Doctor Who on New Zealand Television

By Paul Scoones

1964-1970 | 1970-1981 | 1981-1989 | 1989-1999 | 2000-2002

Note: This is a reworked version of the articles written by Paul Scoones for the 'Selling the Doctor' sections of The Handbook - The Unofficial and Unauthorised Guide to the Production of Doctor Who (Telos Publishing, 2005)

December 1989 - September 1990

The series resumed with a repeat of Revelation of the Daleks followed by The Trial of a Time Lord from 27 December to 22 January 1990. These episodes were screened five days a week, from Monday to Friday on TV2 at around 4.30 PM. No episode was screened on the Monday of New Years Day 1990.

Many of the Colin Baker episodes screened in New Zealand were sourced from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and were quite heavily edited. Cuts had been made by the Australian censor to remove violence and further edits were made in New Zealand, sometimes just to reduce the running time to fit the timeslot. The most edited episodes included Vengeance on Varos Part Three, which lost around five minutes, The Two Doctors Part Six (three minutes), Timelash Part Three (nearly three and a half minutes) and The Trial of a Time Lord Part Nine (two and a half minutes). Worst affected of all however was The Trial of a Time Lord Part Fourteen, which lost over eight minutes of footage simply to fit the unusually long episode into the available timeslot.

The McCoy era began in New Zealand when Time and the Rani Part One screened 23 January 1990 on TV2. At this point, episodes were being transmitted Monday to Fridays at around 4.30 PM. This was the timeslot for the Season 24 episodes however from Remembrance of the Daleks Part One onwards Doctor Who was moved to Sunday mornings, beginning 18 February 1990, with episodes initially starting at 10.20 AM and then, after the first two weeks, at 9.35 AM. Remembrance of the Daleks Parts Two and Three were screened a fortnight apart to accommodate coverage of the Commonwealth Games.

Season 25 stories were screened in their production order, so Remembrance of the Daleks was followed by The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, Silver Nemesis (this time complete and in its original three-part form), and The Happiness Patrol in that order. Season 26 was however screened in its correct story order. An alternative version of The Curse of Fenric Part One was screened that lacked on-screen subtitles for the Russian soldiers' dialogue in the opening scenes, but otherwise the episodes were unedited.

The six-and-a-half-year run of Doctor Who episodes on New Zealand television, which had begun with The Mind Robber in April 1985, finally reached its conclusion with Survival Part Three on 16 September 1990. This was coincidentally the same weekend that New Zealand's first national Doctor Who convention with guests from the series took place in Christchurch. WhoCon 1990 was run by the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club and featured appearances by Jon Pertwee and Mark Strickson.

February - June 1991

The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Seeds of Death, The Mind Robber and The Krotons were repeated in this order on TV2, broadcast from 17 February to 30 June 1991 on Sundays, initially at 9.15 AM and then at 9.35 AM for The Krotons. The stories were screened in an unedited, single-episode-per-week format, with the exception of the last two episodes of The Krotons, which were broadcast back-to-back on 30 June 1991 as a late change to the schedules. Episode Four had been scheduled to screen on 7 July 1991.

July 1991 - January 1992

Stories from the Pertwee era were next broadcast in 1991, following on from repeat screenings of selected Hartnell and Troughton stories on TV2. Spearhead from Space Episode 1 screened 28 July 1991 (rescheduled at short notice from 14 July), and the whole of Season Seven played on Sundays at around 11.30 AM, ending with Inferno Episode 7 on 12 January 1992. Doctor Who and the Silurians and The Ambassadors of Death were again screened in black and white.

February - April 1992

After a one month break, the series resumed in the same timeslot for a further ten weeks, with Terror of the Autons and The Mind of Evil, from 16 February to 19 April 1992. All ten episodes were screened in black and white.

January - May 1993

Another much longer break preceded the screening of The Claws of Axos, Colony in Space and The Daemons from 24 January to 2 May 1993, again on Sundays at 11.30 AM on TV2. The Daemons was screened in black and white. The Daemons was followed by a screening of the Hartnell story The Time Meddler from 9 May to 30 May 1993 in the same timeslot. The version of The Time Meddler screened was the almost complete version restored and screened by the BBC in early 1992. This may have prompted the sale of this story to New Zealand.

November - December 1993

The thirtieth anniversary of Doctor Who was marked by TV2 with a screening of Day of the Daleks from 28 November to 19 December 1993 followed by the 1992 documentary Resistance is Useless on 26 December 1993. The timeslot was 11.35 AM on Sundays, and each week's installment was introduced by BBC Enterprises' thirtieth anniversary montage of the faces of the seven Doctors that appeared on BBC Doctor Who videotapes released during 1993.

October 1996

The 1996 television movie, Doctor Who made its New Zealand debut on Wednesday 30 October 1996 at 8.30 PM on Television Two. TVNZ was offered both the uncut US version and the edited UK version of the movie, and opted to screen the former. It was watched by 13.2% of the potential viewing audience, which placed it higher than the programmes screening opposite on either of the other two channels and eighth in the top ten television movies and mini series screened on New Zealand television throughout 1996.

July 1999

Doctor Who the TV Movie was repeated on 3 July 1999, screening on a Saturday night on TV2 at 9 PM. The audience rating was 10.5%, which was consistent with ratings for other movies screened in the same timeslot.

1964-1970 | 1970-1981 | 1981-1989 | 1989-1999 | 2000-2002