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TV ONTARIO (TVO) (1976-1991?)

Channel Profile

The ONTARIO EDUCATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY (OECA) was established in 1970 as a Crown Corporation to serve all levels of education in Ontario, Canada. The OECA's headquarters was in Toronto.

In September 1970, the first UHF station in Canada went on the air: known as CICA-TV or TVOntario, this station was operated by the OECA. Additional transmitters were subsequently established throughout the Province in the years that followed. And with the addition of affiliate stations in other cities, the OECA / TVOntario service was available to over 75% of the population of the eastern Province.

The sales and distribution of BBC programming in Canada was through BBC Enterprises's offices in Toronto. From 1987, another distributor was Cinar Films, who operated out of Toronto and Montreal, and who specialised in comedy and drama.

Starting in 1976, TVO enjoyed a virtually unbroken 13-year run of Doctor Who

Stories bought and broadcast


Eleven stories, 54 episodes; although screened out of order:

RRR The Three Doctors 4
KKK Day of the Daleks 4
MMM The Curse of Peladon 4
GGG The Claws of Axos 4
NNN The Mutants 6
UUU The Time Warrior 4
OOO The Time Monster 6
TTT The Green Death 6
XXX Death to the Daleks 4
YYY The Monster of Peladon 6
ZZZ Planet of the Spiders 6

TVO therefore bought parts of GROUPs B, C, D and all of E of the Jon Pertwee stories, in three separate packages: according to BBC sales records, the first six were purchased by March 1976, the next two by February 1977, and the remaining three by September 1977.

Most of the serials were bought with four transmissions each (although only two of them screened that many times -- see Repeat Summary below).

The programme was supplied as 2-inch NTSC colour video tapes with English soundtracks.

Given the seemingly random selection of episodes across three different seasons, it would appear that TVO was offered a much bigger selection, but needed only 26 episodes for the first batch. TVO's "Fall/Winter" TV season ran from mid-September to mid-March, which allowed for 26 weekly episodes, and with selected repeats during the March to September "Summer" season, that gave them a full year's worth, 52 weeks. (However, they ultimately did not utilise the full 'repeat' schedule; see Transmission below.)

The combinations to make up 26 were five 4-parters and one 6-parter (six stories), or two 4-parters and three 6-parters (five stories). It was the former that was chosen, presumably because it gave them more stories.

Also, given that they had to produce Jim Dator's introductions for each episode (see below), TVO may have based their initial selection around which serials offered the best educational topics for discussion.

(The same six serials were later sold to CKVU in Vancouver.)

The following year, TVO acquired a second package of Jon Pertwee stories, with the sale apparently being done via WGBH in Boston rather than the BBC (which may be why Inferno and The Green Death were on offer, two stories which had not been cleared for the Commonwealth following censorship issues in Australia several years earlier).

The second package was also made up of a random selection across all five of Pertwee's seasons, being eight stories / 47 episodes. This selection may have been down to a number of factors, such as WGBH and/or Time-Life being able (or willing?) to make dubs of only that many episodes, or maybe the seven-year screening rights on the Season 7 and 8 stories that were to expire in 1977 or 1978 had been renewed on only some of them.

TVO elected to take 28 of the episodes rather than the full package of 47, likely because they wanted to duplicate the same 'one screening plus one repeat' pattern they'd adopted for the 1976/77 "Fall/Winter" season. Plus, the time and cost to produce further introductions by Jim Dator would also be a contributing factor.

Of the stories on offer, TVO appears to have favoured those with Sarah Jane Smith over those with Jo Grant as companion, possibly because they were planning to screen the Tom Baker stories next. With this in mind, they took just the last five serials / 28 episodes that were on offer.

(CKVU in Vancouver, however, took up the full 47 episode / eight serial package.)

There were 13 Pertwee serials that TVO did not acquire: Spearhead from Space was only available on film so was never offered to them. Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks and Invasion of the Dinosaurs had colour tapes missing, so could not be fully converted into NTSC. Colony in Space and The Sea Devils were turned down (although were later picked up by CKVU). Inferno, The Mind of Evil and The Daemons were probably not available because of ongoing issues stemming from the Australian censorship decisions affecting other Commonwealth countries. The other four -- Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Ambassadors of Death, Terror of the Autons, and Carnival of Monsters -- were probably never under consideration for a third batch of episodes because TVO instead elected to purchase the first package of Tom Baker stories.

