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ITALY is in southern Europe; it shares a border with France, Switzerland and Austria.


Country Number (54?) 1980 SECOND WAVE
Region Europe
Television commenced 1954
Colour System 1977 PAL
Population 1980 57 million
TV Sets 1980 12.87 million (incl 1.18 million in colour)
Language/s Italian Dubbed

Television Stations / Channels

Italy began its television service in 1954.

There are a number of privately-owned stations, but the national broadcaster – and home to Doctor Who – is Radiotelevisione Italia (RAI). (The station would also have been available in San Marino and the Vatican City.)

All foreign television programmes are dubbed into Italian.

In 1982, RAI acquired a 10% ownership of a Monaco-based Italian-language television station, Telemontecarlo. After the takeover, broadcasts for that station were instead transmitted from Italy. Doctor Who aired on that station in 1983. See the profile for Monaco for further details.

By the late 1980s / early 1990s, the proliferation of satellite stations operating from the UK, such as BBC World Service Television Europe and BBC Prime, meant that Doctor Who in English would also have been available in Italy.

In 1992 and 1993 (at least) one of the later Italian terrestrial stations, Teleadige, transmitted BBC World Service signals to Italy. (Refer also to our coverage of these Cable and Satellite stations.)


Italy was the seventh country in Europe to screen Doctor Who. It was also one of a large group of countries that bought the series towards the end of the SECOND WAVE of sales (see Selling Doctor Who).

And as we've noted in the chapter, 110 Million Viewers, 54 countries had bought the series by then.



But many years before the good Doctor appeared on their television screens, Italians were exposed to Doctor Who in the form of the second of the two Peter Cushing Dalek movies.

The film -– under the title "Daleks - Il Futuro Tra un Milione di Anni" (Daleks – The Future of a Million Years) -– was classified by the Italian film censorship board on 9 August 1967. Distributed by New Arts Associates Inc (NAA), the earliest recorded screenings were on 12 February 1968 at the Colosseo, Hollywood and Massaua theatres (see clipping below). The film continued to be exhibited around the country in metropolitan and then small regional theatres through into the mid-1970s.

NOTE: the onscreen title of the film (also in the trailer) has the first word written as "DALEXS". This is an artistic embellishment rather than a spelling error. Also, the fourth word is written as "TRA" whereas the film posters and lobby cards spell it "FRA". In terms of Italian grammar, both are correct and sometimes used interchangeably, but since it is "Tra" that is seen on the film itself, that is the spelling we prefer.

One of the posters for the film was painted by Renato Casaro, with Jill Curzon as Louise featuring prominently.

Another poster is a collage of images taken from other sources, such as the June 1965 "Dalek Painting Book", and the poster for the Italian release of the 1959 Japanese film "Battle in Outer Space" (Italian title: "Inferno Nella Stratosfera").

The film also aired quite a few times on a number of different television stations in Italy in the 1970s and 1980s. The first recorded airing was on 3 November 1977, on Telecommerciale.

In 1987, the second film was released on VHS tape by DB Video. But this had a very different title: the cover shows a generic robot holding a globe, with the word "DALEKS" in large letters, with "Anno 2150, un pericola minaccia la Terra" ("Year 2150, A Danger Threatens the Earth") as the tag line in the top left corner.

Dr Who and the Daleks was made available in Italy for the first time when both films were released together in the "Dr Who Film Collection" DVD set from Sinister Film in October 2010.

The first movie (which wasn't given a translated title) was in English with Italian subtitles, while the second retained its Italian dub. Extras included the commentary from the UK DVD with added Italian subtitles, plus new introductions by Italian movie director Luigi Cozzi. An edited version (cut down to 44 minutes) of the Dalekmania documentary - retitled Dr Who Mania - also featured. The set also came with a booklet.

The films continued to air on television; the second was shown on channel RAI4 on 7 April 2012 at 11.45am.

Sinister re-released the "Dr Who Film Collection" on DVD and Blu-ray on 16 November 2020; both films were now fully restored in High Definition.

