Australia TX 1965-1967
AUSTRALIAN TRANSMISSION HISTORY (Part One) (1965-1967)
These pages offer an Overview of the screenings of Doctor Who in Australia, as detailed on the Airdates Tables (click on Navigation bar to access). The screenings have been divided into "Blocks", each representing "new" first-run episodes, usually but not always corresponding with each new 'season' of Doctor Who. In most cases each block of new episodes was preceded or followed – and sometimes interrupted – by a run of "Repeats". For the sake of simplicity, only the story codes are used.
This Overview and the Airdates tables are based upon published TV listings from the main city or cities within each of the eight regions. Some of the scheduled screenings would have been pre-empted due to last minute replacement, such as by coverage of local sporting events. Obviously, these are not going to be listed. Therefore, please treat this snap-shot overview more as "this is how it was to be" rather than "this was how it was, absolutely".
Australia has three standard time zones: during most of the year, PERTH is an hour and a half 'behind' ADELAIDE and DARWIN, and two hours 'behind' MELBOURNE, HOBART, CANBERRA, SYDNEY and BRISBANE. However PERTH, DARWIN and BRISBANE do not adopt "Daylight Savings" by adjusting the clocks by an hour during summer, and the other states that do recognise the change do not all do so at the same time! (For more on this, see HERE.)
In short, the variable time changes across the country meant that even though broadcasts of Doctor Who were scheduled to air all in the same early evening timeslot, the series actually aired in the west two or three hours after it had aired in the east.
During the 1960s and 1970s, on the infrequent occasion that the same episode of Doctor Who aired in the west on the same day as it did in the east, there is uncertainty as to the mechanism by which this was achieved in every instance. There were several 'dual' screening methods available and employed by the Australian TV networks. These include:
- Duplicate Prints: Copies of the original film positive would be struck, and circulated around the regions. It's possible that one set of prints was bicycled between the western stations and another set was bicycled between the eastern stations (and on the very odd occasion they were bicycled between west and east). Indeed, this practice of bicycling was still very much in use (but with video tapes) well into the 1980s! (See further note below.)
- Video Duplicates: The episodes were copied onto video tape well in advance of broadcast, and it was the tapes that were bicycled around the regions rather than film duplicates.
- Link by Cable: Some of the major eastern cities were connected by a co-axial cable, which allowed for simultaneous broadcast of the same programme. (A co-axial cable link between MELBOURNE and SYDNEY was officially opened on 9 April 1962. CANBERRA was likewise connected to this cable. The cable's 50th anniversary was celebrated in April 2012, per this Media Release.) However since this cable supplied telephone communications as well, use of the cable had to be booked in advance for television transmissions, and therefore this method of providing programming around the country was probably costly and used mainly for sharing of news feeds and locally-made programming rather than for children's programmes from the BBC.
- Record for later Playback: For those regions linked by cable or transmission line, programmes could be recorded onto video tape direct from the co-axial feed, and played back at a later time or day. These tapes were on occasion shared between those states not yet linked by cable or microwave.
- Microwave Link: The ABC's west / east microwave link was officially 'opened' on 9 July 1970, which like the co-axial cables was used mainly for news feeds, rather than the sharing of imported programming.
- Satellites: By the mid-1980s, telecommunications satellites in geo-stationary orbit enabled direct feeds to and from relay stations around the country, although as before, this was usually limited to news feeds.
- Any combination of the above!
Programmes broadcast by the regional Country Stations (see list and sortable table below) were provided by way of relay from each capital city using high-quality transmission lines, which is why episodes could be broadcast on different stations simultaneously within each state. It was only in Queensland that episodes aired by two of the Country Stations were done so months after the lead transmission in Brisbane. (This delayed broadcast was probably done using the "record onto tape" method.) (Full synchronisation between the Queensland regional country stations was established a few years later.)
People living near the border of south Queensland and north New South Wales could also view broadcasts coming from the other region.
With the introduction of colour to the ABC in March 1975, the mass duplication of video tapes was far less costly than circulating film copies. But it wasn't until February 1978 that for the very first time, all stations in all regions screened the same episode of Doctor Who on the same day, and this was achieved through the bulk duplication from the master video tapes.
And although we note when the final regular screening of a particular serial occurred, it should be kept in mind that the same episode may have aired a few months later on a Country Station in QUEENSLAND.
In some cases, particularly when it came to cataloguing long runs of repeats, airdates have been extrapolated by finding the first and last airdate of a run of episodes, then filling in the dates in between. There is no absolute certainty than all episodes have been correctly allocated all the right dates, especially if serials aired out of their correct place in sequence.
