • BRIAN BLESSED made three appearances on the show, as Reena's father, Sonacry, King of Barbartron IV, Ruler of the Twelve Moons, Defender of the Outer Belts (and so on and so on). And naturally in his last appearance he makes his HEROIC SACRIFICE.
    • Neg!Rory in the Terror of the Negaverse novel. Every word he speaks after his first line is in all caps. "I AM NOT A MERE COPY! I! AM! ME! AND NONE OF YOU WILL TAKE THAT!"
    • Of the Inspectors themselves, Leslie French and Lynda Bellingham chewed the largest hunks of scenery, while Tracey Ullman went to town playing Dynamo.
  • Leitmotif: The Inspector is of course linked with Holst's Jupiter, while if the same composer's Mars starts to play... here come the Blorgons.
  • Lightning Gun: One of the Circuit-Chaps' trademark weapons; in "Daydream in Bronze", it is laboriously powered by a hand-crank.
  • Lizard Folk: “Reptaliens” (reptilian aliens) are a staple of the programme, e.g. the saurian Eocenes and their aquatic brethren, the Ocean Demons, the abhorrent Serpentians, and the scaly-armored Venusian Sulphur Soldiers. Also, Queen Elizabeth II in the episode "The Humans of Westminster" (HMQ is not a fan).
  • Long Runner: Just barely beating out that other show as longest-running sci-fi series of all time.
  • Magic Tool: Averted with the Optic Pocketknife. As the iconic weapon of the Time Police, the Inspector considers it bad form to use it as anything other than a weapon, despite its many functions. He also uses it only in the direst circumstances, so it's always significant when an episode features it at all—and he at least makes the effort to incapacitate rather than kill.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Numerous examples: The unbelievably hazardous scrapyard in "Retirement Home of the Circuit-Chaps", which is actually a booby-trapped Nightmarish Factory to prototype their successors; the rogue AI-controlled "Perdition High-rise"; the interior of the Infinite Cyclorama; the labyrinthine housing scheme in "Seek"; the Welsh Abandoned Mine in "The Turquoise Terror".
  • Meaningful Name: An extremely common trope throughout the series:
    • FE-Line, besides the obvious cat pun, has another meaning. 'Fe' is he symbol for iron, from which the robot is primarily made of.
    • In the serial "The Talons of Asox", Serge A Tenth is an anagrammed alias used by the Sergeant.
    • In the serial "The Space Creature", Agent Sether is another anagrammed alias used by the Sergeant.
    • In the serial "Space-Break", the Tang Seer is yet another anagrammed alias used by the Sergeant.
    • In the linked serials "The Dark Ages"/"The Queen's Angels", Egret's Thane is still another anagrammed alias used by the Sergeant.
    • In Series 8, the mysterious figure Ares the Gent, though initially referred to as simply "The Gent", is one more anagrammed alias used by the Sergeant
    • Doctor Yahe stands for "You Always Have Enemies", signalling the return of the Sergeant.
  • Milestone Celebration: As a Long Runner, Inspector Spacetime has reached a couple of big ones:
    • The 20th anniversary in 1982: "Five Inspectors, One Time Booth", though the First and Second Inspectors only made cameo appearances.
    • The 30th anniversary in 1992: "Concepts of Space." The Fourth Inspector calls out for help from an undisclosed location as all living actors who played the Inspector over the previous decades reprise their roles to defeat a plot that threatens all of space itself. While this was the very last episode of the Classic series that BTV was able to afford, it is nonetheless hailed as a great episode by some fans thanks to the surprising crossover with Coronation Street, the cast bringing new energy and unexpected chemistry. The limited role of the Fourth Inspector was done so at the actor's own request as he feared his presence may overshadow the other Inspectors, which his Ham and Cheese performance did so anyway.
    • The 50th anniversary in 2012: "The Night of the Inspector" unites the Inspector's four most recent incarnations; and "The Golden Jubilee of the Inspector" 2012 Christmas Special sees them encounter historical personages like Queen Victoria and Black Elk (in the suspenseful 1887 storyline during her 50th anniversary) and celebrities like Tom Jones and Dame Edna Everage (in the comic 2002 one during Elizabeth II's).
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: The Inspector's air of authority often results in this confusion when he and his Associates appear unexpectedly.
    London Bobby: Stop! Are you authorised for that?
    Second Inspector: Me? I'm authorised for everything!
  • Ms. Fanservice: Many of the Inspector's Associates might qualify.
    • This is go-go dancing Associate Petula's entire reason for being.
    • Reena of the famous day-glo Fur Bikininote .
    • Averted in Angie's first appearance, where she arrives dressed as a Catholic priest. Led to some viewer complaints that she was letting the side down somewhat, but they were mostly pacified by the official explanation that Angie was just on her way to a Tarts and Vicars party.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Gradually soften during the classic series and outright averted in the new.
    • In First Inspector's early adventures, he could be utterly ruthless in his defence of established causality against time-travelling interference and heartlessly indifferent to contemporary criminality. In "The Incas", he declares that he "want{s} nothing to be different, not in the future, not in the past, not in all eternity"—even if Francisco Pizarro absconds with every bit of Peru's gold while he stands by. Gradually averted as the Inspector grew more explicitly and conventionally heroic.
    • The Second Inspector softened his philosophic outlook somewhat and became more of a Knight in Sour Armor.
    • By the new series, the Inspector is always ready to Screw Destiny just to rescue a Cat Up a Tree.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Implied, initially, as the First Inspector indicates that Infinity Knights have been conditioned to survive on a variety of different planets; gradually explicit as the story editors softened the science fiction in the series, with later Inspectors developing an addiction to a particular Earth beverage and a fondness for British sweets and biscuits.
    • A Plot Point in "The Crusta Infestation" (later alluded to in "Light Traffic").
  • Nobody Poops: There have been literally decades of fan jokes about the Booth's complete lack of facilities. Conversely, some fans have speculated that secret reason the Inspector brings along Associates on his travels is that the Booth is in fact powered by various forms of human waste. Also jokes about the installed (but useless) phonebook's true purpose being a source of toilet paper.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: FE-Line travelled with the First, Second, Fourth, and Tenth Inspectors, as well as starring in the Associate Spin-Off The Mary Sue Predicaments. Hilarity often ensues when Associates misread her collar to read "fee-line", and the Inspector invariably can't figure out who they're referring to. note 
  • Non-Indicative Name: A fair number of the episode titles appear to have been beamed in from some bizarre alternate dimension.
  • The Nth Inspector: Trope Namer. The Inspector has had many actors over the years, due to his ability to undergo metamorphosis. This new blood every few seasons allows the show to stay quite fresh. Notable fan favorites are Bernard Fox and his endlessly elaborate tea-breaks, Marius Goring with his silly ascot and taste for wine gums, and the more recent Ninth and Tenth Inspectors, Mark Williams and Daniel Landlord. The least popular are Steve Carell and Stephen Fry.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: the Blorgons. Their Catchphrase, "ERADICATE!", pretty much gives it away.
  • One-Word Title: The second most popular method of naming Inspector Spacetime episodes, e.g. "Afterworld", "Mathsville", "Sorta", "Cattlefield", and "Squared".
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Justified since the literally heartless Infinity Knights' decentralised vascular system, first confirmed in the Third Inspector serial "Vanguard of the Void", means that he takes somewhat less damage from chest wounds and hydrostatic shock.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: To avoid overusing bug-eyed monsters, the programme's writers often put new spins on familiar creatures, even if some turned out simply weird (e.g. the two-headed radioactive cobalt-coloured snakes from "The Blue Ruination").
  • Product Placement: To supplement the programme's often meagre budget, BTV has occasionally resorted to inserting commercial products into the Inspector's adventures for an under-the-table fee.