Although at first glance the box cover appears to be the same as the earlier 2010 release, it has the added text "RESTAURATO IN HD" and "SPECIAL EDITION" on it, and the layout of the back is very different. Other changes between the 2010 and 2020 disks include different menu layouts and music. The updated release also had the UK trailers (in English only), but did not come with a booklet.

On 24 May 2023 Sinister Films released yet another Blu-ray boxset of both films, being a Doctor Who 60th Anniversary commemorative edition. The new set features the full unedited Dalekmania documentary for the first time (but still under the alternative title "Dr. Who Mania"). Other extras include an audio commentary (in English) on the first film, an interview with Bernard Cribbins, a photo gallery, a 24-page booklet, and a reproduction of the 1967 Renato Casaro poster of Dalek Invasion.

Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD, first showing at Italian cinemas, 12 February 1968
1967 Italian movie poster painted by Renato Casaro
Italian movie poster with images taken from the Japanese film "Battle in Outer Space"

Daleks Invasion on Italian TV, 29 December 1978
"Daleks" - Italian VHS release of the second Peter Cushing film
Italian "Dr Who Film Collection" DVD

BBC Records

In a BBC memo dated 7 July 1965, Italy was one of several European countries to which the series had been offered. The stories on offer were the first four - An Unearthly Child to Marco Polo (the latter possibly due to the guest character's Venice origins?). However, the offer was not accepted and no sale eventuated.

The Eighties - THE LOST CHAPTERS, records a sale to Italy of "(9)" stories (by 10 February 1987).

In DWM, Italy is identified in only 2 story Archives: 4E and 4H, "sold" in 1979. (In this case, it's a simple matter of the handwritten code "4C" being misread as "4E".)

Given that only seven stories aired, the reason for the imbalance could simply be due to two stories being purchased but not screened – due to censorship, perhaps? Or another possibility is that two of the stories are being counted twice because they were repeated.

Another possibility is that two of the sales to the other Italian channel (covered under Monaco) have been added onto the seven sold to RAI.

Stories bought and broadcast


Seven stories, 26 episodes:

Code English Title eps Italian Title Translation
4A Robot 4 Robot Robot
4C The Ark in Space 4 Arca Spaziale Space Ark
4B The Sontaran Experiment 2 Esperimento Sontaran Experiment Sontaran
4D Revenge of the Cybermen 4 La Vendetta dei Ciberniani The Vendetta of the Cybermen
4H Planet of Evil 4 Il Pianeta del Male The Planet of Evil
4G Pyramids of Mars 4 Le Piramidi di Marte The Pyramids of Mars
4F Terror of the Zygons 4 La Sconfitta degli Zigoni The Defeat of the Zygons

The programme was supplied as PAL colour video tapes, which were dubbed into Italian.

It appears that RAI was also supplied with a copy of the BBC's 1978 Doctor Who Sound Effects LP record (the one with the TARDIS on the cover) first released in May 1978, to use for their dubs, since mismatched sound effects like the repeated bursts of the 'Tesh Gun' and 'Dalek Gun' from the album can be heard in other stories -- for instance the three short Dalek gun bursts are used for when the transmat is operated in The Sontaran Experiment.

The opening title sequence was adapted to include the Italian translations of the episode names and writer's credit:

ItalyRobot.jpg Arca spaziale.jpg
Esperimento Sontaran.jpg 04 La vendetta dei Ciberniani.jpg
Il pianeta del male.jpg Le piramidi di Marte.jpg
Sconfitta degli Zigoni.jpg ItalyDicks.JPG

- The episodes had new electronic music, although some of the original score was retained, particularly for those scenes without dialogue.

Italian Credits

- The closing titles were also recaptioned; only the main cast were given full credits, while the supporting actors were identified but not their character.

