Australia TX 1976-1982

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Block 9: PERTWEE / T BAKER ---- March 1976 to September 1976

Planet of the Spiders part two; Melbourne, 4 June 1976
First Run ZZZ----4A----4B----4C

After a long eight month break with no holiday repeats, the series returned with the final Jon Pertwee story, ZZZ, and the first three Tom Baker serials, which screened in production order, screening on different days of the week in each region, usually at 6.00pm.

By this time, the ABC had been receiving complaints from viewers about the "endless" repeats, and decided to pull the series from the schedules early, despite having already purchased the next two serials, 4E and 4D, and had a further two, 4F and 4H, classified by the censors.

On learning about the ABC's decision, a group of fans staged a demonstration and protest outside the ABC's Sydney office on 24 August 1976; as a result of this action, the ABC relented, and scheduled the remaining purchased Tom Baker serials for the following year. It was as a direct result of the demonstration that the first Australian Doctor Who Fan Club was formally established.

  • HOBART: Sundays, commencing with ZZZ on 7 March 1976, and concluding on 20 June 1976, with 4C.
  • SYDNEY and CANBERRA: ZZZ also started on Sunday, 7 March 1976, ending 11 April 1976. Tom Baker debuted in New South Wales on Friday, 23 April 1976, and the run ended on 25 June 1976
  • BRISBANE: For the first two weeks, the series air four days, Monday through Thursdays, from Monday, 19 April to Tuesday, 4 May 1976, before switching to weekly on Saturdays, from 15 May 1976 to 19 June 1976.
  • MELBOURNE: The run started from Friday, 28 May 1976 with ZZZ, which ended on 2 July 1976. After an eight week break, the Tom Baker era commenced, from Sunday, 29 August 1976, and this came to an end on 31 October 1976 (although there was no billing for it on that day; presumably a printing error rather than an indication that it was pre-empted and never rescheduled.)
  • ADELAIDE: There were no screenings of Doctor Who at all in ADELAIDE during 1976. It wasn't until Sunday, 27 March 1977, that ADELAIDE caught up with the rest of the country by airing this Block of new episodes, starting with ZZZ, weekly on Sundays, through to 4C part four on 10 July 1977. Because they were lagging behind, ADELAIDE was able to schedule the next Block of episodes to follow on without interruption.

(NOTE: We do not have full dates of this Block for PERTH or DARWIN.)

Block 10: T BAKER ---- April 1977 to November 1977

"Dr Who new series", 4.40pm (Revenge of the Cybermen, part one), 12 June 1977 (Sydney)
First Run 4E----4D
Repeats UUU----XXX----YYY----ZZZ

The remaining two season 12 serials that had been purchased before the ABC dropped the series were scheduled from April 1977, screening on Sundays in all regions, at 4.40pm or 5.35pm.

  • HOBART: From 3 April 1977 to 26 June 1977, followed by repeats of UUU through to ZZZ on a weekly basis, to 23 October 1977.
  • BRISBANE: From 24 April 1977 to 5 June 1977, followed by repeats of UUU through to YYY on a weekly basis (albeit with some episodes pre-empted), to 30 October 1977. There were no listings to indicate that ZZZ was repeated in BRISBANE. However on 7 December 1977, a generic listing of programming "For the Juniors", which ran for five hours (from 1.30 to 6.30pm), is given as a replacement for cancelled cricket on that date.
  • SYDNEY: From 1 May 1977 to 3 July 1977, followed by repeats of UUU through to ZZZ on a weekly basis (with the odd pre-emption during the screening of YYY), through to 25 November 1977.
  • ADELAIDE: ADELAIDE's delay in screening the last Block of stories enabled them to screen the new Block straight away, from 17 July 1977 until 25 September 1977, followed by repeats of UUU and XXX only.

Of note, the weekly repeats of these last few Pertwee episodes was the last time that Doctor Who aired on a weekly basis only; from 1977 until 1987, the series would always only air on weekdays, mostly on a daily basis.

(NOTE: We have no transmission dates of these serials for the other regions.)

Block 11: T BAKER (PERTWEE) ---- February 1978 to November 1978

Pre-empted listing for The Brain of Morbius, 7 March 1978 (Perth)
First Run 4F----4H----4G----4J----4M----4L----4N----4Q----4R----4S----TTT----4K
Repeats 4A----4B----AAA----KKK----PPP----RRR----UUU----XXX----YYY----ZZZ----4A----4B----4C----4E----4D----4F----4G----4H----4J----4L----4M----4N----4Q----4R----4S

In early 1978, a change of policy within the ABC saw the decision to not purchase any more Doctor Who overturned; the station purchased the remaining season 13 serials plus season 14, and scheduled them as one block.