Some of these stories also aired on these stations around the same time:

They also later aired on:

Origins of the Tapes?

The four Season 8 and 9 serials would have been copied from the US distributor Time-Life Films' master tapes (via BBC Toronto or directly).

The 2-inch Scotch quad tapes for The Curse of Peladon were from a set of dupes that had certainly been supplied by Time-Life: a label on the spool read HBO STUDIOS TIME/LIFE TELEVISION. That specific labelling tells us an approximate date for when the dupe was made: when Time-Life started distributing the Pertwees in 1972, it was as "TIME-LIFE FILMS"; Time-Life acquired "Home Box Office (HBO)" in 1973, and was using the alternative "TIME-LIFE TELEVISION" identity by May 1975, so these tapes can be dated to no earlier than 1975.

The tapes (or dub copies) for the two Season 10 and 11 serials would have been supplied from WGBH in Boston, acquired by them as an extended package deal with the BBC that same year.

For the second batch of episodes, The Time Monster would have been supplied by Time-Life or WGBX, while the other four Season 10 and 11 serials were all likely supplied from Boston.

Dr Jim Dator

Dr Jim Dator

As part of its charter, TVO filmed educational commentaries from Dr Jim Dator, whose five minute segments ran before each episode, and in which he discussed scientific and philosophical aspects presented within the forth-coming episode.

For instance, for Day of the Daleks part four, Dator discussed the nature of time paradoxes. And for The Curse of Peladon, there was discussion about whether or not extra-terrestrial life could exist through evolutionary development. For part four of that serial, he spoke about the importance of holding onto and preserving tradition.

Dr. Jim Dator introductions
Day of the Daleks 4

The Curse of Peladon 1?

The Curse of Peladon 4

The Monster of Peladon 6YouTube
Planet of the Spiders 3Daily Motion
Planet of the Spiders 6Daily Motion

DOCTOR WHO Resource Handbook

As a supplement to the Jim Dator introductions, the OECA published a DOCTOR WHO RESOURCE HANDBOOK in 1976. The eight-page document featured a brief background to the series, a short episode guide to the six stories in the 1976/77 run (which referred to Day of the Daleks as "Dr Who and the Daleks"), and listed the themes and subjects that Dator would be discussing ahead of each episode. The document also provided a list of recommended SF-themed books and periodicals.

Of particular note is that the serials were listed in the same odd order they were broadcast.


Preview of new series; Ottawa Journal, 18 September 1976
The Three Doctors, part one; 18 September 1976
The Time Monster, part one; 17 September 1977
The Green Death, part one; 29 October 1977

After an eleven year gap, Doctor Who returned to Canada, skipping the entire Patrick Troughton era, and starting with Jon Pertwee.

From 18 September 1976, CKVU in Vancouver commenced screenings of Doctor Who. The same day, but in a later timeslot, Doctor Who also aired in Ontario; TVO was therefore the second Canadian station to screen the Pertwee stories.

The Three Doctors – guest-starring the 'skipped' Patrick Troughton! – commenced the TVO run, from Saturday, 18 September 1976, at 7.30pm. The series screened for 26 episodes and aired without break until 12 March 1977, with The Time Warrior part four.

For reasons unknown, the order in which the six serials aired did not reflect the correct BBC order.

Starting from Thursday, 7 April 1977, at the considerably later time of 10.30pm, a 12-week run of repeats commenced, consisting of the second airing of The Three Doctors, Day of the Daleks, and The Time Warrior only. The repeats finished on 23 June 1977.

TVO's "Fall/Winter" TV season ran for six months, from mid-September to mid-March, with repeats scheduled for the other six months, mid-March to mid-September. TVO had likely purchased the first block of 26 episodes in order to play them all twice, giving them a full 52 week schedule. Why the other three serials were therefore not repeated is unclear.

Three months later, the second run of 28 new episodes commenced on Saturday, 17 September 1977, again at 7.30pm. The first story was The Time Monster.

Three days later, from Tuesday, 20 September 1977, a further repeat run commenced, at the earlier time of 7pm: this was the third screening of The Three Doctors and Day of the Daleks.