    • The serial "Space-Break", which featured the character the Tang Seer, played up his quaffing and extolling the virtues of a brightly coloured "astronaut beverage" (that nevertheless failed to penetrate the UK market).
    • In "The Melancholy Mafia", Bertie Bassett—the anthropoid sweets mascot of Bassett's Liquorice Allsorts—shows up to assist the Inspector when he arrives on Terra Omega.
    • In the new series' "1981 Inspector Spacetime Holiday Special", Santa Claus notoriously wished everyone a "merry Time Day" by handing out iconic bottles of Coca-Cola.
  • Prop Recycling: Done constantly, thanks to the limited budget.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Originally the programme used Gustav Holst's "Jupiter", then quite controversially switched to a version of "Kashmir" by Led Zeppelin.
  • Recycled In Space: The classic and new series have done this with everything from pirates ("The Buccaneer Comet") and Father Christmas ("The 1981 Inspector Spacetime Holiday Special") to vampires ("Vampires From Space!") and Vikings ("The Space Viking").
  • Rogues Gallery: BTV has dubbed the Inspector's "The Circus of Creatures", a nickname derived from the title of a Third Inspector serial that featured cameos from all the major antagonists up to that point, from the Blorgons and Circuit-Chaps to the Sulphur Soldiers and the Crütonnes.
  • Running Gag: Every time a new Inspector takes over, the X7 starts making some strange new sound upon its arrival anywhere, which the new Inspector invariably considers to be the Most Wonderful. Associate and fan reactions have tended to be more mixed. (Though nearly everyone was happy when the program ditched the First Inspector's horrible grating screech.)
    • Having the Third Inspector make a cameo appearance, invariably involving tea-drinking, at some point during the run of each of his successors.
  • Scary Black Man: The cybernetically hands-on First Mate Scree in "The Buccaneer Comet".
    • Strongly averted with the Tenth Inspector, of course.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: Inspector Spacetime is simply stuffed with them.
  • Screaming Woman: Most of the female Associates and some of the male ones.
  • Secret Government Warehouse:
    • The infamous Black Museum where the Infinity Knights store dangerous technology confiscated from miscreants across space and time, though the Inspector notes keeping the collection together in one place is convenient for the Tinker's burgling.
    • The Peacemist Institute had one in the British Museum, although this was destroyed in "Apocalypse".
  • Sherlock Scan: Mostly averted. When commencing a new investigation, the Inspector prefers to seek out a well-informed local to explain what's going on rather than overplay his uncanny powers of deduction.
  • Signature Headgear: A trademark of the series. While sometimes a bit anachronistic, such as the Second Inspector’s vintage fedora, there was the... thing... the Fifth Inspector sported on her head. The Fifth Inspector was the only female Inspector in the classic series and also the most fashion-challenged one to date.
  • Stable Time Loop: The First Inspector was scrupulous in avoiding these on his adventures and would prevent anyone from creating them (such as the renegade Friar in "The Spacetime Rabble-Rouser").
    • Which made the Unknown Inspector's metamorphosis into him all the more ironic at the end of "The Golden Jubilee of the Inspector" 2012 Christmas Special.
  • Starfish Aliens: Literally in the case of the Asterozoids (or the best the BTV costume department could do).
  • Super Senses: Averted. Although other characters credit him with everything from mind-reading powers and psychic abilities to x-ray vision and ultra-frequency hearing, the Inspector's apparently superhuman perspicacity and uncanny forensic insights are really due to his brilliant ratiocination.
  • Take That!: The show occasionally takes playful jabs at its rival, although when that show first premiered, many viewers criticised the Inspector's sudden and numerous diatribes about the "thieves and lowlifes at Westminster" (where the BBC's Broadcasting House is coincidentally located) as being as a case of Writer on Board.
  • Technical Pacifist: The Inspector often claims to be one.
    The Fourth Inspector: Strictly speaking, Constable, it was the blood loss that killed him, not my Optic Pocketknife, although I see how you could be confused.
  • The Teaser: A hallmark of the show from the very beginning.
    • During the Sixth Inspector's run, like everything else, these got really weird. Most notably, "The Mask of the Maharani" begins with a minute and forty seconds of a close-up of the Inspector staring into the camera and whispering a plot summary of the story. In Latin. Backwards.
  • Time Police: Literally, this was the function of the Infinity Knights before their society continued to expand and they slacked on their duties. Their arrogance eventually led to the Time Wave that destroyed the Inspector's civilisation and most of the Blorgons.
  • Wibble Wobble Time Thing: Trope Namer.
  • Title Drop: This has always been favorite rhetorical device of the programme's writers, e.g.:
    Constable Wigglesworth: So you see, Detective and Chief Inspector, this evidence proves conclusively that the person before you was framed by The Previous Inspector!
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • The Fourth Inspector carried a bag of wine gums in his coat, which he'd offer to others.
    • The Eleventh Inspector loves custard creams and coffee.
  • Uniqueness Decay: In the early years, the audience knew almost nothing about the Inspector's origins. It would be six years into the series before the "Infinity Knights" were introduced in the serial "The Crime Sports". The Inspector did not return to his home planet of Kayaclasch until the 1975 serial "The Lethal Murderer", but in the following decade, such serials as "The Theft of Space" (1977) and the multi-part "Internal Investigation of the Inspector" (1985) revealed more and more about the autocratic, devious, and occasionally corrupt Kayaclaschians. Many fans complained that so much information about the Infinity Knights had diluted their sense of mystery. One of the objectives of the new series under David Russell was to erase them from the continuity after the events of the Time Wave.
  • The Voice: The Operator has never visibly appeared in any Inspector Spacetime media.
  • The Watson: the Inspector's many Associates, including the newest, Temporary Constable Geneva. His recent Associates in the new seasons also include:
    • Angelica "Angie" Lake
    • Rory Williams
    • Mona Virtue
    • Yorke
    • Joanna Martin
    • Captain James Haggard
    • Minnie Smythe
    • Lily Taylor
    • Mary Sue Brown made a cameo return on the new seasons, bringing with her the lovable FE-Line
  • Wham Line: In addition to all the twist episodes, there has been plenty of startling dialogue over the years:
    • Yorke: Human? Is that what you think I am, Inspector?
    • For the Anglo arc: "Remember your roots, Inspector, remember those ages past when you had so many adventures. They seem gone now, forgotten. So many things have been forgotten. Old enemies, old planets, even an old friend...."
    • "It's time you finally woke up."
    • The final lines of Series 6: "You've done so much: you've shattered the Time Cube, defeated the Blorgons countless times; you are the Scourge of Space, the Warrior of the Ten Systems, the Mythic Man. The daft Inspector travelling in space and time in his little red phone box... and you thought it was all real? No, no, no, my boy. You haven't been seeing the whole picture in so long. I'm contacting the mainframe and telling them to jolt you out of the hypersleep. Your reinvitigouration will be triggered artificially. You've been asleep too long, muttering in your sleep. It's time you finally woke up. It's time for quiet, time to rise."
    • "Maura, I didn't save you."
    • "We want you to frame the Inspector, Brooke."
    • "It all still awaits you: the Mountains of Gorzalot, the Rise of the Twelfth, and the dilemma! The final dilemma! The dilemma that has never been resolved, hidden away from all who might see it! The dilemma that's drawn you closer, for all of your existence! 'Inspector Spacetime'. 'Inspector Spacetime'! 'Inspect-or-Spacetime'!"
  • At the end of the three parter, "The Not Quite Individuals", the Inspector is shocked to discover that his primary Associate has been a hand-puppet the whole time.
The Inspector: "Really should have seen that one. I mean, with the arm up the back. Who's arm was it anyway?"