There is more detail provided in these summaries for the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton stories simply because many of those episodes are now missing. From 1972 onwards, there were far fewer regional variances, and therefore the same degree of coverage is not necessary.
Block 1: HARTNELL ---- January 1965 to July 1966
The first run of Doctor Who commenced in January 1965. Episodes aired weekly on different days of the week in each region, at 7.30pm - a timeslot dictated by the "A" censorship classification applied to A, B, C, E, G, J, K and L. Once all the "A" rated episodes had played, the timeslot was subsequently brought forward to 6.30pm, starting with The Web Planet.
- PERTH: Doctor Who made its Australian debut in Western Australia, on Tuesday, 12 January 1965. From Monday, 22 March 1965, the PERTH screenings shifted to Mondays. Between Wednesday, 12 January and Thursday, 20 January 1966, while L and M was on, D was repeated. The first run ended on Monday, 18 April 1966.
- SYDNEY and CANBERRA: Three days later, on Friday, 15 January 1965, SYDNEY and CANBERRA welcomed the new series. Mid-way through K, the first-ever holiday repeats occurred in SYDNEY and CANBERRA – both D and F were rerun in both regions at 1.30pm weekday afternoons, from Monday, 20 December 1965 to Monday, 3 January 1966. The opening run concluded on Friday, 22 April 1966.
- BRISBANE: The series started on Friday, 22 January 1965. The run ended on Friday, 29 April 1966. If there was a repeat of D during December 1965/January 1966, as in other regions, we have not been able to find any listings. Chances are Brisbane never saw the serial repeated. (Although there is a very remote possibility that all seven episodes aired back to back one day as a replacement for cricket that had been cancelled due to rain (possibly on 11 December 1965), such a scheduling move would have been highly uncharacteristic of the ABC...)
- MELBOURNE: Victoria had to wait until Saturday, 20 February 1965 to see the new series. From 16 April, mid-way through B, the series moved to Fridays at the later time of 8pm. The run came to a premature end on Friday, 14 May 1965, with only the first three serials airing. After a two month break, the series returned from Monday, 5 July 1965. Mid-way through H, there was a repeat of D, weekdays at 1.30pm, from Thursday, 30 December 1965 to Friday, 7 January 1966. The run again ended prematurely, on Monday, 23 May 1966, because two serials, the "A" rated K and L, did not screen at all in Victoria.
- ADELAIDE: On Monday, 15 March 1965, the series commenced in the fifth region. ADELAIDE played K but then skipped the "A" rated L. The run ended on Monday, 6 June 1966.
- HOBART: On Friday, 11 June 1965, Doctor Who made it to the island of Tasmania. Serials K and L were also both skipped; the first run ended Friday, 29 July 1966.
Nine off-screen photographs - two from part six and five from part seven of D, and one from parts two and four of F - were taken by a viewer during the broadcasts of those two serials. It is not known from which region these hail, but at a guess it was from the 1965/66 SYDNEY repeats, as those two aired together in one block. (ADELAIDE also repeated the same two serials, but in November 1966.)
What is fascinating about the image from part four is that in the broadcast episode this particular shot of Hartnell is a very quick cut-away to him within a long scene that consists of a series of two-shots of the Doctor and Cameca. Given the suddenness of the cut to the one shot, it is highly unlikely that the photographer had anticipated this, and instead was likely aiming to capture a two-shot, but at the moment the shutter button was pressed, the on-screen image changed for a matter of seconds, which resulted in the photographer capturing this 'rare' shot of the Doctor instead.