Meanwhile, the Saturday screenings continued with the second new story, The Green Death; this was the first time the serial had screened in the Commonwealth since its original UK broadcasts in 1974. (It had not aired in Australia in 1973 due to censor ratings, and was thus unable to be screened elsewhere by the few Commonwealth countries still buying the series at that time. It wasn't until 1978 that The Green Death aired in Australia.)

The next three Saturday serials were from Pertwee's final year: Death to the Daleks, The Monster of Peladon and Planet of the Spiders, part 6 of which aired on 25 March 1978, bringing the second 'block' to an end.

The Tuesday repeats had played each week, with the final episode airing on 14 March 1978. Unfortunately, the available TV listings did not provide story titles, but we believe the other stories repeated were The Claws of Axos (for its second and final time); The Curse of Peladon (for its second; this may have been scheduled deliberately to screen when it did so that part four aired three days before part one of its sequel, The Monster of Peladon!); The Mutants (its second time); then The Time Warrior (for its third and final time).

There were no repeats from March to September 1978.

Some of the Jon Pertwee episodes were shown again a year later, during the first run of Tom Baker stories, starting from Thursday, 5 April 1979 through until 21 June 1979, all at 7.00pm: repeated were The Three Doctors, Day of the Daleks (making this their fourth and final screening), and The Curse of Peladon (its third and final outing). Then after a six week break, The Mutants was replayed (also for its third and final airing) from 9 August to 13 September 1979, again at 7.00pm. Unlike the previous run, and as would become the norm in later years, there was no corresponding Saturday broadcast of these episodes.

A final repeat of Pertwee stories commenced 11 months later, on Saturday, 15 March 1980 (the Tom Baker story The Hand of Fear had concluded the week before) through until 14 August 1980. Each episode aired on Saturday at 7.30pm, and was repeated on the following Thursday at 7.00pm. The serials were The Time Monster, The Green Death, Death to the Daleks, and The Monster of Peladon (all being played for a third and final time).

Although the Pertwees stories had been purchased for four transmissions each, only Day of the Daleks and The Three Doctors screened that many times. The Claws of Axos aired twice only, and Planet of the Spiders only ever aired once, and was never repeated. The others all aired three times. (See Repeats Summary at the bottom of this page.)

Fate of the Tapes

TVO repeated The Time Monster in April 1980. A few months later, Australian fan Tony Howe informed the ABC, who made enquiries about securing the tapes for a planned repeat. However, when it was unable to acquire other stories in the NTSC format, the ABC ultimately decided not to pursue the acquisition of The Time Monster. A few years later, BBC Toronto returned their NTSC tapes of The Time Monster 1-6 to the BBC, but there is no clear record of when this was.

The original 2-inch master tape of The Curse of Peladon part 3 (per Nothing at the End of the Lane #2)

In late 1980, UK fan Ian Levine had contacted the BBC's sales office in Toronto, and discovered that they held 2-inch NTSC tapes of The Claws of Axos, The Curse of Peladon and The Mutants.

The BBC's archive selector Sue Malden arranged with BBC Toronto to have copies made. She also asked if they had Death to the Daleks part 1, because by then the BBC's own PAL tape was missing. BBC Toronto didn't have it, but they responded that TVOntario did, as they had screened it in June 1980.

BBC Toronto arranged to have copies made, and the nine tapes were sent to the UK. (The tape of part 3 of The Curse of Peladon that arrived appears to have been the original as the spool still had the original "Time-Life" sticker affixed to it; since the tape was in a bad state and couldn't be played without sticking, BBC Toronto may have had difficulty making a copy so sent the original tape instead.)

By April 1981, the BBC had received NTSC tapes of:

(#Part three was in a very bad state, and required a lot of clean-up work by the BBC to make it playable.)

