This Week In Doctor Who - December 31, 2003
- THIS WEEK IN DOCTOR WHO - December 31, 2003
by Benjamin F. Elliott
Vol 6, No 53
2003 has come to a close. Doctor Who's 40th anniversary year. On
January 1 I wrote that this column would continue to be here to
cover the broadcasts around the world. I declared I hoped for a
banner year for the series. It was a bit of bravado. Too many
stations had dropped Doctor Who in 2002. It looked like the series
was fading further away. Even the books were cutting back
production, from 2 novels a month to one. The future for Who
broadcasting looked bleak. One thing we all know - you can never
predict the future. If I were to tell Who fans one year ago what we
know today about the year in Who broadcasting, no one would believe
In January 2003, Uniseries in South America and KAWE/KAWB
Bemidji/Brainerd, MN dropped Doctor Who from their weekly lineups.
BBC 7 presented the Doctor Who radio story The Paradise Of Death for
the first time on their channel. BBC Kids in Canada demoted Doctor
Who out of primetime to late-night airings. KTEH/KCAH San
Jose/Watsonville, CA took Doctor Who off the air for a short gap,
unaware that budget woes would keep the show off the air
February 2003 saw "My Life As A Dalek" premiere on BBC Radio 4. Joey
Reynolds took his sci-fi show (with part time Who content) national
in Sci-Fi Overdrive.
March 2003 saw BBC 7 present Slipback, another Doctor Who radio
story. And WQED/WQEX Pittsburgh started scheduling Doctor Who, but
never airing the episodes.
April 2003 saw the trailers for the new version of Shada on BBCi's
website. Info leaked on the UK Gold Dalek Days planned for May, as
we marveled that these marathons would air so early in the year. We
didn't have long to wonder - news of a Dalek/Terry Nation moratorium
came out. Mass confusion (that has never truly been resolved) began
as people tried to figure out exactly which stories couldn't be
shown due to the contract issues between Terry Nation's estate and
the BBC. Some stations would pull Dalek stories, other stations have
completely ignored the moratorium. UK Gold was getting the Dalek
marathons out of the way before July.
May 2003. The Dalek Days aired. A remake of the classic unfinished
story Shada premiered online, with Paul McGann as the 8th Doctor.
WQED/WQEX was obviously not putting Doctor Who back on. American
Who, a US based online radio show devoted to the series, premiered
with archival and new interviews, including a chat with the editor
of This Week In Doctor Who regarding the Dalek embargo.
June 2003. Homechoice in the UK ended its video on demand
presentation of the first 3 Tom Baker stories. Never aired any other
stories - just those 3.
July 2003. New Hampshire Public TV abandoned the Sylvester McCoy era
early to get Tom Baker episodes back on the air, annoying people who
were close to seeing the end of the series for once. Maryland Public
TV's schedule indicated that McCoy would be skipped in August in
favor of Hartnell stories, though McCoy soon wound up back on their
lineup. UK Gold ran a poll for their 40th anniversary Who
programming - 2 full days of Who coming in November. KTEH/KCAH
announced a deal with BBV Video to present Auton and The Airzone
Solution in August. If a pledge success, the BBV library could be
syndicated throughout the US, bringing something very much like
Doctor Who back to TV, if not the series itself. Word broke that
BBCi would run a fully animated Doctor Who story in November and
December - The Scream Of The Shalka. It would present Richard E.
Grant to viewers as the official BBCi Ninth Doctor.
August 2003. Unused footage from Fury From The Deep surfaced. ABC
Australia announced that they would air the entire Doctor Who series
starting in September, 4 days a week just before primetime, the
first time ABC had the series since 1994. UK Gold started a weekday
run of the Tom Baker stories for UK fans. BBC Kids moved Doctor Who
later into the night. KTEH/KCAH aired the two BBV specials. KERA
Dallas yanked Doctor Who just before the end of the Peter Davison
September 2003. Iowa Public TV made their own stab at airing the BBV
specials. Scream Of The Shalka was getting closer. Encore in
Australia began irregular airings of Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150A.D.
while UKTV Australia announced plans for a best of Doctor Who
marathon (we would later learn the marathon would be serialized
through October and November). BBC Radio 3 reran the
play "Regenerations", about a bunch of fans unable to let go of the
dead series. The weekday ABC Australia run began, with surprisingly
high public praise of 40 year old Hartnell stories. WSKG
Binghampton, NY dropped the series. And then came the news that
shocked us all:
Doctor Who is coming back as a weekly TV series on BBC One in
2005!!! After all these years, it was real. And Doctor Who was
mainstream again. Well, future mainstream. Probably Saturday nights.
Probably 13 episodes at 45 minutes per episode. The biggest story in
Doctor Who since 1996, and the story that will dominate everyone's
attention for the forseeable future. At least till the new series
October 2003. UKTV Australia's best of run begins.