  • Wrong Turn at Albuquerque: The Third Inspector in particular tended to wander into situations by accident, but specifically invoked by the Fifth Inspector at the start of "Rainbow of Forever": "Hm. Evidently we should have turned left at Betelgeuse. Oh well, since we're here..."
    • The beginning and ending to the new series's episode "Turn Right".
  • The X of Y: The traditional method of creating titles for Inspector Spacetime adventures. Just mix and match from Column A and Column B with "of" or "of the".
    • Column A: Age, Alias, Android, Bedlam, Case, Claws, Circus, Creation, Colony, Day, Deserts, End, First, Foot, Funeral, Gloom, Humans, Identity, Incursion, Intersection, Investigation, Journey, Mask, Megaliths, Mind, Moon, Night, Oblivion, Party, Persistence, Planet, Power, Rage, Reappearance, Reign, Return, Robots, Saviour, Sphere, Sins, Son, Spell, Theft, Tip, Torcs, Tusks, Underground, Visage, World, Ziggurats
    • Column B: Aquanos, Asox, Blorgons, Camelot, Circuit-Chaps, Circuits, Cobra, Creatures, Death, Deep, Doom, Earth, Forever, Good, Infinity Knights, Inspector, Life, Line, Living, Maharani, Mastodons, Midgar, Memory, Nede, Nightmare, Parallels, Pigator, Plasma, Quiet, Ruin, Shennong, Space, Strands, Sun, Terror, Time, Venice, Venus, Villainy, Vortigern, Water, Westminster, World, Zorl
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Heavily implied to be the case with the Blue and Orange Wardens.

    Classic Series Tropes 
  • Abandoned Area: Favoured by the BTV's budget-conscious producers during the classic series in order to hold down the costs of casting extras and constructing elaborate sets, notably the lost city of Izzomun in "Funeral of the Blorgons", the dark matter world in "The Three Inspectors", and the Circuit-Chap–infested Paris Métro in "The Revolution".
  • Aborted Arc: Several in the Seventh Inspector era, first thanks to the dumbing down of the scripts, then the programme's cancellation in 1988. The Instructor plotline in particular was Left Hanging with many questions unanswered.
  • The Ace: The Fourth Inspector in his appearance in the Sixth-era serial "The Only Inspector".
  • Achilles' Heel: In "The Crime Sports" we learn that the Dimensioniser isn't invulnerable after all. (At least when facing other Infinity Knights...)
    • The Circuit-Chaps are invincible except when exposed to lead dust, which clogs their condensers. When confronted by it, they exclaim, "Get the lead out!"
      • In later serials this weakness is exaggerated to the point where in 1976's "Blood and Servos", the Inspector is able to rout the Circuit-Chaps by reading the Encyclopaedia Cosmosica entry for "lead" to them. note 
  • Acting Unnatural: The unidentified trench-coated snoopers who periodically pop up in the background during season 11.
  • The Adventure Continues: newlyweds Irma and Bert cheerfully go off to explore Earth's 3rd-Millenium galactic empire when they part ways with the Inspector at the end of "The Marathon Pursuit". They never appeared on the show again, but a couple of Expanded Universe novels were written about their escapades.
  • Affectionate Parody: The charity special The Malediction of Deadly Doom, an online comedy special with the Inspector portrayed by Ricky Gervaisnote  who goes through multiple metamorphosis including Johnny Depp.
  • Alien Invasion: Mainly Type Two, particularly during the Fourth Inspector's forced reassignment to 1970s Earth when any given serial's mysterious malefactor would turn out to be conspiring with an extraterrestrial invasion, the Sergeant, or both.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: An entire Blorgon Battlehub gets suddenly, casually devoured by the Infinite Cyclorama.
  • Always Save the Girl: Subverted in "The Doomsday Scenario", where the Inspector deliberately leaves Lunda at the mercy of the Horrible Horde. She survives... but plots revenge.
  • Americans Are Cowboys / Awesome Aussie: Veneziana is a mix of these tropes. She is from Newer South Wales, a rather bizarre 24th-century Earth colony that mashes together the best and worst of the cultures of the Australian outback and Texas. She is introduced lassoing Circuit-Chaps while wearing a bushranger hat and spurs. Subverted when it's revealed she's afraid of horses.
  • And I Must Scream: The Big Bad of "Five Inspectors, One Time Booth" feature-length episode gets his just desserts for seeking out the secret of Infinity Knight Commissioner Sassafrass' immortality when he is turned into a stale Simnel cake.
  • Anyone Can Die: Jeffrey. The Inspector's reaction is a Tear Jerker.
  • Anyone Remember Pogs?: The Inspector and his Associates having to cram themselves inside the Booth was intended to capitalise on the fad of Telephone Box Stuffing, which had just arrived the UK in 1959. Now the ridiculousness is lampshaded with the Associates' catch phrase "I thought it would be bigger on the inside!"
  • Battle Aura: The Sulphur Soldiers sometimesnote  sported a foul-smelling one in addition to their Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Beard of Evil: The Sergeant's fabulous moustache. It has to be seen to be believed. No, it's not fake.
  • Big Dumb Object / Bizarrchitecture: The Infinite Cyclorama in both of its appearances.
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: The Second Inspector encountered Skunk Apes while investigating odd volcanic activity on Mount Tambora in "The Unspeakable Lavamen."
  • Big "NO!": The Inspector at Jeffrey's death.
    • Used more humorously when the Fifth Inspector learns The Infinity Knights have made her High Chief Commissioner.
  • Blatant Lies: The Sixth-Inspector serial "The Only Inspector" features guest appearances by the Third, Fourth and Fifth Inspectors. Word Of God states that this was a deliberate riff/Take That! aimed at the Third Inspector serial "The Three Inspectors", which featured Bernard Fox in (technically) three different roles.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Trope Namer, after the inscrutable actions of the Blue ("good") and Orange ("evil") Wardens. In the so-called "Orange Warden Trilogy" comprising "Mawdrone Alive", "Genesis", and "The Dark Ages", it's impossible to say what the Warden's enigmatic plan for the Fifth Inspector is, only that it's malevolent (probably.)
  • Bolivian Army Ending: "The Theft of Space", sort of. Word Of God is that Reena died from being stabbed, but as it ended up being filmed, the actual scene leaves her fate rather ambiguous.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy:
    • Yosif was the Inspector's most intelligent Associate, sometimes even beating him at problem solving, but most of Yosif's ideas were not recognised due to their apathetic presentation. The Third Inspector tended towards this as well, leading to the fan-snark that their era on the show was one long tea-break punctuated with the occasional planet blowing up.
    • The Sixth Inspector also fit this trope during the "Internal Investigation of the Inspector", which he spent a lot of time orchestrating/reacting to events from his Defendant's Cube.
  • BTV Quarry: The earlier serials take place on planets such as "Rockterrainia", but after the programme's budget got beefed up, this has mostly been averted.
  • Buddy Cop Show: Quite a few of the flashbacks of the Inspector's and the Sergeant's early days.
  • The Bus Came Back: The very first Associate, Susannah Overseer, was abruptly and mysteriously "reassigned" by her and the Inspector's then-unnamed civilisation after only a few serials and replaced with the far more popular duo of Irma and Bart. (The real-life reason was that the character simply wasn't working as well as hoped; Irma and Bart served as much better Watsons.) She came back for a brief but significant cameo in "The Crime Sports" and was never seen again. Although there were subtle hints that she shares some sort of connection to The Instructor.
  • Busman's Holiday: The Third Inspector's quasi-retirement consisted chiefly of excursions across space and time in which he coincidentally arrived on distant worlds conveniently when plots against Earth were being hatched, despite the Infinity Knight high command's request he limit his involvement with his old planetary precinct after the events of "The Crime Sports".
  • The Cast Showoff: The various actors who have played the Inspector often possess additional talents they're happy to show off.
