TV Movie

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Story Code: TV Movie / Season - UK Airdate: 27 May 1996 Doctor: Paul McGann
First airings by location UK Repeats / Foreign Cable and Satellite Previous Story / Next Story

This story aired in the following known countries. They are listed in chronological order according to known airdate. If no month is noted, the actual airdate is not confirmed, and is a close approximate. (Refer also to Selling Doctor Who for expanded airdates.)

Fox TV Movie poster ad, May 1996
Presskit for the TV Movie
Screen grab of French title caption
Canada 12 May 96
United States 14 May 96
United Kingdom 27 May 96
Australia 7 Jul 96
New Zealand 30 Oct 96
Greece 1996 or 97
France 18 Mar 97 Le Seigneur du Temps / Docteur Who: Le Film (dubbed)
Argentina? 1997
Japan 1997
Poland 1997 and Mar 1999 Doktor Who
Finland 13 Feb 99
HBO OLE Cable From 16 Feb 99
Luxembourg 27 Feb 99 Le Seigneur du Temps (dubbed)
Lithuania 25 Apr 99 Doktor Who
Netherlands 5 Aug 99
Croatia 18 Sep 99 Doktor Who
Italy 1999 (dubbed?)
Ireland 1 May 00
Brazil 27 Jul 00 Doutor Who - O Senhor do Tempo (dubbed)
Czech Republic 9 Sep 00 Doktor Kdo (dubbed)
Norway 2005
Germany 17 Nov 21 Doctor Who Der Film (dubbed)
  • The Movie was shown on Fox and over 150 affiliate stations in the United States. The 89-minute Film was given a 2 hour timeslot to accommodate commercials.
  • The Movie was originally scheduled to be released in the UK on VHS tape on 15 May (with a "15" classification rating), but censorship issues (see below) forced a delay by a week.
  • The tape was officially released in the UK on 22 May 1996 (edited and now with a "12" rating), five days ahead of its broadcast on BBC1 (with some stores staying open late on 21 May to sell the tape from midnight).
  • The film aired on BBC1 on 27 May 1996. A special caption "In Memory of Jon Pertwee" appeared at the end as a tribute to the late actor who had died on 20 May.
  • The Movie was shown via off-air video-tape recording on the Falkland Islands' BFBS station on 22 June 1996.
  • The Film was marketed by BBC Worldwide and Universal Television as a "Movie for Television" and therefore it had a far wider international sales distribution; the Film was screened in a number of countries that had never seen the series.
  • In most non-English-speaking countries, the Film was shown with subtitles, but a small number aired a dubbed version (noted above). (The subsequent VHS tape was also subtitled or dubbed - see list below.)
  • The French dub of the Film (which was the exact same re-edit as the UK) was given the new title Le Seigneur du Temps; this screened in France, Luxembourg, and on the Canadian station Ztélé. (France is the only foreign country to create its own opening title graphics and translate the closing credits roll; all other foreign dubs (which used the full uncut version) retained the English titles and credits; in case of the Brazilian dub, the alternative title was spoken by a narrator.)
  • The Film was available on the In-flight TV Systems of Singapore Airlines, and was shown 99 times between July and September 1996 by British Airways. It was also available on Merchant Navy vessels (although of which countries is not known - see list of possibilities HERE).
  • The Movie was also distributed on VHS tape by Universal's home entertainment division, MCA/Universal/CIC Video, to many other countries around the world; these commercial releases (either subtitled or dubbed) were mainly for the rental market, and for a handful of those countries, the series had never been shown on TV, and the video tape was the only form in which Doctor Who was known - See the list below.
  • It was shown in Poland a number of times on different satellite stations such as Polsat and Canal+.
  • The Movie aired on UK Gold for the first time on 7 February 1998 (it would play nine more times; the tenth and final screening was on 29 October 2006); BBC Choice on 22 November 1998; by BBC Prime on 2 and 7 May 1999, with a third showing on 30 December 1999 - the actual date on which the story is set!
  • Australia's satellite channel BBC UKTV apparently edited the Movie into a 3-parter to show it in three half-hour slots over 12-14 August 1998 - although it's far more likely the 30 minute timeslots were incorrect and it played in full on those three dates.
  • Between February 1999 and December 1999, the Movie was available to several Central and South American countries via the HBO Olé cable links.
  • On 13 November 1999, the uncut US version (with the "Based on the original series broadcast on the BBC" caption intact) was shown during BBC2's Doctor Who Night special event.
  • The US Sci-Fi Channel screened the Movie for the first time on 15 July 2001. The station held the exclusive US cable rights to the Film, screening it multiple times until mid-2004...
  • Sci-Fi Channel's UK/Europe station aired the Film for the first time on Saturday, 2 November 2002, and then several more times during the next ten months. It aired again on 25 August 2008 - twice!
  • The Film also played several times during 2002 and 2003 on the Sci-Fi Channel in South Africa.
  • According to IMDb, the Film also aired on TV in Austria, Iraq, Lithuania (a repeat?) and India, but there is no traceable evidence that any of these screenings (between 2001 and 2004) did in fact occur.
  • In 2004, the US Sci-Fi Channel's exclusive rights to the Movie expired; these were quickly picked up by Starz, which aired the Film (apparently also with a European Spanish dub) numerous times on its various channel streams through until late 2005.
  • The Film has also aired on various other US terrestrial, cable and satellite stations, too many to try to catalogue all here.
  • There were several additional screenings in France during 2005, each on a different channel; the last known French screening was in 2010.
  • The Movie had its tenth and final showing on UK Gold on 29 October 2006.
  • As part of the series' 50th anniversary celebrations, the Movie was shown on the New Zealand satellite channel BBC UKTV on 13 August 2013 and again on 24 November 2013.
  • On 31 August 2013, BBC America screened the Movie as part of The Doctors Revisited series.
  • Since then it has been officially available on online platforms in only the UK: from 9 September 2014, it has been streaming on Netflix UK (here) (from 14 April 2015 it was also on Netflix Australia (here)). The only other UK site known to provide it is BritBox UK.