Stories bought and broadcast


38 stories, 160 episodes purchased:

Action! Introducing Doctor Who; 16 September 1978
TVO Doctor Who transmission caption
4A Robot 4
4C The Ark in Space 4
4B The Sontaran Experiment 2
4E Genesis of the Daleks 6
4D Revenge of the Cybermen 4
4F Terror of the Zygons 4
4G Pyramids of Mars 4
4H Planet of Evil 4
4J The Android Invasion 4
4K The Brain of Morbius 4
4L The Seeds of Doom 6
4M The Masque of Mandragora 4
4N The Hand of Fear 4
4P The Deadly Assassin 4
4Q The Face of Evil 4
4R The Robots of Death 4
4S The Talons of Weng-Chiang(*) 6
4V Horror of Fang Rock 4
4T The Invisible Enemy 4
4Z The Invasion of Time 6
5A The Ribos Operation 4
5B The Pirate Planet 4
5C The Stones of Blood 4
5D The Androids of Tara 4
5E The Power of Kroll 4
5F The Armageddon Factor 6
5G The Creature from the Pit 4
5J Destiny of the Daleks 4
5H City of Death 4
5K Nightmare of Eden 4
5L The Horns of Nimon 4
5N The Leisure Hive 4
5Q Meglos 4
5R Full Circle 4
5P State of Decay 4
5S Warriors' Gate 4
5T The Keeper of Traken 4
5V Logopolis 4

TVO therefore bought all bar three of the Tom Baker stories.

The programme was supplied as NTSC colour video tapes with English soundtracks.

The serials were purchased in "packages" of 24, 26 or 28 episodes, hence some seasons were "split".

No to Talons of Weng-Chiang, Toronto Star, 6 November 1980

(*) The Talons of Weng-Chiang had been purchased but was pulled from its scheduled December 1980 screening following claims that it was "dangerous, offensive, racist stereotyping of people of Chinese origin". That the serial had been dropped was reported in the 6 November 1980 issue of the Toronto Star.

Three stories from season 15 were not purchased: Image of the Fendahl, The Sun Makers and Underworld. Why this was is unknown. One possible explanation is that as had been the case with the two runs of Pertwees (see above), the schedule only had 26 or 28 available weeks (this was after Talons had already been dropped), meaning that 12 episodes had to be missed.

These episodes later aired on:


The Tom Baker era commenced on Saturday, 16 September 1978, at 7.30pm. All episodes were repeated the following Thursday, at 7.00pm.

Dr Judith Merril

The episodes were presented by Dr Judith Merril, who – as "The UnDoctor" – talked about the philosophical concepts explored within the series.

Judith Merril, "The UnDoctor"
The UnDoctor introductions
Robot 4YouTube
Terror of the ZygonsDaily Motion
The Android Invasion

The Masque of Mandragora 4YouTube
The Face of Evil 1YouTube

Seven serials aired in this first 28 episode block; the run concluded with the repeat of part four of Pyramids of Mars on 29 March 1979.

(The following week, and through until 13 September, several Jon Pertwee stories were repeated -- see above.)

On 15 September 1979, the series returned with Planet of Evil. Again, episodes aired on Saturdays at 7.30pm, with a repeat on Thursday at 7.00pm. The 26 week run ended on Thursday, 13 March 1980, with the repeat of part four of The Hand of Fear.

(From 15 March 1980 through to 11 September 1980 (on Saturdays and Thursdays) were repeats of the Jon Pertwee episodes from the 1977/78 run, with the exception of Planet of the Spiders -- see above. This repeat 'block' concluded with a re-run of Robot.)

Doctor Who returns; Thunder Bay TV Guide, 13 September 1980

A run of new episodes commenced that weekend, with part one of The Deadly Assassin on Saturday, 13 September 1980. The usual Saturday / Thursday repeat cycle continued until 29 January 1981, when the series took a break for two weeks. The run resumed on 14 February 1981 with part one of The Invasion of Time. As noted earlier, The Talons of Weng-Chiang and three serials from season 15 were skipped over. This run also saw the end of Judith Merril's commentaries.

This run ended on 26 March 1981, and was followed by more repeats, which included Robot (for a second repeat), and ended with Terror of the Zygons.

The Doctor and Romana's search for the Key to Time commenced on Saturday, 12 September 1981, and concluded on 11 March 1982. As before, episodes aired Saturdays and repeated on Thursdays.

More repeats followed, from March to September 1982: with (Planet of Evil to The Hand of Fear (but skipping Pyramids of Mars).