    • While Christopher Lee's commando training with the Special Operations Executive added an element of authenticity to the Second Inspector's fight scenes, his proudest personal accomplishment on the programme was displaying his operatic baritone by singing Non più andrai to Aiden before the climactic battle in "The Sulphur Soldiers".
    • Graham Chapman, a prominent member of the Dangerous Sports Club, convinced the director of "Spacewhip" to include a chase sequence involving the Inspector "zorbing"—downhill-racing in a 3m-diameter lightweight plastic sphere-within-a-sphere.
    • Steve Carell's ability to burp the entire alphabet figures twice in his one broadcast performance as the Eighth Inspector. ("I never thought when I learned to do that at age 13 it would pay off with a Made-for-TV Movie," Carell bragged.)
  • City on the Water: Mid-Atlantica Habitation Platform #2342 in "The Sunken Peril".
  • Classical Movie Vampire: Count Morbus (played by Vladek Sheybal) from the Fourth Inspector serials "Terror at Tooth Point" and "Vampires From Space!".note 
  • Clueless Mystery: The notoriously bad scripts for the Seventh Inspector's "back to basics" time-travelling investigations drew much criticism for withheld clues, last-minute culprits, and massive explosions covering up plot holes. The worst example occurs in "Bronze Friends" where the Inspector doesn't so much figure out how the Circuit-Chaps could have Blackmailed Isambard Kingdom Brunel into modifying the first propeller-driven transatlantic steamship with self-awareness as how he can blow it up.
  • Cobweb of Disuse: The desolate ruins on Antebelis Gamma in "The Sphere of Strands" in season 2; by the time the Inspector comes back for "Return to the Sphere of Strands" in season 11, the whole planet has become a Cobweb Jungle, which contrasts eerily with the sterile and polished Infinity Knight Star Chamber.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: The high-collared trench coat-like garments worn by the mysterious tailing Third Inspector during his last season. The finale serial revealed them to be the Infinity Knights' Internal Affairs Watchdogs, sent by the high command to monitor the Inspector's unorthodox approach to his mysterious mission.
  • Costume Porn: Associate Petula's white go-go boots.
  • Creepy Good: The Under-Lurkers in "The Throwbacks".
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: In "The Saviour of Earth", the nefarious Basile Lisque is a dead ringer for the Second Inspector, who is able to go undercover impersonating him by adopting merely a glued-on moustache and outrageously bad French accent.
  • Cryptid Episode: In addition to the Skunk Apes in "The Unspeakable Lavamen," there's the Morgawr in "Horror of the Asterozoids" and the Owlman of Cornwall in "Night Terrors of Nede."
  • Cute Kitten: "The Kittens" attempts to subvert this trope, with the titular creatures as the secretly bloodthirsty Monsters of the Week.
  • Dance Sensation: Pamela Highwater (the second Petula) was a professional go-go dancer by trade. She performed "Do the Inspector" on Top of the Pops, and her single got as high as #27 on the UK Top Singles chart. No music critics have dared to put it on "Worst Songs Of All Time" lists due to how beautiful Pamela is.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Associate Petula was a frequent cause of this, sometimes deliberately when her go-go dance routines were used to distract guards, sometimes by simply walking past.
  • The Ditz: One popular fan-name for the Fifth Inspector and her associates Thorough Visor, Nymeria and Veneziana was "The Four Ditzes", though the Inspector was much more clever than she acted, and, in various ways, the three associates were all more clever and capable than they themselves realised.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Averted until Season 23, when BTV banned protagonists from using firearms. The Sixth Inspector (and all inspectors previous) occasionally carried his trademark Webley revolver in a shoulder holster. The Sixth Inspector liked his pistol so much he would often use it to open Orangina bottles.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first few serials with Susannah Overseer. As indicated by her name, she was evidently the Inspector's assigned auditor, or even boss, holding some sort of vaguely defined "decommission" threat over him as he solves "history crimes" (see immediately below). Both of them being (as-yet-unnamed) Infinity Knights also resulted in a lot of painfully clunky As You Know dialogue. The show didn't really find its groove until Susannah was abruptly "recalled" and Irma Rong and Bart Gilbert enthusiastically burst onto the scene.
    • And, of course, the Dimensioniser being called a "DARSIT" a few times in the first serial. The Fourth Inspector later explains that "darsit" is an Infinity Knight swear word.
    • The pilot episode is very unusual compared to the rest of the series, by not featuring any monsters, adventures, space or time travel.
  • Edutainment Show: Hard as it is to believe in retrospect, this programme was conceived as serious family edutainment. Stories set in the past were supposed to teach children history, with The Inspector solving historical crimes, such as in the serial "The Two Princes' Murder". The ones set in the future or on other planets were intended to teach science, but the Blorgons' unanticipated massive popularity quickly changed the emphasis of the show to science fiction.
  • Emperor Scientist: Vosrda becomes this in "Corporation of the Blorgons". Or at least ends up ruling one of three competing Blorgon factions following an Enemy Civil War.
  • Enemy Civil War: Following the events of Sixth Inspector serial "Corporation of the Blorgons", the Blorgon Commonwealth of Sentients got broken into three competing factions, all of which figured in the next season's mammoth "Internal Investigation of the Inspector". Sadly, the Seventh Inspector's "Oblivion of the Blorgons" was a hideously apt title, as the Commonwealth was depicted as being (re)unified with absolutely no explanation as to what happened.
  • Enemy Mine: The Inspector and Count Morbus during "Vampires From Space!"
  • Everybody Lives: The Fifth Inspector's final serial "The Hills of Androgyny", where the Inspector saves the eponymous paradise from environmental destruction without a single death. Except her own. And of course, she recovered.
  • Evil Twin: Was there ever a character in this show that didn't have at least one of these? One even turned up for FE-Line. The zenith (or nadir) was probably the serial "The Triplicate Catastrophe", with "The Three Inspectors" running a close second.
  • Expendable Clone: Scads of them in "The Triplicate Catastrophe", thanks to an ongoing Teleporter Accident.
  • Fair-Play Whodunnit: A staple of the Second Inspector's investigations, particularly the innumerable locked room mystery settings (which were favoured for budgetary reasons). For example, the Inspector deduced the murders of the chrono-scientists in "The Cube in Time" were perpetrated by the base's high-tech laboratory equipment and kitchen appliances, which the Circuit-Chaps had modified into lethal conscripts of the Digifleet, after assorted evidence excluded all the human and alien suspects.
  • Fan Disservice: The outfits sported by King Sonacry and The Indictor are the most legendary examples.
  • Fictional Document: The Inspector occasionally would read from/quote/consult the Encyclopaedia Cosmosica. There was evidently a plan to do a serial centred on this rather mysterious work, but like so much else, it got scrapped during the Seventh Inspector's run.
    • While the Inspector no doubt wishes that it was the EC, the phonebook that comes as part of the Booth's current form is, in fact, a (very) battered and out-of-date copy of the phonebook for the Sprint Street neighbourhood where the Booth picked up its current form.
  • The Film of the Series:
    • The 1964 Inspector Spacetime vs. the Blorgons and its 1965 sequel Blorgons—Extortion Earth 2150, starring Christopher Lee as "Inspector Spacetime" (instead of simply "The Inspector"). Unusually, these Films of the Series were made while the original was still in production. They adapted the first and second Blorgon stories but also changed the overall premise of the series, most notably by making the Inspector half human and introducing the first quasi-official spelling of Blorgon without the "r". They most definitely take place in an Alternate Continuity, as opposed to the broader canon fans refer to as the Inspectrum.
    • Later there was the TV movie Inspector Spacetime, which didn't adhere to the same continuity as the first two films, although it references them in a few throw away lines.