TV Movie on VHS / DVD

Between 1996 and 1999, the Movie was released in several countries as a rental or sell-through VHS, published by MCA/Universal/CIC Video, sometimes through a local manufacturer / distributor. Rental tapes were more common in foreign markets. Retail tapes are easy to identify because they have barcodes on the back of the sleeve.

The tapes were either (S)ubtitled or (D)ubbed. In most cases, the title was simply "Doctor Who" (using variations of the Movie's logo on the box cover), but some countries gave the Film an alternative cover title (see the merchandise sections in the relevant country profiles for cover slicks and further details).

Australian and NZ VHS cover

Tape released before shown on TV:

  • United Kingdom (also Woolworths, WH Smith exclusives, and an edition with Closed-Captioning; later released as a standard DVD [with various different packaging - such as a partwork edition], a 2-disc Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray all under the title Doctor Who The Movie)
  • Brazil (as O Senhor do Tempo) (S)
  • Czech Republic (as Boj S Časem) (D)
  • Finland (as 1999 Maailman Tuho) (S)
  • Italy (D) (planned DVD and Blu-ray release - as Doctor Who The Movie - was cancelled)
  • Japan (as Doctor Who ドクター・フー) (S)
  • Netherlands (S)

Tape released after shown on TV:

  • Australia / New Zealand (same tape was released in both countries; later released as a standard DVD, 2-disc Special Edition DVD and Blu-ray under the title Doctor Who The Movie)
  • Poland (as Doktor WHO) (Narration over UK audio)

Not shown on TV; released on tape only:

Intriguingly, in the German, Spanish, Hungarian and Czech tape dubs there are no Dalek voices in the pre-credits scene! Is this because there were rights restrictions regarding use of the Daleks on commercial releases so they had to be omitted from foreign editions? (Terry Nation died on 9 March 1997, so presumably the overseas rights had all been settled prior to his death.) Dalek voices (or at least some sort of modulated 'mechanical' equivalent) are present in all the known TV dubs of the Movie; the same foreign rights restrictions therefore did not apply to broadcast versions of the Film.

Of note, the Movie could not be sold on tape in the United States or Canada due to a conflict over the distribution rights: the worldwide VHS rights to the Film were held by Universal while the North American VHS rights to Doctor Who the TV series were owned by CBS/Fox Video; Universal therefore couldn't distribute tapes to a territory that it didn't have the exclusive rights to.

The rights issues were eventually resolved, and the 2-disc Special Edition DVD Doctor Who The Movie was released in North America on 8 February 2011. In 2013, the Movie was included in volume 2 of The Doctors Revisited DVD set.

"This is an ambulance!" - Various TV and VHS dubs - English, German, French, Italian, European Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech (VHS), Czech (TV), Hungarian

"Who am I?!" - Various TV and VHS Dubs - English, German, French, European Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese

"I always drezzzzz for the occasion..." - Various TV and VHS Dubs - English, German, French, Italian, European Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech (VHS), Hungarian


BBC intro

Fox US trailer

Canadian CHCH Channel 11 intro

Fox intro

Fox promo

Fox promo

BBC1 trailer

Fox promos