- Many of the dubbed Italian episodes are on YouTube:

- In the Italian adaptations, the character of the Doctor is actually called "Doctor Who". The Italian actors who portrayed the lead roles were:

Diego Reggente – the Italian Doctor Who!
  • Diego Reggente (Doctor Who)
  • Germano Longo (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart)
  • Piera Vidale (Sarah Jane Smith)
  • Guido de Salvi (Harry Sullivan)

And although it is not covered by BroaDWcast, here are details of the voice-over actor for the new series:

Terror of the Zygons clip 1

Terror of the Zygons clip 2

Revenge of the Cybermen clip

Planet of Evil clip


TV Movie, 84 minutes:

TVM The TV Movie 1



RAI (1980-1981)

Billing for Pianeta del Male with Michael E Briant incorrectly credited as director
"Robot", part one, repeat, 19 May 1981

Although there are nine stories recorded in the 1987 sales document, only seven stories screened.

The series started on Radiotelevisione Italia (RAI) channel Rete 1 on Wednesday, 6 February 1980, at 7.20pm.

It aired six days a week (not on Sundays) in the same timeslot until Saturday, 1 March 1980, with Pyramids of Mars. The six stories aired in the correct story order, which was highly unusual, as many foreign broadcasters tended to screen those stories in production code order.

Although it was been billed as airing on 22 and 23 February 1980 in some publications, Terror of the Zygons did not air, and Planet of Evil screened instead on those and the next two days.

Fourteen months later, on Tuesday, 19 May 1981, a run of repeats aired, at 4.30pm, five days per week, Tuesdays to Saturdays. The repeat run was split into two blocks; the first, consisting of Robot, The Ark in Space and The Sontaran Experiment, ended on Saturday, 30 May 1981.

Then, after a short break (to allow for coverage of a national cycling event akin to the Tour de France), from Tuesday, 9 June 1981, the second block commenced, starting again with Robot. Parts three and four of the serial were pre-empted, to allow for live news coverage of the tragic event surrounding the failed rescue attempt of a trapped child, Alfredo Rampi. As far as can be determined, those two episodes were not rescheduled. The repeats continued the following week, with further repeats of The Ark in Space and The Sontaran Experiment, followed by the first repeat of Revenge of the Cybermen, ending Saturday, 27 June 1981.

Four months later, on Saturday, 3 October 1981, at 12.05pm in the afternoon, the series returned, but now screening only once per week; the first to screen was a new story, the previously pre-empted "missing" Terror of the Zygons, followed by a repeat screening of Planet of Evil and Pyramids of Mars.

There were 13 weeks in this run, but only 12 episodes: "La Sconfitta degli Zigoni" is billed for the first five weeks, so presumably for one of those dates the episode was pre-empted.

The series ended on Saturday, 26 December 1981.

Telemontecarlo / Monaco (1983)

From 9 November to 14 December 1983, then repeats until 20 January 1984 the same seven "Italian" Doctor Who serials aired on another station based in Italy; however since that station had originated in Monaco, we have covered those broadcasts on a separate profile for that country.

Teleadige (1992-1993)

Teleadige listing, 13 December 1992 (The Daemons?)
Teleadige listing, 3 January 1993 (The Daemons?)

During 1992 and 1993 the north-eastern, Trento-based terrestrial channel Teleadige (named after the river Adige), aired BBC programming via satellite. We think this may have been a relayed feed from the BBC World Service Television Europe service (later known as BBC Prime).

We have found only four clear listings – Sundays, 13 and 20 December 1992 at 6.15–8.10pm, and Sundays, 3 and 10 January 1993, at 6.55–8.45pm. We have not been able to determine when this run of episodes commenced, but the 10 January 1993 listing appears to be the last, as the slot is filled by another programme in subsequent weeks.

These episodes would therefore likely to have been a delayed broadcast of the 30 November to 18 December 1992 BBC2 repeat of The Daemons.

The extended timeslot (nearly two hours) suggests these were omnibus editions, but this might be down to the listings not printing every programme.