    • Many Inspector Spacetime movies have wound up languishing in Development Hell, such as one where he was to face THE DEVIL HIMSELF.
  • Flaming Sword: A memorable part of the official regalia of the King or Queen of Barbartron IV.
  • Flying Car: The Fourth Inspector temporarily used one after the Infinity Knights grounded him on Earth. Spacetime fans called it "The S.E.T." (Spacetime Express Tram) or just "The Tram".
  • Follow the Leader: In 1963, The BBC tried to duplicate the success of Inspector Spacetime with another, less-inspired show.
  • Four Is Death: Literally. The Fourth Inspector has left behind a higher body count than any of the other Inspectors, even modern ones, including associates Lunda, who metamorphosised twice and then went into exile in an alternate dimension, and (probably) Reena.
  • Gambit Pileup: The whole glorious elephantine spectacle that was "Internal Investigation of the Inspector" season/plot-arc. The Infinity Knight high command, three factions of Blorgons, the Circuit-Chaps, the Sergeant, the Indictor, the Instructor, the Blue and Orange Wardens... Maddeningly, it all got swept under the carpet when the Seventh Inspector era started.
  • Gender Bender: Many hardcore Inspector Spacetime fans don't even know this trope applies to the Inspector's popular 1960s Associate Petula (played by the luscious Pamela Highwater). During the Second Inspector's first series, a script was written at the instance of ratings-conscious BTV executives that featured a visit to the planet Femulon-VII where the Inspector's current Associate Peter (Roy Higginbotham) was transformed into Petula. Miss Highwater was signed to play Petula, and scripts heavily emphasised Petula's sex appeal... an awkward development given Higginbotham's unprecedented "pay AND play" contract. The serial detailing Petula's transformation is now missing, and Petula's masculine origin was only obliquely hinted at a few times afterwards.
  • Generation Ships: Examples include those in "The Hulk", "Afterworld", and "Brouhaha on Beeb".
  • Gravity Master: The one of the powers of "The Infinite Cyclorama". Or maybe it used some other force to tie knots in the fabric of space.
  • Great Big Book of Everything: The Encyclopaedia Cosmosica. Maybe literally.
  • Gustav Holst Was An Alien Spy: The Trope Namer. Also, of course, a Credits Gag: "I liked that tune!" "Yes, I expect we'll be hearing it again."
  • Hedge Maze: One appears in "Mindscrew", although it's probably just a metaphor. Probably.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Count Morbus. Sort of.
  • Here There Be Dragons: The map in "Journey to Déjà Vu" features the legend "Here There Be Blorgons". (It turns out to be a Red Herring, or possibly foreshadowing for "The Blorgon's Cunning Scheme".)
  • Heroic BSoD: The Inspector after Jeffrey dies.
  • High-Dive Escape: The Sergeant's in "The Ocean Demons", among his many exits; Count Morbus's spectacular one at the end of "Terror At Tooth Point".
  • Historical Person Punchline: The writers enjoy occasionally introducing surreptitious historical cameos to keep viewers on their toes.
    • In "The Legend Locators", when Nikola Tesla's time-travel experiment goes awry, the Inspector and his Associates must rescue his temporally stranded friend and lab partner, Sam, from a fifth-century British warlord called Rigotamos who has dragooned him into serving as court magician. Once freed through the help of Layla of Dumnonia, Sam tells them that their adventure has provided him with the inspiration for his next novel.
    • In "Spacewhip", the Inspector reveals that "the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one" to a young German stowaway on the Dimensioniser he calls "Bertie".
  • Hopeless War: Hinted at in the backstory of "Omega and the Postmen" and the whole point of "The Doomsday Scenario".
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Blue and Orange Wardens.
  • Insusceptible to Handcuffs: Trope Namer. The Monster of the Week cannot be apprehended with conventional police gear—at least not until the Inspector modifies them. "Just once, I'd like to encounter an extraterrestrial miscreant that wasn't insusceptible to handcuffs!" the Superintendent would typically complain during his adventures with the Fourth Inspector.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: The episode "Mindscrew" of course. Although as also indicated by the title, whose mind exactly can be a point a debate..
  • Jumped at the Call: First Inspector Associates Irma and Bart are classic examples, eagerly going off with the Inspector when offered the chance.
  • Just Toying with Them: The Orange Warden, possibly.
  • Karma Houdini: The Sergeant. Although the Inspector repeatedly foiled his schemes with the Blorgons, Eocenes, Orcons, and Sulphur Soldiers (to name only a few), he could never amass conclusive evidence of the Sergeant's involvement in their conspiracies or disprove his nemesis's elaborate alibis. Until their climactic final confrontation on Kayaclasch in the serial "The Lethal Murderer".
    • Also Count Morbus, although he wasn't exactly a villain in his last appearance.
  • Lighter and Softer: BTV hired a fledgling author named Terry Pratchett to lighten the tone of the Fourth Inspector's later adventures. He has since criticised the new series for its overuse of "that wonderful element 'makeitupasyougalongeum'" but confesses he finds it compulsively watchable.
    • Also applies to the Fifth Inspector's run, which further cranked back the body-count.
  • London Gangster: Naturally, these appear throughout the Fourth Inspector's reassignment to late-twentieth century Earth, most prominently in "Exodus of the Blorgons" and "The Robot Revolution".
  • Made-for-TV Movie: The 90s Anglo-American collaboration Inspector Spacetime starring Steve Carell as The Eighth Inspector and Anne Hathaway as his Associate, Charity Galloway during the British programme's extended hiatus. Although its canonicity is established, its awkward plot, loose characterisation, and over-the-top acting, and make it something fans prefer to forget.
  • Mid-Battle Tea Break: Literally. The Third Inspector would employ his legendary love of tea—"It's always teatime somewhere in the universe."—as an excuse to extract himself and his Associates from sticky situations.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: In "The Sunken Peril", a bit of seemingly petty vandalism leads to a plot to blow up Habitation Platform #2342.
  • Mirror Universe: In "The Worst Ally", the finale of the "Internal Investigation of the Inspector" plot-arc and Graham Chapman's final appearance on the show, the Inspector was banished by the Infinity Knight leadershipnote  to another universe where the Blorgons desperately oppose the evil Terran Empire. He ended up killing himself so that the explosive renewal process would overload the Terran High Citadel's main reactor, ripping a "dimensional gap" large enough to send him hurtling back home. (With the bonus that his new incarnation could not be tried again for the same "crimes".) One last time, the Sixth Inspector succeeded by failing.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: The show used whatever animals it could scrounge up on a shoestring budget, so yeah. And for cryptozoology fans at least, having Skunk Apes turn up in Indonesia is a prime example.
  • Missed Him by That Much: The teaser for the Sixth-Inspector serial "The Only Inspector" featured the current Inspector and Jeffery in the foreground trying (with their usual lack of success) to keep the Exploding Rock from exploding again, while in the far background the Third Inspector and Mary-Sue re-create one of the tea-spilling scenes from "Incursion of the Mastodons." Neither pair ever notices the other.
  • Mockbuster: The Inspector appeared in the completely unauthorised 1973 Turkish film 5 Kudretli Adamlar (lit. 5 Mighty Guys, aka "Turkish Blacula"). The film featured the Inspector teaming up with Blacula, El Santo, and advertising Mascot Mister Clean to defeat an extremely violent and sadistic version of Tintin. The Inspector, wildly out of character throughout, wields a leftover Batarang prop from the 1966 Batman (1966) instead of his Optic Pocketknife.
  • Mood Whiplash: A common complaint about the TV Movie, which cuts jarringly from Stephen Fry's dignified and funereal last bow, to Steve Carell and Christian Slater competing to see who can bite off larger chunks of the set.