Two serials, 4K and 4P, were given "A" classifications, and therefore did not screen. However, by the time the censors' decision had been disclosed to the ABC, the station had already notified some newspapers and listings publications that 4K was screening (as seen in this example here from a Perth TV magazine); in most regions 4M was substituted in place of 4K.

The run of new Tom Baker stories was followed by a limited run of Jon Pertwee serials, most of which would be broadcast in colour for the first time. Only a handful existed in their entirety as PAL colour video tapes. (It is thought that some of these colour tapes were sourced from the Middle East, possibly United Arab Emirates.) (According to the BBC in London, QQQ only existed in black and white, so the serial was being offered as such; neither the BBC nor the ABC was aware that the PAL colour tapes that had been supplied to the ABC in 1973 were still held at their Bond Store!)

It would appear that the extended version of PPP part two aired during this run. (The same extended episode had been seen in New Zealand in 1975, and was used again for the 1979 Australian repeat, but for the 1983 and subsequent repeats, the standard BBC version was probably used.)

The ABC sought to have TTT reclassified to enable them to air one further story in colour; it was given a "G" rating, which overrode the original "A" rating that had prevented it from screening in 1973.

  • PERTH, SYDNEY, CANBERRA, MELBOURNE, BRISBANE, ADELAIDE and HOBART: Seven regions commenced the new episodes simultaneously, starting with 4F, screening four nights a week, from Tuesday, 7 February 1978, at 6.30pm. BRISBANE also started the series on the same day, but only three times a week, skipping the Friday episodes, putting Queensland out of sync with the rest of the country. Newspapers announced that 4K would screen the week after 4J, but the "A" rated serial was replaced with 4M, which was brought forward in story order. With the screenings now out of sync, and the tapes of the next few serials not received or cleared by the censors, the ABC scheduled repeats of 4A and 4B between 4L and 4N in March 1978. Some newspapers advertised 4P to follow 4N, but the "A" rated serial was usually replaced with 4Q.
  • MELBOURNE fell out of step by one day due to no episode airing 27 March 1978.
Brain of Morbius compilation, in Adelaide only, 1 October 1978
  • SYDNEY and HOBART: The run of now-colour Jon Pertwee repeats commenced from Friday, 5 May 1978 in these two regions, with BRISBANE starting the run from Monday, 29 May 1978. TTT debuted from 30 May 1978. The re-run of Pertwees was followed by a complete run of the Tom Bakers, from 4A again through to 4S, with 4M screening in its correct position, but with 4G and 4H screening this time in production order. The run concluded on 11 October 1978 in SYDNEY; 12 October 1978 in HOBART; 8 November in ADELAIDE; and prematurely with 4R part four on 28 November 1978 in BRISBANE.
  • ADELAIDE: On Wednesday, 11 October 1978, at 8.30pm, the 60 minute edited compilation of 4K screened for the first time but only in ADELAIDE. (It would not screen in other regions until January 1980…)

(NOTE: We do not have many clear transmission dates for PERTH and HOBART from this point on; with the occasional pre-emption aside, those regional screenings would have mostly mirrored those of the regions that are noted.)

Block 12: T BAKER ---- February 1979 to October 1979

First Run 4V----4T----4X----4W----4Y----4Z----5A----5B----5C----5D----5E----5F
Repeats AAA----KKK----PPP----RRR----TTT----UUU----XXX----YYY----ZZZ----4A----4B----4C----4E----4D----4F----4G----4H----4J----4L----4M
Sydney Morning Herald, 19 February 1979

From 1979 onwards, the ABC was virtually fully unified across the country, with the same episodes screening across all regions, albeit allowing for the two hour difference between coasts. The odd regional variance would generally occur around coverage of local sports events. However, from this point on, this overview will no longer cover these regional variances.

  • From 2 to 15 February 1979, Tom Baker visited Australia on a publicity tour. It was during this visit that a series of promotional videos using the slogan "Keep Australia Beautiful" were recorded, as well as television interviews.

  • From Monday, 19 February 1979 to Wednesday, 23 May 1979, seasons 15 and 16 aired back to back, four nights per week (not Fridays). There was an interruption during February or March 1979 in some regions, with a full week gap between episodes one and two of 4Z.
  • From Thursday, 24 May 1979, there was another repeat run of the colour Jon Pertwee stories, followed by Tom Bakers from 4A to 4M only, concluding in each region by the end of October 1979.
  • MELBOURNE fell out of sync a few times, due to sports coverage. Most of the regions ended simultaneously on 24 October 1979, whereas Victoria ended the run on 30 October.