At some point during this repeat run, TVO showed the Peter Cushing movie Dr Who and the Daleks, split into three half-hour instalments, as part of its classic movie programme Magic Shadows that was regularly shown weeknights at 7.30pm. This meant that viewers got two instalments of Doctor Who one Thursday night!

The new fall TV season began in September 1982; Doctor Who returned in its usual Saturday / Thursday timeslots on 11 September 1982; these season 17 stories aired out of sequence, with The Creature from the Pit, Destiny of the Daleks and City of Death playing in that order. This run concluded with The Leisure Hive part four, repeated on Thursday, 24 February 1983.

  • An on-screen trailer for The Leisure Hive Part Three repeat 17 February 1983 can be seen here:
    • CLIP: TVO PROMO 1983:

The Key to Time episodes and Destiny of the Daleks were repeated in the usual March to September repeat season.

Meglos opened the new fall season, from 24 September 1983. Tom Baker's reign as the Doctor came to an end on 8 March 1983 when Logopolis part four was re-run.

However, this was not the final end to Baker, as the viewers saw some of his earlier episodes from March through to September 1984, when City of Death to Full Circle were repeated. And from March to September 1985, another re-run of Meglos and Full Circle, followed by the remaining four serials from Baker's final season.

The Baker episodes also aired on:

Omnibus Editions?

In DWM issue #114 (July 1986), Gavin Campbell from Canada wrote that his TV station (or the Canadian distributor) had been retitling the stories: a compilation of The Sontaran Experiment became "The Hunter", The Hand of Fear became "Eldrad Must Live", and even more confusingly, The Sun Makers became "The Underworld".

We can be certain that Campbell was not watching TVO, since all stories aired episodically and not as omnibus editions. The Hand of Fear last aired in Canada in 1982, and The Sun Makers was never screened by TVO. If there is any truth in Campbell's claim, then it's far more likely that these retitled compilations were coming from one of the many US PBS stations that could be received by Canadians living close to the US border. (It's possible that Campbell saw these other "titles" in printed TV listings rather than something that was shown on-screen; were these simply snappy plot descriptions or synopses which he misread as being titles?)

French Broadcasts

In 1987, TVO launched La Chaîne Française, which broadcast French-language programming. From 30 September 1990, the station screened a run of Doctor Who stories using the tapes that had originally been dubbed into French by TF1, which had an abbreviated run of "Le Docteur Who" in 1989 – see France.

  • A clip from the French dubbed version La Genèse du Daleks can be seen here:



Stories bought and broadcast


19 stories, equivalent of 70 half-hour episodes:

5Z Castrovalva 4
5W Four to Doomsday 4
5Y Kinda 4
5X The Visitation 4
6A Black Orchid 2
6B Earthshock 4
6C Time-Flight 4
6D Snakedance 4
6E Arc of Infinity 4
6F Mawdryn Undead 4
6G Terminus 4
6H Enlightenment 4
6J The King's Demons 2
6L Warriors of the Deep 4
6M The Awakening 2
6N Frontios 4
6P Resurrection of the Daleks (2/4)
6Q Planet of Fire 4
6R The Caves of Androzani 4

TVO therefore bought all of the Peter Davison stories, except for The Five Doctors.

The programme was supplied as NTSC colour video tapes with English soundtracks.


Peter Davison's first serial, Castrovalva commenced from Saturday, 22 September 1984. After Time-Flight part four's repeat on 21 March 1985, Tom Baker returned in a run of repeats, with another re-run of Meglos and Full Circle, followed by the remaining four serials from Baker's final season.

The Saturday episodes now screened at 7.00pm rather than 7.30pm.

The 20th season of Doctor Who commenced on 7 September 1985, with Snakedance and Arc of Infinity airing out of sequence. The run concluded with Warriors of the Deep in March 1986. (The Five Doctors did not air on TVO.)

  • An on-screen trailer for Warriors of the Deep from February 1986 – narrated by John Delazzer - can be seen here:
    • CLIP: TVO PROMO 1986:

Re-runs of Four to Doomsday through to Mawdryn Undead filled the usual March to September repeat cycle.

The series returned on 1 November 1986, two months later than its usual September start, in which the final run of Davison episodes, The Awakening to The Caves of Androzani, screened. Resurrection of the Daleks aired as a four-parter. The first two Colin Baker stories aired after The Caves of Androzani.