November 2003. Doctor Who's 40th anniversary month. BBC Kids had a
full day Who marathon. UK Gold had 2 full days of a Who marathon.
UKTV Australia finished their best of run. The Scream Of The Shalka
premiered on BBCi. Slipback got a national broadcast in New Zealand,
one episode a week.
December 2003. Pledge nights on Iowa Public TV and KBTC/KCKA to
celebrate the Doctor's 40th. UK Gold drops its weeknight Doctor Who
run at the end of Tom Baker. BBC One airs The Story Of Doctor Who, a
documentary about the series' history. The Scream Of The Shalka
continues online while Shada goes offline. Shalka also gets a
special presentation as part of the BBC's Interactive services on
Now, admit it - how many of you went to skimming and eyes glazing
over after the paragraph about the show's return? Suddenly the day
to day details and twists go away, and it's probably a good thing.
Here comes 2004. I'm fairly certain we won't get any more curveballs
on the scale of a new TV series. But it's going to be an interesting
year, no doubt.
The Story Of Doctor Who had no clips from the 1996 TV Movie. A
caller (ZC TGS in online fandom) to the BBC information desk was
informed that the production team working on the documentary (not to
be confused with the Doctor Who Restoration Team) said that the TV
Movie was not a BBC production, and that it had gotten very low
ratings when shown on the BBC.
For anyone curious about reruns and overseas airings, I have not
found anything planned so far. The overall reaction to Story seemed
to be that it was a very nice reminder of the old series for the
general public to whet their appetite in this time before the new
series. Series clips were clipped to 14:9 aspect ratio and sometimes
unrestored footage was used when restored footage was available. Tom
Baker's comments were noted for being very good. Peter Davison,
Colin Baker, and Sylvester McCoy reportedly got a fair amount of
screen time. Here's hoping a large audience tuned in.
Encore Australia is airing Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150A.D. on Monday
5 January at 5:35AM, Saturday 17 January at 5:20AM, and Thursday 29
January at 6:45AM AEDT.
Corrections and updates are always welcome at thisweekindoctorwho-
firstname.lastname@example.org , bfelliott@... , TWIDW on AOL IM ,
and thebfe on Yahoo Messenger. Here are the listings:
"The Scream Of The Shalka" - all 6 episodes online. Fully animated
in Flash format. 16:9 widescreen. The Ninth Doctor is a haunted
alien. Something happened to him. Now he dreads the thought of
visiting Earth, of fighting evil, of caring about people.
Unfortunately, a Shalka invasion fleet has a base in rural England,
and the Doctor has no choice but to intervene one more time. Richard
E. Grant is The Doctor. What's left of him, anyway. Episodes are
also currently airing on BBC Interactive (see below).
older online drama:
"Real Time" - starring Colin Baker and the Cybermen. 6 episode
illustrated audio tale. The 6th Doctor and Evelyn Smythe research a
temple that has been yanking scientists out of time. The secrets of
the temple threaten the future and past of two species. Viewer
discretion advised for the illustrations of episodes 4 through 6.
American Who http://www.americanwho.net
The first 2 segments of a 1987 radio interview with John-Nathan
Turner, Nicola Bryant, and Brian Sloman, conducted at the end of the
Doctor Who Celebration tour.
Dan Harris discusses the Sci-Fi Sea Cruise.
Coming January 2, 2004 - the conclusion of the 1987 interview. Also,
Charles Martin of rec.arts.drwho.moderated reviews the year 2003 in
Coming later in January, American Who will also air as the 4th hour
of the Sci-Fi Overdrive radio show every 2 weeks.
Sci-Fi Overdrive http://www.scifioverdrive.com
on Business Talk Network http://www.businesstalkradio.net
Late Sun/Early Mon 2-6AM EST (11PM-3AM PST, 7-11AM GMT, 6-10PM AEDT)
Live Stream http://www.warpradio.com/popTuner.asp?id=14085
Hour 1 - Arnold T. Blumberg does the year in review in science
fiction media. Hour 2 - NASA/Mars scientist Jim Gavin (rebroadcast).
Hour 3 - NASA/Stardust manager Thomas Duxbury (rebroadcast). Hour 4 -
Arne Starr on the movies of 2004.
BBC Interactive http://www.bbc.co.uk/digital
Sky Digital Exclusive for technical reasons
Wed 7:30PM-Mid GMT "The Scream Of The Shalka" ep 2 of 6 (repeating
Thu 7:30PM-Mid GMT "The Scream Of The Shalka" ep 3 of 6 (repeating
Fri 7:30PM-Mid GMT "The Scream Of The Shalka" ep 4 of 6 (repeating
Sat 7:30PM-Mid GMT "The Scream Of The Shalka" ep 5 of 6 (repeating
Sun 7:30PM-Mid GMT "The Scream Of The Shalka" ep 6 of 6 (repeating
Press the red button while on a BBC channel and look for the Shalka
option. If episode 1 is an example, each episode will be presented
in 1/4th of the screen pan & scanned to 4:3 aspect ratio. For all
that, it's a chance to see Shalka on the TV.