  • Moral Guardians: Christine Blackhall's Civic Eyes and Ears Council launched a public campaign against the programme during the Fourth Inspector's reassignment to Exo-Pol in the mid-70s, complaining about its sci-fi treatment of violent crime in contemporary London and its generally darker shift in tone. The cliffhanger scene of the Sergeant stamping on the Inspector's fingers as he dangled from the edge of the Infinity Knights' Omnium Watchtower in "The Lethal Murderer" was singled out by Blackhall as, notoriously, "teatime terrorism for tykes".
  • Muppet Cameo: For the serial "Mindscrew", the Jim Henson Company was specially commissioned to produce an Inspector Muppet for the scene in which the Sixth Inspector is transformed into a blue-furred monster. Despite the serial's classic status, some fans still complain that they not only got the X7's colour wrong but also used an American-style phone booth.
  • My Future Self and Me: The various incarnations of the Inspector have had their interactions over the decades. "The Three Inspectors" has the Third Inspector meeting a not-too-distant future version of himself (along with their dark-matter duplicate).
  • Naming Your Colony World: Newer South Wales and Androgyny are two of the more memorable examples. The fact that the latter name proved to be spectacularly inappropriate was immediately lampshaded by the Fifth Inspector and her Associates upon their arrival there.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Sploog at the end of "Cattlefield" when it declares that "all trace of your stain shall be wiped from existence!" and sweeps everything into the Field... including Dynamo's satchel stuffed full of dynamite.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The Seventh Inspector, more than once.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Infinity Knights, as well as their (possible) minion the Instructor.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted; the Inspector has had two otherwise-unrelated Associates named Aiden.
    • Not to mention the fact that two consecutive actors playing the Inspector were named "Steve."
  • Planning with Props: Done in "The Sulphur Soldiers", when planning the assault on the eponymous entities.
  • The Quest: "The Bolt of Space" arc, in which over the course of half a dozen serials the Inspector searched for pieces of the titular MacGuffin, which was either a part of the Cosmic Portal Lock or the Fourth Dimensional Coupling, depending on whether one believed the Blue Warden or the Orange Warden.
  • The Radio Dies First: Done more than once with the Second Inspector's mysteries.
  • Raygun Gothic: Intentionally invoked more than once in the sets of the Seventh Inspector's episodes, particularly with the Circuit-Chaps in "Bronze Friends". Whether this was another failing of the era or one of its few high points remains a point of contention among fans.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Mimmek, one of the Fifth Inspector's Associates, was originally going to be a shape-shifting robot alien. However, the mechanical prop kept breaking down, so he was hastily rewritten as "Mimmek the Invisible". Oddly enough, this has caused him to be (supposedly) one of the longest-running Associates, as Word Of God says he's still travelling with the Inspector, but he's "just been very shy lately".
    • A sadder example is Graham Chapman's early departure from the series due to his growing health problems.
  • The Rival: Inspector Minerva. Introduced when the Fourth Inspector returned to Kayaclasch in "The Lethal Murderer" and returning in "The Theft of Space" and "Five Inspectors, One Time Booth", she rubbed fans the wrong way. Her Catchphrase "No-one calls me baby!" particularly grated since nobody did, in fact, ever call her baby.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: "The Moribund Mind" features one of these. Also "Return of the Infinite Cyclorama", though it was a really big "can"..
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: The attempt(s) to prevent the re-summoning of the eponymous artefact in "The Return of the Infinite Cyclorama".
  • Sequel Hook: The serial "Sphere of the Strands" ended with one, which was finally followed up on ten years and two Inspectors later, with the Third Inspector's final serial "Return to the Sphere of Strands". Might also qualify as a Brick Joke, although the Inspector had nothing to laugh about.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: Used a couple of times in "Terror at Tooth Point", in homage to the silent version of Nosferatu.
  • Space Whale: In the serial, "Brouhaha on Beeb" the Inspector and Jeffrey are trapped on a spacefaring, living vessel, on the scale of a blue whale. The serial also serves as a Thriller on the Express, as they solve a mystery on a moving, closed vehicle. And of course, it's a jab at That Other Show, since "Beeb" turns out to be the name of the creature.
  • Starfish Language: The Theremen speak in high-pitched electronic squeals and squeaks.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: In the TV Movie, the Circuit-Chaps speak in unrhymed iambic pentameter.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: The Seventh Inspector in the made-for-TV movie.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien:
    • The Blue and Orange Wardens are the programme's most prominent example. At one point the Inspector speculates these two might even be "The universe arguing with itself."
    • The Oddities from "Oddly Out of Place" qualify as well.
  • The Superintendent: Trope Namer Head of Exo-Pol's London Branch, the old-fashioned Irvine Leith initially appeared as a Reasonable Authority Figure, but after a few stories, he began to embody this trope, as repeated exposure to extraterrestrial miscreants, as well the Fourth Inspector's mercurial personality, frustrated him considerably.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Early on BTV tried to replicate the Blorgon fad several times, never successfully. Most notable were the Leptons in the Second Inspector's adventure "The Servitors", as well as the massive Crütonnes in the Second Inspector's serial of the same name and the cuter Chavvies in the First Inspector's "Solar System 16".
  • Swirly Energy Thingy: The Centripetus storyline involved nefariously controlled ceiling fans that emitted a still unknown, but harmful type of energy.
  • Taking You with Me: The Inspector blows up the Alternate Universe Terran Empire's High Citadel in "The Worst Ally".
  • Thirsty Desert: Featured, sort of, in "The Megaliths of Plasma".
  • Time Stands Still: A sign of the deteriorating condition of... darn near everything... in "Space-Break".
  • Travel Montage: Used extensively in the episode "Ferdinand Magellan".
  • Unexplained Recovery: The Sergeant, beginning with his apparent death in "The Lethal Murderer", has successfully, if inexplicably, come back after: dissolving due to an algebraic proof he did not exist in "Mathsville", vanishing in his sabotaged Dimensioniser in "Space-Break", drowning in a liquid planetoid in "Moon of Water", and undergoing public execution by the Infinity Knights in the backstory to the 1999 TV movie.
  • Villainous Valour: Ümlaütsøn in "The Space Viking".
  • We Need a Distraction: Associate Petula's go-go dancing was often a triple threat, used to distract guards, fill air time, and provide Parent Service (though not so much the latter when she was played by Roy Higginbotham.)
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Blorgons' infamous inability to swim. Their problem gets solved when the Orange Warden pops up and bestows on them an upgrade jocularly referred to as "a powerboating licence."
  • Weird Moon / Weird Sun: Both are Plot Points, thanks to Artistic License – Space, in "The Obvious World".
  • What Year Is This?: Averted. The Seventh Inspector typically announces he and Jeffery have arrived in a particular year only to be quickly corrected by a local.
  • Who Inspects the Inspector: The Infinity Knights' high command has on occasion taken exception to the Inspector's methods of performing his mission and conducted their own inquiries into them. Their interventions suggest that their impartiality may be suspect, however.
    • At the end of "Return to the Sphere of Strands", the Inspector successfully defended himself against their most serious criticisms, but he was nevertheless transferred to 1970s Earth as a Time Police Liaison with Exo-Pol, effectively exiling him, and required to metamorphose into the Fourth Inspector.
    • "The Internal Investigation of the Inspector" arc, obviously. By the end, the proceedings had gotten a bit silly, but that might have been the Inspector's plan all along.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Yosif's sex wasn't revealed until a season after the character's introduction (though the stated reason for crossdressing is that it was just easier).
  • World of Silence: Tacitropolis. To be banished there is crueller than the Inspector thinks any sentient deserves.
  • You Will Be Gustav Holst: While investigating unauthorised timeline versions of famous historical figures in "The Time Bootleggers", the Second Inspector must impersonate, variously, the Pharaoh Ramesses the Great, Georges Seurat, and Grigori Rasputin in order to preserve continuity.