As noted above, there were many inter- and intra-regional screening variances across the country. It would be impossible to catalogue every single one of these, but to illustrate the number of variances there could be just for one serial, here are the known main centre and country channel transmitters and airdates for An Unearthly Child, parts one to four:
|12 Jan 1965||1||Perth ABW-2||Western Australia|
|15 Jan 1965||1||Canberra ABC-3||ACT|
|15 Jan 1965||1||Lismore ABR N-6||New South Wales|
|15 Jan 1965||1||Newcastle ABH N-5||New South Wales|
|15 Jan 1965||1||Orange ABC N-1||New South Wales|
|15 Jan 1965||1||Sydney ABN-2||New South Wales|
|15 Jan 1965||1||Wollongong ABW N-5A||New South Wales|
|19 Jan 1965||2||Perth ABW-2||Western Australia|
|22 Jan 1965||1||Brisbane ABQ-2||Queensland|
|22 Jan 1965||2||Canberra ABC-3||ACT|
|22 Jan 1965||2||Lismore ABR N-6||New South Wales|
|22 Jan 1965||2||Newcastle ABH N-5||New South Wales|
|22 Jan 1965||2||Orange ABC N-1||New South Wales|
|22 Jan 1965||2||Sydney ABN-2||New South Wales|
|22 Jan 1965||1||Toowoomba ABD Q-3||Queensland|
|22 Jan 1965||2||Wollongong ABW N-5A||New South Wales|
|26 Jan 1965||3||Perth ABW-2||Western Australia|
|29 Jan 1965||2||Brisbane ABQ-2||Queensland|
|29 Jan 1965||3||Canberra ABC-3||ACT|
|29 Jan 1965||3||Lismore ABR N-6||New South Wales|
|29 Jan 1965||3||Newcastle ABH N-5||New South Wales|
|29 Jan 1965||3||Orange ABC N-1||New South Wales|
|29 Jan 1965||3||Sydney ABN-2||New South Wales|
|29 Jan 1965||2||Toowoomba ABD Q-3||Queensland|
|29 Jan 1965||3||Wollongong ABW N-5A||New South Wales|
|2 Feb 1965||4||Perth ABW-2||Western Australia|
|5 Feb 1965||3||Brisbane ABQ-2||Queensland|
|5 Feb 1965||4||Canberra ABC-3||ACT|
|5 Feb 1965||4||Lismore ABR N-6||New South Wales|
|5 Feb 1965||4||Newcastle ABH N-5||New South Wales|
|5 Feb 1965||4||Orange ABC N-1||New South Wales|
|5 Feb 1965||4||Sydney ABN-2||New South Wales|
|5 Feb 1965||3||Toowoomba ABD Q-3||Queensland|
|5 Feb 1965||4||Wollongong ABW N-5A||New South Wales|
|12 Feb 1965||4||Brisbane ABQ-2||Queensland|
|12 Feb 1965||4||Toowoomba ABD Q-3||Queensland|
|20 Feb 1965||1||Ballarat ABR V-3||Victoria|
|20 Feb 1965||1||Bendigo ABE V-1||Victoria|
|20 Feb 1965||1||Melbourne ABV-2||Victoria|
|20 Feb 1965||1||Shepparton ABG V-3||Victoria|
|20 Feb 1965||1||Traralgon ABL V-4||Victoria|
|27 Feb 1965||2||Ballarat ABR V-3||Victoria|
|27 Feb 1965||2||Bendigo ABE V-1||Victoria|
|27 Feb 1965||2||Melbourne ABV-2||Victoria|
|27 Feb 1965||2||Shepparton ABG V-3||Victoria|
|27 Feb 1965||2||Traralgon ABL V-4||Victoria|
|4 Mar 1965||1||Townsville ABT Q-3||Queensland|
|6 Mar 1965||3||Ballarat ABR V-3||Victoria|
|6 Mar 1965||3||Bendigo ABE V-1||Victoria|
|6 Mar 1965||3||Melbourne ABV-2||Victoria|
|6 Mar 1965||3||Shepparton ABG V-3||Victoria|
|6 Mar 1965||3||Traralgon ABL V-4||Victoria|
|11 Mar 1965||2||Townsville ABT Q-3||Queensland|
|13 Mar 1965||4||Ballarat ABR V-3||Victoria|
|13 Mar 1965||4||Bendigo ABE V-1||Victoria|
|13 Mar 1965||4||Melbourne ABV-2||Victoria|
|13 Mar 1965||4||Shepparton ABG V-3||Victoria|
|13 Mar 1965||4||Traralgon ABL V-4||Victoria|
|15 Mar 1965||1||Adelaide ABS-2||South Australia|
|18 Mar 1965||1||Rockhampton ABR Q-3||Queensland|
|18 Mar 1965||3||Townsville ABT Q-3||Queensland|
|22 Mar 1965||2||Adelaide ABS-2||South Australia|
|25 Mar 1965||2||Rockhampton ABR Q-3||Queensland|
|25 Mar 1965||4||Townsville ABT Q-3||Queensland|
|29 Mar 1965||3||Adelaide ABS-2||South Australia|
|1 Apr 1965||3||Rockhampton ABR Q-3||Queensland|
|5 Apr 1965||4||Adelaide ABS-2||South Australia|
|8 Apr 1965||4||Rockhampton ABR Q-3||Queensland|
|11 Jun 1965||1||Hobart ABT-2||Tasmania|
|11 Jun 1965||1||Launceston ABN T-3||Tasmania|
|18 Jun 1965||2||Hobart ABT-2||Tasmania|
|18 Jun 1965||2||Launceston ABN T-3||Tasmania|
|25 Jun 1965||3||Hobart ABT-2||Tasmania|
|25 Jun 1965||3||Launceston ABN T-3||Tasmania|
|2 Jul 1965||4||Hobart ABT-2||Tasmania|
|2 Jul 1965||4||Launceston ABN T-3||Tasmania|
As you can see, the country stations in Queensland were airing the first serial while other centres in the same state were seeing The Daleks.