UK Gold http://www.ukgold.tv http://www.onthebox.com/partner/otb
Sat 7-8:45AM GMT "The Trial Of A Time Lord" movie version, pt 3 of 4
(Terror Of The Vervoids)
The 6th Doctor defends his life by presenting evidence from his own
future. On a luxury space liner, somebody tripled booked
unscrupulous scientists, private investigators, and murderers.
No Sunday story - looks like they're skipping the conclusion of
Trial Of A Time Lord. Sylvester McCoy's era starts next weekend.
UK Gold + 1
Sat 8-9:45AM GMT "The Trial Of A Time Lord" movie version, pt 3 of 4
(Terror Of The Vervoids)
ABC http://www.varos.net/drwho/ http://www.abc.net.au/tv
Thu 6:05PM "The Time Meddler - A Battle Of Wits" ep 3 of 4
Mon 6:05PM "The Time Meddler - Checkmate" ep 4 of 4?
The Meddling Monk's plots endanger the history of England in the
Middle Ages. But where did he get his knowledge of the future from?
Tue 6:05PM "The Ark - The Steel Sky" ep 1 of 4?
Wed 6:05PM "The Ark - The Plague" ep 2 of 4?
The TARDIS arrives on a spaceship fleeing a dying planet - Earth.
Doctor Who: William Hartnell. Steven: Peter Purves.
Note: TV listings for 5, 6, and 7 January were not available at
publication time. ABC is airing the Hopman Cup XVI (tennis
tournament) this week. Extrapolating from the Tennis Channel's
schedule in the US, it appears that coverage each day is scheduled
to end at 5:30PM AEDT. But it could run overtime, and the Tennis
Channel might not have scheduled all of the tournament. Don't be
surprised by pre-emptions and the episodes being shifted back a few
Mon 5:35AM AEDT "Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150A.D." 1966 theatrical
Presented in 4:3 aspect ratio. Dr. Who and Susan try traveling
through time once again. This time they wind up on Earth in the 22nd
Century. The Daleks have conquered the world, but Dr. Who plans to
get it unconquered. Remake of The Dalek Invasion Of Earth.
BBC Kids http://www.bbckids.ca
7 Days A Week 1 + 3:30AM EST (10PM + 12:30AM PST) - 2 episodes
weekdays, full stories weekends)
The weekday airings will be on a special schedule from Monday 20
December through Friday 2 January.
Late Wed 3:30AM EST/12:30AM PST "Genesis Of The Daleks" pts 3,4,5,+6
Davros unleashes the Daleks on the unsuspecting Thals. When he
learns that the Doctor has knowledge of the future, he sees a chance
to make the Daleks all powerful.
Late Thu 3:30AM EST/12:30AM PST "Revenge Of The Cybermen" all 4 pts
Returning to Nerva, the 4th Doctor, Sarah, and Harry learn that the
space station is being softened up by an invasion from the Cybermen.
And this time they're angry.
Late Fri 3:30AM EST/12:30AM PST "Terror Of The Zygons" all 4 pts
The Loch Ness Monster is the prime suspect when oil rigs start
sinking in Scotland.
Sat "The Horns Of Nimon" all 4 pts
Soldeed and the people of Skonnos can't face the prospect of the
death of their empire. So they put their trust in a horned creature
called the Nimon. When the Doctor arrives with talk of a black hole,
wonders about the Nimon's promise start to surface.
Sun "The Leisure Hive" all 4 pts
The 4th Doctor's quest for a vacation leads him to Argolis, home of
the Leisure Hive. Just in time for murder and mayhem to lower the
Hive's rating in good travel books. It's the start of Tom Baker's
final series as the Doctor, and the first hint we get of age.
Mon "The Android Invasion" pts 1+2 of 4
Tue "The Android Invasion" pts 3+4 of 4
Rural England is more deserted than normal. Humans seem to have been
replaced by androids. A dead man is helping out at the space
research center. And all the money is new. The 4th Doctor and Sarah
suspect dirty dealings. Final appearances by Ian Marter as Harry
Sullivan and John Levene as Benton.
NHPTV New Hampshire http://www.nhptv.org
analog 11, 49, 52
digital 11-2 (57-2), 49-2 (48-2), 52-2 (49-2)
Boston DirecTV 11,955
Boston Dish 11,8781
Sat 11:30PM EST "Terror Of The Zygons" pt 3 of 4
See BBC Kids for details.
