Played by Majel Barrett, who went on to play Nurse Christine Chapel in the original Star Trek and Lwaxana Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation, as well as the computer's voice, the character appears only in the unaired pilot and in the footage used in "The Menagerie".
Number One, in "The Cage", the original pilot episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek, was the un-named intellectual, problem-solving second-in-command serving under Captain Christopher Pike. She performs the same role for Pike as Spock later does for Kirk. Although not shown on-screen, it is implied that Number One briefly takes command of the Enterprise when Captain Pike and his landing party first beam down to Talos IV. She later beams down to the planet several times herself.
During "The Cage", Number One proves to her alien captors that humans would rather die than be slaves.
According to Gene Roddenberry and Stephen Whitfield, the prominence of a woman among the crew of a starship was one of the reasons that the original Star Trek pilot was rejected by NBC, who, in addition to calling the pilot "too cerebral", felt that the alien Spock and a female senior officer would be rejected by audiences, although Roddenberry also related the tale of how women of the era had difficulty accepting her as well. Because of NBC's rare order of a second pilot, Roddenberry compromised by eliminating Number One, but aspects of her character — specifically, her cool demeanor and logical nature — were merged with that of Spock (who does appear in "The Cage") during the regular run of the series.
"Number One" is a traditional term in the (British) Royal Navy for the "First Lieutenant" or first officer on board ship, second-in-command to the captain; this staff position is sometimes known in other navies as the "exec", "Executive Officer", or "XO". In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard frequently uses the title "Number One" to address his first officer, William Riker. Although Captain James T. Kirk never referred on-screen to his executive officer Mr. Spock as "Number One", this is not really an anomaly; the British usage dates from a time when the "First Lieutenant" or number one on board ship was so ranked by seniority of his commission, and later by date of appointment by the captain.
Does anyone know if this unaired pilot episode is available on DVD? I'd love to see it!
Congratulations to Sandalwood Cottage here all the way from Adelaide, Australia for getting the FTF!!!