  • See our coverage of BBC Prime HERE


VHS tape released in Italy

The 1996 Paul McGann TV Movie was released on VHS tape by MCA/Universal/CIC Video/UniVideo in 1997 - this was possibly only for Rental and not for home purchase.

It had the cover tagline "É TORNATO…" (He's Back). The tape was dubbed, and the actors providing the voices were:

The film later aired in 1999 on the (now defunct) Italian pay channel,TVL (owned by Stream TV), however this broadcast was in English.

A DVD and Blu-ray edition of the film was planned to be released by distributor Pulp Video on 7 February 2017, under the non-translated title Doctor Who The Movie. However there was a problem with the master video file that was supplied to the distributor, so no further work was undertaken, and the sets were never released.

The following online retail sites still carry "ads" for the non-existent DVDs and BRs; all have the same "cover" graphic but this is likely to be only a placeholder image and not necessarily how the final discs would have appeared:

TV listings

Airdates in Italy

TV listings have been obtained from the Rome newspaper Il Tempo, and the online archive of La Stampa and Radiocorriere.

Listings always gave the series name as "DOCTOR WHO".

"La Stampa"

The 6 February 1980 issue of La Stampa carried a short introductory article to the series (which featured a photo of Tom Baker and Louise Jameson, despite the latter not appearing in any of the episodes broadcast by RAI.)

Introduction to Doctor Who - La Stampa, 6 February 1980

"TV Sorrisi e Canzoni"

The Italian TV Guide, "TV Sorrisi e Canzoni", published its own listings, including a four-page introductory article about the series (which, like La Stampa, also featured photos of Louise Jameson as Leela, despite the fact that none of her stories aired!)

TV Sorrisi e Canzoni, page 1
TV Sorrisi e Canzoni, page 2

The weekly billings included brief summaries and photos:

Arca Spaziale
Esperimento Sontaran
La Vendetta dei Ciberniani
Il Pianeta del Male
Le Piramidi di Marte
La Sconfitta degli Zigoni


Radiocorriere is the official weekly TV publication of RAI which had listings for Doctor Who as well as an introductory interview with Tom Baker.

A month before the series aired on RAI, readers of the 6 January 1980 issue were introduced to the series and character with this brief summary:

"Here comes Doctor Who" … "After the domestic and student series Happy Days, arriving on Rete 1, here comes Doctor Who, the extraordinary science fiction character that has been gripping the English public for more than fourteen years and still is. Doctor Who has two hearts, an uncommon longevity (he started keeping his diary five hundred years ago) and travels through space and time with the starship Tardis (acronym for Time and Relative Dimension in Space), fights monsters and fixes galactic troubles. And he ends up being absolutely credible because he is very similar to one of us. For example he is a fanatic of bricolage and fixes with his hands complex electronic devices using recovered objects. In picture, Tom Baker as Doctor Who with Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah, the journalist joining him in his first space-time adventures." Radiocorriere, 6 January 1980. NOTE: The photo is not of Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah, but that of Dr Warlock, played by Peter Copley!
Listing for Revenge of the Cybermen ep3, 20 February 1980

Listing for The Ark in Space, ep 2, 12 February 1980: " Doctor Who, Sarah and Harry reach the space ark where the inhabitants of Earth are still in a state of hibernation, and discover that their awakening has not happened yet because of a damage to the spaceship system. After a long search Doctor Who discovers the damage was caused by a “strange thing” from space. This “thing” has cut the control systems breaking the alarm that should have awakened the bodies”.
Listing for The Ark in Space, ep 4, 14 February 1980. Note the Italian spelling "Wirrniani" for the monster

The 17-23 February 1980 issue, had a two-page feature about the series, and an interview with Tom Baker:


