SPACE, a Canadian cable channel specialising in Science Fiction, was launched on 17 October 1997. It used the slogan "SPACE: The Imagination Station".
The station ceased to exist as of September 2019 when it was rebranded as "CTV-Sci-Fi".
Stories bought and broadcast
Seventeen stories, 76 episodes:
|A||An Unearthly Child||4|
|C||Inside the Spaceship||2|
|E||The Keys of Marinus||6|
|J||Planet of Giants||3|
|K||The Dalek Invasion of Earth||6|
|N||The Web Planet||6|
|Q||The Space Museum||4|
|S||The Time Meddler||4|
|BB||The War Machines||4|
Six stories, 34 episodes:
|MM||The Tomb of the Cybermen||4|
|UU||The Mind Robber||5|
|XX||The Seeds of Death||6|
|ZZ||The War Games||10|
Three stories, 18 episodes:
|AAA||Spearhead from Space||4|
|BBB||Doctor Who and the Silurians||7|
|CCC||The Ambassadors of Death||7|
Only Spearhead from Space aired in colour; the other two Pertwees were in black and white.
One story, two episodes:
|4B||The Sontaran Experiment||2|
The reason why a single Tom Baker serial was purchased by SPACE, was because they had contracted to buy 130 episodes (which, when stripped five days a week, provided an industry standard run of 26 weeks). However, when the station discovered that the 129th and 130th episodes would be parts one and two of the seven-parter Inferno, they instead acquired this two-parter to make up the 130 episodes they had paid for.
In April 1998, the SPACE website indicated that the number of viewers over two days for the first broadcast of The Sontaran Experiment would affect how they would buy Doctor Who in the future. Clearly the numbers did not impress, as the 1998 fall season (and later) did not feature any new Doctor Who serials.
|Daleks Invasion Earth 2150AD|
SPACE purchased a package of 130 episodes, with several re-run rights.
The series commenced three days after SPACE went live - on Monday, 20 October 1997, with An Unearthly Child at 7.30am, with a replay at 1.30pm, and a third airing at 7.30pm. This "three times a day" schedule remained (mostly) in place through until January 1998, when the third airing at 7.30 pm was switched to 3.30 am the next morning. This new pattern/configuration continued until September 1998, although there was the odd occasion when an episode was pre-empted, or shifted to a slightly earlier or later slot to make way for other programming.
Episodes were broadcast commercial-free, but with a semi-obtrusive station ident logo at the bottom right corner.
The Chase part 6 aired on Friday / Saturday, 9-10 January. From Sunday, 11 January 1998, a separate repeat cycle was added to the schedules. Starting at the beginning again with An Unearthly Child, the fresh run aired on Sundays at 8.00am, with a repeat of the same episode at 3.30am Monday morning.
The "lost" Patrick Troughton serial The Tomb of the Cybermen had its Canadian television debut on Tuesday, 3 February 1998, a fact that was mentioned in the Winnipeg Free Press (which incorrectly stated it was in colour!)
The brief run of 18 Jon Pertwee episodes started on Monday, 23 March 1998 through until 16 April 1998.
And the single Tom Baker serial, The Sontaran Experiment, the last serial of the 130-episode package, aired 16-17 April 1998 (with its 3.30am repeat on 18 April).
As noted above, SPACE did cast a very close eye on the ratings for this 2-parter in order to determine whether or not they would purchase further Tom Baker serials. Since no additional fourth Doctor stories were shown, it's clear that the ratings did not impress...
From Monday, 20 April 1998, the episodes cycled back to An Unearthly Child, again three times a day.
On Tuesday, 21 April 1998, at 8pm, the Reeltime Pictures documentary I Was a Doctor Who Monster was shown. This was played again on Sunday, 28 June 1998 (at 4pm), Tuesday, 15 September 1998 (3pm), and a week later on Saturday, 26 September 1998 (also 4pm), and for a final time on Sunday, 4 April 1999, at 4.30pm.
On 25 April 1998, the early morning repeat of The Daleks part one was shown at the slightly later time of 4.00am (instead of 3.30am).
One curious side-effect of there being a stream of weekday repeats as well as a separate Sunday/Monday stream, was that for one week in May 1998, the two streams overlapped, so that part five of The Keys of Marinus aired five times that week! And later that year on 27-28 December 1998, part one of The Space Museum screened three times!
On 20 June 1998, the 3.30am repeat of The Web Planet part 1 was pre-empted, replaced by three episodes of The X Files.
On 8 August 1998, the 3.30am repeat of The Tomb of the Cybermen part 4 appears to have been pre-empted by a repeat of an X Files episode. The 15 August 1998 showing of The Dominators episode 5, and the 22 August 1998 edition of The Mind Robber episode five were both at the later time of 4am.
The fifth episode of the final Patrick Troughton story The War Games aired on 11 September 1998 in the usual three slots per day. But starting with episode six of that serial, both the 1.30pm and 3.30am slots were dropped, and from on Monday 14 September 1998 on, episodes screened only once per day, at 7.30am.
From Monday, 19 October 1998, the 130-episode run cycled back to An Unearthly Child, now only once per week day. The 8am Sunday / 3.30am Monday screenings were still running, and had got as far as The Romans.
The 8am Sunday screenings stopped on 24 January 1999 (with The Chase part one); from that date only the 3.30am repeats continued.
On 5 April 1999, the day after the final showing of I Was a Doctor Who Monster, the regular 3.30am Monday repeats came to an end, with The Space Museum part one. And with the regular weekday repeats coming to a natural end two weeks later, the unused "Monday" repeats were slotted into the regular weekday cycle; therefore The Sontaran Experiment was followed by The Ark rather than An Unearthly Child.
And from that point on, episodes now aired only once per day, at 7.30am, seven days a week. Under that scheduling, the 130-episdoe run cycled back to An Unearthly Child from Friday, 25 June 1999, then again from Tuesday, 2 November 1999.
At midnight, Tuesday, 25 January 2000, the second Peter Cushing movie, "Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD" screened. (Midnight screenings are noted under the date on which the movie had most of its run-time, which in this case was early Tuesday morning.)
The Sontaran Experiment aired on 9-10 March 2000, bringing to an end the run of episodes on SPACE.
In two and a half years, the package of 130 episodes had been cycled through eight times. Adding in the discontinued Sunday/Monday repeats, some of the Hartnell serials played eleven times.
But that wasn't quite the end, as the Peter Cushing movie "Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 AD" was shown five more times, between 25 November 2000 and 11 December 2001.
That was the end of Doctor Who on SPACE - until the arrival of the New Series on the channel in 2009...
|← AIRDATES ...... (CLICK ICON TO GO TO TABLE SHOWING EPISODE BREAKDOWN AND AIRDATES - N/S = story title is Not Stated)|
Our Airdates detail comes from the TV magazine Broadcast Week that came with Toronto's Globe and Mail; this had full listings for the SPACE channel, including story titles for all screenings bar those during the first five weeks, which just had the series title.
The paper's "Favourite TV File" section also grouped programmes alphabetically by title rather than by timeslot, and with the series screening as many as three times per day made searching and compiling the data relatively easy! (These listings often had spelling errors, such as "War Machine" and "Tomb of the Cyberman" in the singular.)
Other screening data has been extrapolated from archived editions of Benjamin F Elliott's on-going This Week In Doctor Who.
We are indebted to Hugh Pearson for painstakingly researching and compiling all the SPACE airdates.
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