Block 13: T BAKER ---- January 1980 to October 1980

The Brain of Morbius Omnibus edition, 24 January 1980 (Sydney Morning Herald)
The Brain of Morbius Omnibus edition, 24 January 1980 (Melbourne Age)
First Run 5J----5H----5G----5K----5L
Repeats 4K----4A----4B----4C----4D----4E----4F----4H----4V----4T----4X----4W----4Y----4Z----5A----5B----5C----5D----5E----5F----5J----5H----5G----5K----5L----4G----4J----4L----4M

The ABC explored the possibility of acquiring from the United States NTSC colour tapes of other Jon Pertwee stories, however months after their initial enquiry they were informed that the tapes had already been wiped!

Screen grabs of Pr1me Computer ads
  • On Thursday, 24 January 1980, at 9.30pm, the 60 minute edited compilation of 4K screened for the first time in all regions, and repeated in ADELAIDE.
  • A month later, from Monday, 18 February 1980, the new season started, again screening four nights a week, at 6.30pm. The fourth part of 5L aired 20 March 1980.
  • Tom Baker undertook a second promotional tour of Australia from 27 February 1980.
  • The following week, a further run of repeats, starting with 4A, getting only as far as 4H, after which, from 12 May 1980, came repeats of 4V through to 5L, only six months after the initial screening. It was then back to season 13 again, with 4G from 15 September, with the run ending at 4M on 14 October 1980, in SYDNEY and BRISBANE. In MELBOURNE and HOBART the run ended two days later, on 16 October 1980; at least two episodes would have been pre-empted at some stage to push those two regions out of sync.


It was during late 1980 / early 1981 that a series of television commercials for Pr1me Computers aired on Australian television. The four ads featuring Tom Baker and Lalla Ward were filmed during the recording of season 18. These did not play on the non-commercial station, ABC. The ads also aired in New Zealand in mid-1981.

Block 14: T BAKER / DAVISON ---- March 1982 to December 1982

The "New Face" Peter Davison, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 April 1982
First Run 5N----5Q----5R----5P----5S----5T----5V----5Z----5W----5Y----5X----6A----6B----6C
Repeats 4N----4M----4C----4E----4D----4F----4H----4G----4J----4L----4Q----4R----4S----4V----4T----4X----4W----4Y----4Z

There were no screenings at all in 1981, mainly due to further complaints about the number of repeats of the same early Tom Baker serials over and over (for instance, by this time 4A had already aired five times). Although they had purchased the bulk of Tom Baker's final season in early 1981, the ABC decided to delay screening them, instead choosing to wait until Peter Davison's first season was available, and airing the two back to back.

  • Tom Baker's final season commenced on Monday, 8 March 1982, at 6.30pm. In HOBART, the season commenced the following day, placing that region out of sync with the rest of the country by one day for the full run.
  • ADELAIDE was a day late getting part one of 5T on 13 April 1982, putting them out of step by one day as well.
  • Peter Davison made his Australian debut on Monday, 26 April 1982, a matter of four months after his arrival on British screens.
  • MELBOURNE then aired 6C parts three and four back to back on 8 June 1982 in order to catch up, having pre-empted the series on 12 April 1982.
  • From 9 June 1982, the day after part four of 6C, a run of regional repeats commenced, mainly to accommodate coverage of the football World Cup. To begin with, only SYDNEY and BRISBANE saw two episodes back to back of 4N, picking up from where the October 1980 repeat had ended. This was followed a few weeks later by 4M, again with two episodes back to back. (ADELAIDE may have had all four episodes back to back.) This was followed by 4C, screening two episodes back to back across two days nation-wide. The rest of season 12 and 13 aired Mondays to Thursdays, then a jump to 4Q; after 4R part four on Thursday, 23 September 1982, the TV schedules were dominated by coverage of the Commonwealth Games for the next two weeks.
  • The repeats resumed from 11 October 1982 with 4S through to 4W, with some regions then skipping 4Y, and the run ended with 4Z in early December.

Table of Airdates in Australia
1965-66 | 1966-67 | 1967-71 | 1971-75 | 1976-78 | 1979-82 | 1983-85 | 1985-90 | 1991-2002 | 2003-(2020s)






Key: BOLD = first airing | ITALICS = repeat (TABLE OF REPEATS IS HERE)

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