.... but even as a horse and a bear. That is how I get noticed by Laurence Olivier. Before this? I wore a monk's tunic. In cinema I worked with Pasolini and Bertolucci. But it was Shakespeare that launched my career.
A mass of messy curls. A striped scarf that touches the ground. That is enough to identify Doctor Who, the new superhero of British television. New so to speak, the BBC tv series is infinite, the protagonist has changed his face four times. Because the scripts, written by a succession of rotating writers (Robert Holmes, who is also the director, is the current) include reincarnation. So it's not hard providing substitutions when it's needed.
The first Doctor Who was William Hartnell who got all English kids into playing flute. The second, John Pertwee, sailed on the seas of kitsch. The last, Tom Baker, outclassed them all. By now England is filled with garter stitch scarfs knitted on subway trains. But who is Doctor Who, i.e. Tom Baker, in his private life? We asked him directly. Here's what he told us.
"Tom Baker is Doctor Who, first of all. Do you think people care about Tom Baker? No way. If they stop me in the street they ask me how long is my scarf, why I don't wear the hat, what is the monster I liked the most. Not that I mind, to be clear. It means I succeeded. But it turns out that sometimes even I can't remember who I really am.
And yet I dressed other parts, and not some bad ones at all. For example, in 1973 I was protagonist of Macbeth at the Shaw Theatre. And the Prince of Morocco in The Merchant of Venice. All eyes were on me. I got by so well that I ended up on set playing Rasputin in the Sam Spiegel's film Nicholas and Alexandra. Shakespeare is a definitive achievement for many... For me it was a springboard. It opened the cinema doors. The Italian public should remember me in Canterbury Tales by Pasolini, in Cari Genitori. And then with Marie Schneider in Last Tango in Paris. But the part I liked the most was that of Sinbad [sic] in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.
I was born in Liverpool more than 35 years ago... And before being an actor I wore the monastic habit. For six years I was one of the brothers of the Ploermer Order. I made the novitiate in Channel Island, Jersey. At twenty one I realised I made the wrong choice and left the habit.
Then someone desired to employ me right away. No, not television: the army. I served in the medical corps for two years. When I was my own master again I remembered in my childhood I was a good amateur actor, much to get noticed by Abby Theatre people, and that says it all in Ireland... I competed for a scholarship, enrolled in drama school and learned the job.
My first parts? Well, I was a bear, then a dog. And this got me a horse role with Laurence Olivier! There was enough to be discouraged… Then, fortunately, I started playing human beings. And now my "animal" period is just a recollection...
I started doing Doctor Who in 1975. At the time, the most precious thing I owned was a leather coat. Now I can go anywhere without bringing along my credit card. That means I am quite an accomplished person, don't you think so? Everywhere, at the bank, at the post office, at the hotel, my face is a sufficient guarantee. The face of Doctor Who, of course."

The box-out reads:

He debuted on our screens on 6 February. In England he is broadcast every week for 14 years. And he's all the rage already in 28 countries. He's "Doctor Who", a mysterious Time Lord, born on an ultra-civilized planet (planet Gallifrey), travelling through time and space on a custom spaceship, the TARDIS (the name is an acronym for "Time and Relative Dimension in Space"). He, the protagonist, is in his fourth reincarnation, has an uncommon longevity (he keeps a 500 year diary), two respiratory systems, a body temperature of 15 degrees. But sometimes he has to solve his problems recurring to bricolage.
Among the monsters recorded in the diary are the Ciberniani (super-intelligent and allergic to gold powder), the Dalek (metal robots always blabbering: "de-struc-tion"), the Wirniani (two meters tall lookalike wasps feeding on human flesh) the Zigoniani and many others.
Girls are not lacking in Doctor Who's life. He arrives in Italy with Sara Jane Smith (the actress Elizabeth Slade), a journalist, but she's not the only one. Among the many, it should not be forgotten Leila (Louise Jameson), sort of Tarzan in a skirt.
The Doctor Who series was created for the kids, then it grew up with them. Now, in England, it is considered a programme for the adults, with a lot of suspense".

On 22 and 23 February 1980, the listings billed Terror of the Zygons, when in actual fact, Planet of Evil aired those two nights. (Terror of the Zygons for reasons unknown did not air until October 1981.) The correct billings for Planet of Evil appeared for the next two dates.