  • A TVO Pledge during The Awakening from November 1986 (clip incorrectly dated as 1985) – narrated by John Delazzer - can be seen here:

Repeats of Davison stories, Snakedance, then Terminus to The Awakening (but not The Five Doctors) aired March to September 1987; and Frontios to The Caves of Androzani in 1988.

These episodes also aired on:



Stories bought and broadcast


Eight stories, equivalent of 44 half-hour episodes:

6S The Twin Dilemma 4
6T Attack of the Cybermen 2/4
6V Vengeance on Varos 2/4
6W The Two Doctors 3/6
6X The Mark of the Rani 2/4
6Y Timelash 2/4
6Z Revelation of the Daleks 2/4
7A The Trial of a Time Lord 14

TVO therefore bought all of the Colin Baker stories. The longer 45-minute episodes had been re-edited as half hours by the BBC.

The programme was supplied as NTSC colour video tapes with English soundtracks.

It was during this run of Baker episodes that the Canadian distributor for BBC programmes changed from Lionheart to Cinar Films.


Immediately after The Caves of Androzani part four, the first two Colin Baker serials aired: The Twin Dilemma from Saturday, 7 March 1987, and Attack of the Cybermen from 4 April 1987, with the usual Thursday repeats.

After a repeat run of season 20 and 21 Davisons, the rest of Colin Baker's first season screened: the run commenced 19 September 1987 and ended with the 18 February 1988 repeat of Revelation of the Daleks.

Four Davison serials from season 21, and the first three Colin Baker serials, were repeated from February to September 1988.

The 14-part epic, The Trial of a Time Lord, aired from Saturday, 1 October 1988 to Thursday, 5 January 1988.

  • This TVO PLEDGE drive from December 1988, contains a brief clip from The Trial of a Time Lord at 0:40:

There were repeats of The Two Doctors to Revelation of the Daleks from April to July 1989.

In mid-1991, in order to use up their repeat rights, TVO replayed The Trial of a Time Lord on Thursday nights at 10.00pm. We've not been able to confirm the exact start date, but part 13 aired on 29 August 1991. The series was packaged together with old Flash Gordon serials from the 1930s.

These episodes also aired on:



Stories bought and broadcast


Four stories, 14 episodes:

7D Time and the Rani 4
7E Paradise Towers 4
7F Delta and the Bannermen 3
7G Dragonfire 3

TVO therefore bought the first season of the Sylvester McCoy stories.

The programme was supplied as NTSC colour video tapes with English soundtracks.


The weekend after the Thursday repeat of Colin Baker's final episode, Sylvester McCoy appeared as the Doctor. This run of 14 episodes started 7 January 1989 and ended with the Dragonfire part three repeat on 13 April 1989.

Following a run of Colin Baker re-runs, Time and the Rani and Dragonfire were also repeated on Saturdays and Thursdays. This re-run cycle concluded on Thursday, 7 September 1989.

TVO lost its rights to Doctor Who in July 1989. The re-run of Dragonfire part three on 7 September 1989 was - after an eleven year run of virtually non-stop screenings and repeats – the final regular episode of Doctor Who to air on TVO...

During the summer of 1991, presumably soon after the June 1991 repeat of The Trial of a Time Lord, TVO repeated some of McCoy's stories in order to use up their repeats rights. It is likely this run included Paradise Towers and Delta and the Bannermen, as they had not aired for a third and fourth time alongside the rest of season 24 in 1989.

These episodes also aired on:

Repeats Summary

The majority of stories were screened by TVO four times – 1) first Saturday screening; 2) Tuesday or Thursday repeat; 3) Saturday repeat; 4) Second Thursday repeat

TV listings

Airdates in Canada (TVO)

Listings for TVO have been obtained from the Toronto Daily Star and the Ottawa Citizen; other airdates and broadcast information has been provided by Michael J Doran, Ed Conroy, Alex Frazer-Harrison, Graeme Burk and Doug Orlowski, with our thanks.


  • Story titles in BOLD ITALICISED CAPITALS are first screenings.
  • Story titles in PLAIN CAPITALS are "Thursday Repeats".
  • Story titles in standard Title Case are general repeats.

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