    • In the new series, the Inspector heavily implies that following the Time Wave, he has had to do this again with other notable personages.
  • Zeerust: As a 50-year-old programme often taking place in the decades and centuries to come, Inspector Spacetime inevitably has to deal with dated futuristic designs and failed historical and technological predictions. This also causes continuity issues, such as the Circuit-Chaps having access to more advanced machinery during the Paris techno-riots of "The Revolution" (1967) than in "The Lost Asteroid" (1965), despite the former story taking place over a decade before the latter.
  • Lampshaded with the Circuit-Chaps' original quasi-Victorian design, which subsequently was remodelled several times to emphasise its "retro-futurism".

    New Series Tropes 

  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Following a drunken one-night stand astride the Interstellar Date Line, Angie is now several centuries younger than the resulting daughter, Brooke Rhapsody.
    • Until The Reveal that Brooke is actually Angie's grandmother, and the real baby was whisked off to be sold to a sweatshop orbiting Neptune. The trope still stands, though, because Brooke is still fifteen minutes and thirty-two seconds younger than her granddaughter.
  • Alternate Landmark History: The new series often invokes this trope.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Pretty much the whole point of the Time Deviants. While they look and act human, they're actually soulless psychopaths who feed off of chaos and destruction. Yorke's self-control from the time he started travelling with the Tenth Inspector to the time he saved a fleet of Blorgons from the Time Wave is impressive.
  • Anachronic Order: The new series has tried the occasional narrative experiment.
    • The episode "Morton's Fork" jumps around wildly in both time and space when revealing the long history of the Eleventh Inspector's bowler hat. (And thanks to the aforementioned Fork, there are some jumps sideways as well.)
    • In "Around the Century in 80 Yesterdays", the Inspector pursues a bank robber who has come Unstuck in Time, although from an objective perspective, it looks like the Inspector arrests him first as a child, pursues him throughout his lifetime, yet somehow overlooks him when he pulls off his heist as an old man.
  • Arc Words:
    • You've been a Naughty Monkey.
    • Season Two had the Peacemist Corporation.
    • Season Three had Elect Anglo!, signalling the return of the Sergeant.
    • "The wasps are reappearing!"
    • Ring Ring Goes the Bell, until the Inspector snuffs it.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Almost the whole of steadfast, manly military man Captain James Haggard's story arc is his inspiring journey as he tries to come to terms with his own pansexuality. It's heartbreaking to watch him struggle with his internalised homophobia, but the writers pull it off brilliantly.
  • Badass Boast: The Inspector has rather a lot of them in the new series.
    • In "Good Lamb":
    Blorgon in human form: What are you gonna do? Save everyone? You're gonna rescue Lilly Taylor from the heart of our Battlehub, free the Earth, and then, just to top it all off, erase every last one of us from history?
    The Ninth Inspector: But I have an optic pocketknife, a time booth, and a *plan*… while your best option is to be frightened out of your tiny Blorgon minds!
    • Also in "The Anger of the Inspector":
    The Tenth Inspector: Do you know what the word "Inspector" means in Blorgon? It means "a silly little man in a silly little coat". Well, this silly little man in a silly little coat destroyed every single one of them. The Blorgons paid the ultimate price for underestimating me. For the sake of yourself, your family, and your civilisation, please do not make the same mistake.
    • And in "The Clock Strikes Eleven":
    The Eleventh Inspector: Congratulations! You're the first lot to come here. But the question isn't where, but when. Yes, there are going to be so many of you. Thousands and thousands of you, for millions and millions of years. And you'll all have one thing in common: me. Good evening, I'm the Inspector. You're nicked.
  • Break the Cutie: Angie, originally a source of slapstick humour, goes through this when the Sergeant succeeds in ripping her planet apart. It causes her to take a level in badass.
  • Brown Note: The Inspector quickly learned that the Cacophony couldn't be drowned out with sound. It only made them stronger. "The Cacophony WILL find you."
  • Call-Back: The classic series receives a lot of these from the Revival.
    • In both TV Movie and "The Clock Strikes Eleven", the recently metamorphosed Inspector steals his new clothes from a police station's locker room, just like in "Vanguard of the Void".
    • In "Lily", the Conspiracy Theorist Derek shows her a computer-enhanced aerial reconnaissance photo of the Inspector and his time booth at the Guanajay IRBM launch site outside Havana. The premiere episode of Inspector Spacetime aired in the UK just after the Cuban Missile Crisis had ended, of course.
    • Any time wine gums or sherbet lemons come up, everyone remembers which Inspector loved these.
  • Canon Discontinuity: For several years after "The 1981 Inspector Spacetime Holiday Special" aired, the BTV's official stance on the episode was to deny that it had ever been broadcast, produced, or even existed in the first place and that everyone responsible had been sacked. Any chance of an official release remains very unlikely as the creator reportedly personally destroyed every single official copy shortly after the broadcast, and BTV refuses to respond to anyone claiming to possess a copy.
    • The Internet being what it is, any truly dedicated fan will be able to find a copy online to see for themselves. note 
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • Christopher Lee's "Inspector Spacetime" character from the 60s films became one when he reprised the role for the 50th anniversary episode "The Golden Jubilee of the Inspector" 2012 Christmas Special.
    • Inverted after Arthur Darvill ended stint as Rory Williams on Inspector Spacetime only to play the same character in That Ripoff.
      Funny thing is, that other show has yet to explain Rory's immortality. But we already know the reason since we watched him here in Inspector Spacetime!
  • Changed My Hat: Trope Namer. The Eleventh Inspector often changes his bowler hat's colour, thinking it a cunning disguise.
  • Crossover: Hollywood Cyborg Kickpuncher pursues the Mega Dope-smuggling syndicate to the Mexican border, where he teams up with the Inspector, in "A Village Called Sympathy".
  • Dance Party Ending: In an ironic conclusion to the tragic outbreak of Choreokinesis—a disease that makes its victims dance compulsively—that killed fan-favorite Gerte, the Inspector felt it best to celebrate the discovery of the disease's antidote with a dance party.
  • Dead All Along: Maura, whom the Tenth Inspector offered to let travel with him simply so she could realise this. When she finally does it is truly heartbreaking.
  • Discontinuity Nod: In the 2011 Red Nose Day special "Spacetime", one of the "Alterninspectors" from parallel realities is seen using his Optic Pocketknife as a grappling hook, climbing up the side of a tall building, then pausing to chat with Top Gear (UK) host Jeremy Clarkson through an open window. It's a reference to the infamously unauthorised Batarang-wielding Inspector from the 1973 film 5 Kudretli Adamlar ("Turkish Blacula").
  • Domestic Abuse: Implied with the Sergeant and Lucio, the (suspiciously competent) shoe-shine boy he married in Mexico while posing as Henry Anglo. Lucio has the last laugh, however, when he cleans out "Anglo's" ill-gotten re-election fund and is last seen literally sailing off into the sunset on a yacht.
  • Evil Counterpart: This happens frequently when a character's positrons are negatised, resulting in an anti-version of the being affected. Constable Reggie once described the Anti-Inspector as having a "funny moustache" and being "kinda rape-y".
  • Five-Man Band: "The Inspector Detail" team-up of the Inspector's four most recent incarnations, plus Temporary Constable Geneva, put together by the Unknown Inspector in the 50th anniversary special episodes to fight both the Inspector General and the Blorgon forces.
  • Futile Hand Reach: Fiona Finch does this shortly before becoming a Snarling Lion in the Downer Ending of "Stare". Snarling Lions reproduce by transferring their DNA through a viral bite, and the person bitten gradually becomes a Lion. It's very rare (usually they just destroy and consume), but if someone manages to evade them for long enough, the Lions will attempt to convert them.