Incorrect listing for Terror of the Zygons ep1, 22 February 1980
Incorrect listing for Terror of the Zygons ep2, 23 February 1980
Now corrected listing for Planet of Evil ep3 on 25 February 1980, although the photo is from Pyramids of Mars! "Continuing the fantastic science adventures with Doctor Who (Tom Baker) and his friends. In the photo, the protagonist of this series, produced by the BBC, and Elisabeth Sladen. Today airs the third part of The Planet of Evil."

A month after the series had debuted, the ratings for the channel were published in the 2 March and 9 March 1980 issues, both showing a healthy rating of 6.5 million and 6.6 million for the series:


Ratings for 2 and 9 March 1980

Profile that accompanied the listing for the repeat of Planet of Evil ep4, 28 November 1981: "This fortunate series from the BBC is built around a mysterious time lord (Tom Baker, in picture) who travels through space and time and is in the fourth reincarnation”.
Listing for repeat of Pyramids of Mars ep3, 19 December 1981: “He was Macbeth at theatre, Rasputin in the film Nicholas and Alexandra by Spiegel. He worked with Pasolini and with Bertolucci. But only in playing Doctor Who Tom Baker, in picture, has become famous”.
This image of Colin Baker appeared in a 1986 issue

Italian Merchandise


Douglas Adams stories translated

Some of the recent novelisations based on Douglas Adams scripts have been translated:

Also translated and published in Italy were various Titan comic collections, and original novels based on the New Series.

Videos and DVDs

The 1996 Paul McGann TV Movie was released on video tape in 1997 -- see above.

It was also out on DVD and Blu-ray from Pulp Video on 7 February 2017, although we have not been able to source proper images of the box covers to confirm - see above.

And as also noted above, the Peter Cushing / Dalek movies were also released on tape and DVD.

The 1999 DVD release of the special edition re-edit of The Five Doctors had Italian subtitles as an alternative language option (although it's not known whether the DVD was actually sold there).

Two DVD box sets of William Hartnell stories were released on DVD in the late-2000s, with Italian dubs:

The voice-artists were:
  • Enrico Maggi (Doctor Who)
  • Cinzia Massironi (Barbara)
  • Claudio Beccari (Ian)
  • Elisabetta Spinelli (Susan)

A third DVD box set of three Patrick Troughton stories was also released:

Italy DVDs.JPG
Menu screen for An Unearthly Child from Italian DVD

Italy DVDs2.JPG

The Web Planet clip in Italian

Classic TV and DVD clips dubbed into Italian

An Unearthy Child clip in Italian

Icecreams (Dalek)

In the 1970s, a popular brand of ice-lolly was manufactured by Eldorado. One of the flavoured icecreams was called "Dalek", a name possibly derived from a contraction of the Italian term "da leccare", which literally means "to lick"! The "Dalek" lolly was purple and rocket-shaped. An advertisement for the ice treats, depicted all the lollies standing on "flying saucers", so any link between this product and Doctor Who must be a coincidence.


An Italian company called Harbert released a version of the Denys Fisher fourth Doctor / Tom Baker doll in 1979. There is uncertainty as to whether or not the other figures in the set (Cyberman, Dalek, Leela and TARDIS) were also released, despite reference to them appearing on the Baker doll's packaging.

Eldorado icecreams – rocket-shaped purple "Dalek" lolly shown at centre left
Italian Tom Baker doll
Back of box for Italian Tom Baker doll

Fandom in Italy

In 1983, the address of the Italian Doctor Who Fan Club was given as via Bologna 33/23, Genova 16127, Italy in the book, Doctor Who – A Celebration.

Today, Italy has a very active online presence; the following are the source of many of the clippings used (with permission) on this site:

And have a look at this music video clip from Italy – especially the last minute…

(Grateful thanks are due to Gabriella and Antonio Iona for providing the screen-grabs, clippings and translations)

Italy in Doctor Who