Also of note is that a large number of new Country Stations went into operation at different stages throughout 1965 (see list above and right), widening the viewership of Doctor Who in its debut year; but of course that meant that many viewers tuned in for the first time mid-story!
Block 2: HARTNELL ---- October 1966 to February 1967
This Block of stories was the first to be seen by the most number of viewers since the series started. As noted in the list above, by the middle of 1966, the number of Country Stations receiving feeds from their regional capital had nearly doubled the number that had been transmitting in 1965.
As a result of this, this Block of episodes is somewhat complex, due to the frequency of out-of-sequence screenings of the stories. This was most likely due to there being a minimum of only two sets of prints being circulated between the five regions, and it was therefore necessary to screen the stories out of order to avoid any overlaps.
The second run, now screening four days a week (Monday to Thursday, at 6.30pm), commenced Monday, 3 October 1966, in five regions:
- SYDNEY: commenced with Q, the next story in sequence from where "Block 1" ended, screening all subsequent serials in the correct order up to U, after which came repeats of H, J, M, N, and P, followed by new episodes W to Z in order. SYDNEY was the first region to complete this run, which concluded on 16 January 1967.
- CANBERRA: also commenced with Q, the next story in sequence from where the last Block left off. However, since Canberra aired only three times a week (no episode on Thursdays), this brings us to the likelihood that the state capital simply recorded onto tape for later play-back the signals coming from the Sydney feed. After Q came R to U in order, followed by repeats of H, J, M, N and P, after which came W to Z in order. CANBERRA was the last region to complete this run, which ended on 20 February 1967.
- ADELAIDE: opened on 10 October 1966 with an out of sequence S; this was followed by Q, then R, then a jump to T, followed by repeats of D, N and F (in that order), after which came new episodes of U, then a repeat of H, J and M, followed by new serials W to Z in order. The ADELAIDE run concluded on 2 February 1967.
- BRISANE: also opened with an out of sequence S (which suggests that two prints of this and subsequent stories were in circulation); after that came Q, R, then T, followed by repeats of H and J, after which came new episodes of U, then out of sequence repeats of F, P, M, N, back to new episodes W to Z in order. The run concluded on 23 January 1967.
- MELBOURNE: the run opened with an out of sequence R, followed by Q, S, then U, after which came a repeat of F, then new episodes of T, then repeats of H, J, M, N and P, after which came new episodes W to Z in order, ending the second run on 23 January 1967.
- PERTH: from Monday, 10 October 1966, the series opened with an out of sequence S (being, one presumes, one of the prints used the week before by one of the other five regions), followed by T, Q, and R, then came repeats of F and M, then new episodes of U, followed by repeats of H, J, N, P, followed by new episodes W to Z in order, ending the run on 31 January 1967.
- HOBART: Tasmania also started the run on Monday, 10 October 1966, with a very much out-of-sequence screening of T, which was followed by the reverse-ordered S, R, then Q, after which came new episodes U, then repeats of F, D (the last time this serial aired in Australia), H, M, N, and P, then new episodes W to Z. The run came to an end on 13 February 1967.
NOTE ABOUT REPEATS: Serials A, B, C, E, G, K and L had all been rated "A" and therefore could not be repeated in the early afternoon slots. In July 1967, the ABC's prints of H, J, K and L (still exhibiting the censor cuts) were sent to New Zealand…
8mm OFF-SCREEN CLIPS
An Australian viewer filmed a number of short clips of Doctor Who by pointing a 8mm silent film camera at his television screen. The extracts were most likely taken in SYDNEY during the October to November 1966 first run of Q, R, S, T, and U, and the repeats of H, J and N, during November and December 1966.
- CONTINUED: 1967-1971
|Table of Airdates in Australia|
|1965-67 | 1967-71 | 1971-75 | 1976-78 | 1979-82 | 1983-85 | 1985-90 | 1991-2002 | 2003-
THE AIRDATES COLUMNS ON EACH PAGE HAVE BEEN SEQUENCED TO REFLECT TRANSMISSION ORDER BY FIRST TO LAST REGION
PER = PERTH | DAR = DARWIN | ADE = ADELAIDE | MEL = MELBOURNE | HOB = HOBART
CAN = CANBERRA | SYD = SYDNEY | BRI = BRISBANE | RKH = ROCKHAMPTON | TVL = TOWNSVILLE