  • Future Me Scares Me: The Inspector is horrified by the prospect of incarnating as the Indictor, said by himself and the Infinity Knights to be a future incarnation of the Inspector.
    • Subverted in the charity special "Space Crunch": It turns out that the Fifth Inspector isn't scared of her unexpected future self, but rather of the Tenth Inspector's elbow, which hovers dangerously close to her face in their exceptionally cramped, intersected Dimensionisers' interiors.
  • Giggling Villain: Yorke. Brrrrr.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Subverted in "Let's Kill Hitler". When Aidan strangles der Führer with his bare hands, the Inspector is alternately furious with him and terrified of the awful world they'll find when they return to the early 21st century. In fact, they find millions of lives were saved because there was no Holocaust; World War II and the Cold War never happened, ushering in an unprecedented era of peace on Earth; and an undivided Germany became a beacon of tolerance and diversity, a shining example for all nations.
    Aidan: Everybody Lives, Inspector, just this once, everybody lives!
    Angie: Except Hitler.
    Aidan: Well, yeah. Not Hitler.
  • Hollywood Science: The science behind the Entanglement timeline is often criticised for its improbability, but writers dismissed these attacks in the third edition of the Inspector Spacetime companion book. Two words: Quantum Superpositioning.
  • Impersonating an Officer: As the last of the Infinity Knights, the Inspector tends to pull rank, legitimately or otherwise, on nearly every authority he encounters in the post-revival series.
  • The Inquisitor General: The ruthlessly zealous Inspector General who was in charge of the Infinity Knight High Command's Internal Affairs Department and who was running his own secret death squad of space-time officers to wage a covert war against the Blorgons. In the webisode "The Twilight of the Inspector" and the nicknamed "Golden Jubilee" episode "The Night of the Inspector", it is revealed that the Eighth Inspector went undercover to investigate him and his death squad, metamorphosing into the Unknown Inspector.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune:
    "Ring ring, goes the bell/
    One day we all must quit/
    Ring ring, goes the bell/
    Till the Inspector snuffs it"
  • Kill 'Em All: Very tragically in "A Spacetime Musical":
    The Ninth Inspector: No... no... please don't give me a night like this. I don't want it... (quietly, holding back tears) Everyone's dead, Lily... Once again... Everyone's dead.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The Sixth Inspector famously ended up in one. When he used his psychic abilities to break loose, it caused a negative feedback which broke the machine, but also left him critically wounded. He then changed into his Seventh Incarnation in what fans refer to as the most spectacular done metamorphosis sequence of the series and yet would be betrayed by the poor writing to come with Stephen Fry's Inspector. Sadly, Chapman died not long after his final scene was finished being filmed. The writers were rushing production while he was terminally ill at his insistence to please the fans and not leave them hanging or ungracefully bow out with a Fake Shemp.
  • Love Transcends Spacetime: The Inspector and Brooke Rhapsody, obviously.
  • Magma Man: Plural, in the 2012 Summer Special, in which igneous humanoids menace the Eleventh Inspector and Constable Geneva during their summer hols on an eco-tour in Sumatra. They turn out to be controlled by the Supreme Counter-Intelligence.
  • May–December Romance: The Inspector and his beloved, Brooke Rhapsody, meet at the middle of their romance and then go backwards. However, Brooke takes meticulous notes and documents everything so the Inspector knows exactly what's going on at whatever point in life he meets her.
  • Mind Rape: What some would consider Mona Virtue's ultimate fate.
  • Mistaken for Granite: The Snarling Lions from the critically acclaimed episode "Stare". These creatures are taken as statues at first by the episode's protagonist, Fiona Finch, but the Inspector soon warns her that they are intergalactic monsters that feed on continuum particles and that if she looks at any of them directly, they will suddenly become aware of her and wipe her from existence so they can eat on the energy the universe uses when repairing a minor gap in spacetime. The Inspector once described them as time mosquitoes.
  • Musical Episode: "A Spacetime Musical".
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: And the award goes to Captain Haggard in his introductory episode "The Cambiare Machine". He unseals the Void Seed container Inspector and Lily were chasing. The results are... not pretty.
  • No Sense of Direction: Infamously, Angie Lake. In "See No Evil", she not only gets lost in the woods in an attempt to avoid the Lions, she also manages to fall into a cavern.
  • Observation Screen: Trope Namer; however the new showrunner, Stefan Toffat, is not a fan of the earlier episodes and has vowed to reduce or eliminate its use, criticising it as a Hand Wave.
  • Planet of Hats: A literal example in "Morton's Fork", which in part focused on the backstory of the Eleventh Inspector's bowler hat.
  • Red Herring Twist: While fans were eagerly anticipating the Eleventh Inspector's metamorphosis for 2012 Christmas special's big Dénouement, they did not expect the Unknown Inspector's into the First—which then left the Classic Series Inspectors in a Stable Time Loop and made a Temporal Paradox out of the Ninth's origins.
  • Romantic False Lead: Spike Milligan is this for Joanna, until she decides she doesn't like The Goon Show and promptly dumps him for Minnie.
  • Running Gag: Unlike the monarchs of Europe who adore the Inspector, the prime ministers of Canada all want him dead or alive for a reason the Inspector always glosses over.
    • In the new companion book, we find out why. He lost them the War of 1812. They had to fix it themselves. They still remember. All of them.
  • Spinoff:
    • Peacemist: Nicer Post after Captain James Haggard joins the Peacemist Institute following the clash of the Blorgons and Circuit-Chaps.
    • The Mary Sue Predicaments picked up with Mary Sue Brown following the suspiciously inconclusive "The Embarrassing 15th Anniversary Reunion".
    • Break revisits the "special needs" school kids from "These Dark Satanic Mills" to find out what they get up to in between classes.
  • Straight Gay: Gwaednerth Smith, Captain James' love interest and eventual husband/partner/companion.
  • Straw Character: The episode "News of the Worms" features a transparent Piers Morgan analogue who the Inspector calls "the real worm".
  • The Team Wannabe: In the Neil Gaiman-scripted special episode "The Previous Inspector", it is revealed that the Detective and the Chief Inspector are not actually Infinity Knights but are really time-travelling admirers of the now-vanished Kayaclaschians and are attempting to assume their role, down to adopting their dress sense. Their appearance foreshadows the brief return of the Inspector-obsessed Infinity Knights to erase his chronological contradictions in "The Last Minutes".
  • Time Day: As the Eleventh Inspector explains in 2010's Christmas Episode, "The 1981 Inspector Spacetime Holiday Special", it's a universal tradition for life forms to give each other "a gift at the end of each orbital cycle." So really, Time Day isn't a question of when but where.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: The Constable and the poison pineapples. Doubles as a huge Tear Jerker.
  • Tsundere: Brooke isn't sure she loves the Inspector or wants to throttle him.
  • The Usual Adversaries: The Blorgons. In the new Inspector Spacetime, they now show up at least once in every series.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The episode "Morton's Fork". "Hello there! I will now tell you a whole slew of simply massive lies!"
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Beloved candidate for Prime Minister, Henry Anglo, until the end of Series 3 when he reveals to everyone that he is actually The Sergeant.
  • Wayback Trip: The Eleventh Inspector's Christmas Episode, in which he and Constable Reggie travel back to 1981 in order to save Time Day from the Blorgons. Conceived as the new series's hat tip to the classic serials, it wound up featuring such badly misplaced nostalgia, inappropriate reused footage, awful musical numbers, and terrible "futuristic" special effects that it drew record hate mail from both fan camps.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Morton's Fork". sorta.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Journey Of The Blessed has the Inspector board a spaceship made to look like the earth cruise liner SS Poseidon, but it instead replicates the entire plot of the movie Titanic (1997).

    Fandom-Related Tropes