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)

June 1970 - January 1971

The film prints for both The Moonbase and The Macra Terror were stored in Auckland until the two serials screened several months later; in Auckland (on Northern TV, which was the renamed AKTV-2) from 26 June to 14 August 1970 and in Dunedin from 10 July to 28 August 1970, on Fridays at around 6 PM.

The next four Troughton stories were purchased from August to October 1969. The Faceless Ones was rejected by the censor as unsuitable for broadcast and as a result the story was returned to the BBC in July 1970. The remaining three stories, The Evil of the Daleks, The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Abominable Snowmen, were screened, first in Wellington from 19 June to 9 October 1970, then in Christchurch from 3 July to 23 October 1970, Auckland from 21 August to 11 December 1970 and finally Dunedin from 4 September 1970 to 1 January 1971. In these last two regions the new episodes followed on directly from the delayed screenings of The Moonbase and The Macra Terror. The episodes screened on Fridays at around 6 PM on all channels.

According to NZBC records, the screening rights expired for the three stories in May, July and August 1973 respectively. The seven episodes of The Evil of the Daleks are all noted to have been destroyed, but the fate of The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Abominable Snowmen is unrecorded.

May - September 1971

The remaining five stories from Season Five were all purchased between October and December 1970, however two of the five were not screened as The Ice Warriors and Fury from the Deep were rejected by the censor and the programme purchasing viewing committee respectively. The Enemy of the World, The Web of Fear and The Wheel in Space were approved by the censor for viewing, although some cuts were made to all three stories. Film trims of some of the censored sections from the latter two stories were discovered by Graham Howard in New Zealand in 2002. These three stories screened first in Wellington (initially WNTV-1 but renamed Central TV from 5 July 1971), from 3 May to 30 August 1971, then in Auckland from 10 May to 6 September, Christchurch from 17 May to 13 September and finally Dunedin from 24 May to 20 September 1971. All of the episodes screened on Mondays mostly around 5.45 PM. The rights to these stories expired by May 1974 and the fate of the film prints is unrecorded.

Following the screening of The Wheel in Space no episodes of the series were broadcast in New Zealand for three and a half years and when the series did return in March 1975 it was with Jon Pertwee's first story as no stories from Season Six had been purchased by the NZBC.

March - May 1975

The Pertwee era commenced in New Zealand with Spearhead from Space and Doctor Who and the Silurians, which were shown on Television One from 14 March to 23 May 1975 on Friday at around 6 PM for the first three weeks, and then moved back to around 5 PM for the remaining eight weeks. Although colour television had been introduced to New Zealand in October 1973, these episodes were broadcast from black and white 16mm film prints, which had been acquired 24 January 1975. From Season Seven, both The Ambassadors of Death and Inferno were omitted. All of Season Eight, including Terror of the Autons, The Mind of Evil, The Claws of Axos, Colony in Space and The Daemons, were also unscreened.

September - December 1975

Soon after the arrival of New Zealand's second national television channel, Television Two (TV2), the series returned on this new channel. Because TV2 was still in the process of setting up its transmitters around the country, some regions missed out on seeing some of the episodes. From this point Doctor Who was transmitted in colour. The first story screened was Day of the Daleks followed by Carnival of Monsters, The Three Doctors and The Time Warrior in this order from 1 September to 16 December 1975. Day of the Daleks screened on Mondays at around 6 PM, and the rest of the stories screened on Tuesdays at around the same time.

Day of the Daleks was the sole transmitted representative of Season Nine and the missed stories therefore included The Curse of Peladon, The Sea Devils, The Mutants and The Time Monster. From Season Ten, Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks and The Green Death were all omitted, and Invasion of the Dinosaurs was missing from Season Eleven.

TVNZ programme traffic documents and a BBC Enterprises document from February 1978 listing overseas sales of all Doctor Who stories, both indicate that every purchased story was screened, so it would appear that well over half of the episodes from the Pertwee era were not purchased for the initial screenings on New Zealand television. It may be possible to attribute these numerous omissions to the BBC's junking of many Third Doctor episodes during the mid 1970s. Although as late as 1977 many of the omitted episodes were still screened in other countries, these appear to have been 16mm black and white film prints and colour NTSC video copies which were both unsuitable formats for PAL colour television in New Zealand.

August 1976

Death to the Daleks was screened as a stand-alone story eight months later, on Fridays at 8 PM on TV2 from 6 to 27 August 1976.

March - June 1977

After another long break, the final two stories of the Pertwee era, The Monster of Peladon and Planet of the Spiders, were screened on Sundays on South Pacific Television (SPTV) - formerly TV2 - at 6.35 PM for the first story and 6.15 PM for the second, from 20 March to 5 June 1977.

February - April 1978

The first three Tom Baker stories were initially aired on Saturday evenings at 6.30 PM on SPTV, from 4 February to 8 April 1978. The stories were screened in production order, so The Sontaran Experiment preceded The Ark in Space.

August - November 1978

After a gap of four months the series resumed with Revenge of the Cybermen through to Pyramids of Mars from 12 August to 25 November 1978. Genesis of the Daleks was not screened, and the stories were again aired in production order, so Pyramids of Mars preceded Planet of Evil. The series again screened on Saturdays on SPTV, but at the earlier time of 4.30 PM.

December 1978 - March 1979

After a month long break, the series returned on Fridays at 6.30 PM on SPTV, with The Android Invasion, screened from 29 December 1978 to 19 January 1979. The Green Death, which was one of many stories that had been omitted in the initial run of Jon Pertwee stories, again on Fridays at 6.30 PM on SPTV from 26 January to 2 March 1979. Jon Pertwee visited New Zealand in 1979 on a cabaret tour and his crime quiz show Whodunnit was popular with New Zealand viewers; these factors may have prompted the scheduling of The Green Death at this time.

April 1979

The movie Dr Who and the Daleks (1965) made its New Zealand television debut on Wednesday 25 April 1979, screened at 4 PM on SPTV. The film was part of the special Anzac Day public holiday programme line-up.

May 1979 - February 1981

The series resumed several months later with The Brain of Morbius screened from 12 May 1979. SPTV screened every story, in order, up to The Invisible Enemy except for Horror of Fang Rock, which was omitted. The episodes were once again on Saturdays, but at the earlier time of around 4 PM, though advertised start times varied from week to week, from 3 PM to 4.10 PM.

On 18 February 1980, following a major revamp of the schedules, and a channel name change from SPTV to Television Two, the series moved to Monday evenings at the regular time of 6 PM. Image of the Fendahl was the first story screened in this new timeslot, followed by Underworld. Both The Sun Makers and The Invasion of Time were omitted. All six Season Sixteen stories were screened in their correct order, however the first three stories of Season Seventeen were then screened in production order so viewers saw The Creature from the Pit, followed by City of Death and then Destiny of the Daleks. Nightmare of Eden and The Horns of Nimon screened in January and February 1981, after which the series went off air for four weeks.

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