WCNY/W59AU Syracuse/Utica, NY http://www.wcny.org
analog 24, 59
digital 24-1 (25-1)
Sun 5:30PM EST "Pyramids Of Mars" pt 3 of 4
What will happen to the Earth if Sutekh isn't stopped?
WYBE Philadelphia, PA http://www.wybe.org
digital 35-1 (34-1)
Philadelphia DirecTV 35,909
Philadelphia Dish 35,8162
Sat 11PM EST "The Five Doctors" 4 pt version, eps 1+2
Taken out of time, multiple incarnations of the Doctor struggle to
survive in the Death Zone on Gallifrey.
MPT Maryland http://www.mpt.org
analog 22, 67, 31, 28, 62, 36
digital 22-2 (42-2), 67-2 (29-2), 31-2 (44-2), 28-2 (56-2), 28, 54
DC/Hagerstown, Baltimore DirecTV 22,980
Baltimore Dish 22,8736
Late Sat Mid EST "The Romans" movie (The Slave Traders, All Roads
Lead To Rome, Conspiracy, Inferno)
The TARDIS arrives in Italy in the year A.D.64, giving the Doctor
and company a chance for a long vacation. When the Doctor and Vicki
decide to go to Rome, Ian and Barbara stay behind. Or so they plan.
A man's home is not always his castle.
WCET Cincinnati, OH http://cetconnect.org
digital 48-2 (34-2)
Cincinnati DirecTV 48,909
Cincinnati Dish 48,8356
Sat 11PM EST "Silver Nemesis" pts 1+2 of 3
The 25th anniversary story. A 17th Century sorceress and 20th
Century Neo Nazis converge on England on November 23, 1988, the date
that the comet Nemesis is destined to return to the Earth. Is this
their chance for power, or a cruel trap set by a man who travels
through space and time?
WILL Urbana, IL http://www.will.uiuc.edu
digital 9 - not on air
Champaign Dish 12,7407
Sat 11:44PM CST "Warriors' Gate" pt 3 of 4
Biroc teaches the 4th Doctor and Romana about the past and future of
the time sensitive Tharills.
IPTV Iowa http://www.sffn.com/ http://www.iptv.org
analog 11, 12, 21, 24, 27, 32, 32, 36, 36
digital 11 (50), 45, 25, 18, 28, 33, 35, 35, 34 - not on air
Des Moines DirecTV 11,474
Des Moines Dish 11,9116
Cedar Rapids Dish 12,9161
Omaha Dish 32,9146
Sat 11:35PM CST "Underworld" pts 1+2 of 4
The 4th Doctor and Romana join the quest to find the race bank of a
dead civilization. Considering what the remainders of the Minyan
civilization are like, I hope the race bank was adopted.
KBDI/K32EO Denver/Colorado Springs, CO http://www.kbdi.org
analog 12, 32
digital 12-1 (38-1)
Denver DirecTV 12,910
Denver Dish 12,8211
Late Fri 12:30AM MST "Inferno" eps 3+4 of 7
Sat 11PM MST "Inferno" eps 5+6 of 7
In a parallel universe, the Stallmann drill project is further
along, and the world is closer to destruction. The 3rd Doctor must
convince skeptical variations of the Brigadier, Liz Shaw, and Benton
to help, or all life will die, and he'll never have the chance to
return home to stop the project here.
KUED/KUES-DT Salt Lake City/Richfield, UT http://www.kued.org
digital 7-1 (42-1), 19-1 (19-1)
Salt Lake City DirecTV 7,982
Salt Lake City Dish 7,8536
Sat 11:30PM MST "Black Orchid" pt 2 of 2
The 5th Doctor is believed guilty of murder, and scrambles to prove
KBTC/KCKA/K65BU Tacoma/Centralia/Gray's River, WA http://www.kbtc.org
digital 28-1 (27-1), 15-1 (19-1)
Seattle DirecTV 28,910
Seattle Dish 28,8620
Sat 7PM + 12:30AM PST "The Chase - Flight Through Eternity" ep 3 of 6
Sat 7:30PM + 1AM PST "The Chase - Journey Into Terror" ep 4 of 6
Fleeing Aridius, the 1st Doctor and company try to stay one step
ahead of the Dalek Extermination Squad. Guest starring the Empire
State Building, a naval boat, and Count Dracula.
KTEH/KCAH San Jose/Watsonville, CA http://www.kteh.org
digital 50,58 - not on air
San Francisco DirecTV 54,903
San Francisco Dish 54,8234
Monterey Dish 25,9190
Late Sat January 31 1:30AM PST "Interview With Terry Nation"
Thanks for reading. Until 2004, take care.
Doctor Who is a BBC Trademark. Copyright 2003.