REELTIME PICTURES is a video production company established by Keith Barnfather in 1984.
Predominantly known for producing the Myth Makers tapes -- a long-running series of interviews with Doctor Who actors and production crew (released on VHS, and later DVD and download) -- Reeltime also made a number of direct-to-video dramas featuring licenced characters, such as Benton (Wartime (1998)), the Brigadier, Yeti, Victoria Waterfield and Sarah Jane Smith (Downtime (1995)), Draconians, Sontarans and Ace (the Mindgame series (1998, 1999)), the Daemons and Olive Hawthorne (Daemos Rising (2004), The White Witch of Devils' End (2017)) and Sil (Sil and the Devil Seeds of Arodor in 2019).
Downtime and Daemos Rising featured the character of Kate Lethbridge-Stewart (played by Beverley Cressman) who would later appear in the new television series (played by Jemma Redgrave).
Reeltime also repackaged and distributed some of the video dramas produced by BBV Productions. It also had the exclusive UK rights to release VHS and DVD editions of the New Jersey Network documentaries Doctor Who's Who's Who, Doctor Who Then & Now and The Home Whovian (all in 2001). In 2003 they released the Patrick Troughton in America special.
Two of Reeltime's highly-regarded interview features were Return to Devil's End (1993), which took the principal actors back to the village of Aldbourne where The Daemons had been filmed in 1971, and I Was a Doctor Who Monster! (1996), hosted by Sylvester McCoy, featuring interviews with many of the actors who appeared behind latex masks and inside rubber costumes.
Reeltime on TV
Several of the Reeltime productions were sold to PBS stations in the United States, with the first appearing in late 1996.
This was by arrangement with a US company called Future Programming Concepts Inc (established by well-known fan T J Lubinsky in June 1996), which had been awarded broadcast and limited home video distribution rights for the Reeltime videos in the United States and Canada, with the productions being advertised and promoted as "Pledge Specials" .
FPC originally planned to sell three distinct Packages of material, the first consisting of the Pertwee, T Baker, C Baker and McCoy Myth Makers interviews; the second was to be Return to Devil's End, Just Who on Earth is Tom Baker? and the Yeti drama Downtime; and Package 3 was a selection of 32 half-hour Myth Makers interviews.
However, these plans changed, and ultimately, the only Reeltime productions that were eventually made available via FPC were:
- Return to Devil's End
- Just Who on Earth is Tom Baker? (sometimes billed as Who on Earth is Tom Baker)
- Myth Makers: Tom Baker
- Myth Makers: Jon Pertwee
- Myth Makers: Colin Baker
- Myth Makers: Sylvester McCoy
- I Was a Doctor Who Monster!
(Some of the TV listings incorrectly stated I Was a Doctor Who Monster was an interview with McCoy about his previous appearance in the show, stating that "Before becoming Doctor Who, Sylvester McCoy played an alien in a series episode"!)
These Packages were first picked up by KTEH in San Jose, California, since they were at that time one of the few remaining stations still screening "Classic" Doctor Who, and they were hungry for new content to show.
FPC also sold I Was a Doctor Who Monster to the Canadian cable station Space.
In the TV listings for KTEH in 1998 we also found an item called Time Lord Chronicles, which the "This Week in Doctor Who" bulletin claimed was "A Mythmakers Production", but this does not match any titles from Reeltime. We have been unable to verify what this is, but it may have been an umbrella title given to the Package 3 interviews, or it may have been an original product from KTEH.
In the early 2000s, KTEH picked up two additional titles from Reeltime, a deal which did not involve Future Programming Concepts Inc:
- Myth Makers: William Hartnell
- Lust in Space
The following are just some of the US stations to have screened Reeltime Pictures programmes:
- WCET Channel 48 in Ohio:
- They screened an omnibus of The Daemons on Saturday, 7 December 1996 from 10pm, which was followed by Return to Devil's End at 1am (Sunday 8 December).
- I was a Doctor Who Monster was on Saturday, 23 August 1997.
- On Saturday, 28 November 1998, the station repeated both Return to Devil's End and I Was a Doctor Who Monster back to back from 11pm.
- KTEH Channel 54 in San Jose, California:
- Just Who on Earth is Tom Baker? was screened on Sunday, 8 December 1996 at 9pm, followed by
- Myth Makers: Tom Baker at 10.30pm. These two were reshown on 8 June 1997, then separately on 8 and 22 March 1998.
- Return to Devil's End was first aired on Sunday, 2 March 1997 at 11.55pm, and again on 13 September 1998 and 6 December 1998.
- KTEH also aired Time Lord Chronicles on 1 March 1998 (at 11.30pm), repeated 15 November 1998 and 13 June 1999. (As noted above, this might not have been a Reeltime feature.)
- I Was a Doctor Who Monster was seen on 2 August 1998, 29 November 1998 and 20 June 1999.
- Myth Makers: Jon Pertwee was played on Sunday, 20 September 1998, 31 January 1999 and 6 June 1999.
- The station acquired the William Hartnell Myth Makers for screening on 23 November 2005 to celebrate the 42nd anniversary, and this was repeated on 7 April 2007.
- On 31 March 2007, it aired Lust in Space.
- IPTV in Iowa:
- Myth Makers: Sylvester McCoy on Friday, 28 February 1997 at 12.15am (after a screening of Dragonfire), and again on 9 May 1997 at 11.05pm.
- Return to Devil's End was seen on Saturday, 15 March 1997 at 12.45am, with a repeat on 30 May at 11pm (and with another showing in December 1999). (These screenings were often preceded by introductions from Mike Frisbie.)
- The Just Who on Earth is Tom Baker? segment was shown on 21 March 1997 at 11.15pm (immediately ahead of its regular evening omnibus - in this case The Happiness Patrol); this was repeated the following Friday.
- The Tom Baker Myth Makers aired on Friday, 16 May 1997. It was shown again on 3 March 2000.
Mike Frisbie intro: Return to Devil's End
- KSPS Channel 7 in Spokane, Washington:
- Myth Makers: Colin Baker was aired on Saturday, 8 March 1997 at 10.35pm, (followed by The Two Doctors - although this might have actually been Timelash).
- I Was a Doctor Who Monster aired on Saturday, 15 March 1997 at 9.05pm, immediately followed by The Daemons at 10:20pm, after which was shown Return to Devil's End at 12.50am.
- Louisiana Public Broadcasting:
- Return to Devil's End was shown on Saturday, 15 March 1997 at 10.30pm.
- WUSF Channel 16 in Tampa, Florida:
- In a highly unusual bit of scheduling on Saturday, 12 April 1997, Return to Devil's End was screened at 6.50pm, followed by The Daemons at 8.05pm, which was followed by a repeat of Return to Devil's End 11.10pm!
- Canada - Space:
- I Was a Doctor Who Monster was shown five times by the Canadian cable channel - on Tuesday, 21 April 1998 at 8pm, 28 June (4pm), 15 September (3pm) and 26 September 1998 (4pm), and 4 April 1999 (at 4.30pm).
Several other US PBS stations aired a selection of the Reeltime features during 1997, 1998 and 1999, but we don't have full airdates or listings clippings for these.
From 7 February 2020, the Myth Makers interviews and other Reeltime productions were available on the Amazon Prime sites for free via the subscription service.
- Reeltime Pictures home page
- Reeltime Videos and DVDs
- TimeTravel Website
- Reeltime Pictures (DW Wiki)
- Radio Times feature 27 November 2018
With grateful thanks to Keith Barnfather and TJ Lubinsky