CBC Times

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The CBC Times was the official CBC program guide for their transmitters. Each time zone had its own edition; while the general content of each was (mostly) identical, the TV schedule pages were of course different.

Below are the covers for some of the regional editions for the week 23-29 January 1965, when Doctor Who made its debut.

CBC Times, Vancouver edition
CBC Times, Winnipeg/Prairie edition
CBC Times, Toronto edition

The CBC Times provided detailed episode titles and episode descriptions for each Doctor Who broadcast providing definitive proof as to which episode was aired on each date.

This information likely came from the press kits that were distributed to TV stations and newspapers with summaries provided by BBC Enterprises in Toronto. In addition to the plot summaries, the press kits included a number of promotional newspaper articles announcing the start of each new Doctor Who serial along with story details. These “stock” articles were carried by the Winnipeg Free Press, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Journal and St. John’s Evening Telegram. Samples of these articles can be found on the various sub-pages for our Canadian broadcast profile.

This was a fair amount of press exposure for a youth series which seems to indicate that the series was being heavily promoted by the CBC.

Introduction to Doctor Who

Unique to the Winnipeg/Prairie edition, page seven of the 23-29 January 1965 issue featured a full-page warning to viewers about a new series called Doctor Who. Issued by the CBC Head Office, this mock memo urged viewers to watch out for the Doctor, who may influence young minds. The article was illustrated with photo of William Hartnell and an image taken from The Sensorites — a story that was never aired by the CBC!

Will this man influence young minds? Introducing Dr Who; CBC Times, 23 January 1965

The full text from this article reads:

The CBC television network may fall under control of a scientific genius, Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. beginning January 23rd. Young viewers won’t mind -- they’ll be fascinated!
CBC Head Office, Ottawa.
IN PURSUANCE of its responsibilities to maintain a regular schedule and the proper exercise of control over its programming, the Corporation wishes to advise the public of a potentially alarming development concerning possible interruption of the television schedule this week by forces beyond the Corporation’s control. This warning is directed in particular to parents of young children who are most likely to be affected by this development.
Recently the Corporation received a communiqué from a certain Dr. Who announcing his intention of using the micro-wave network each Saturday at 5:00 p.m. from January 23rd onwards in order to communicate directly with the children of Canada. It was at first thought that Dr. Who, who claims to be a time-traveller, was merely an eccentric, but security checks by the RCMP revealed that Dr. Who is indeed a bona-fide voyager through the space-time continuum and quite capable of utilizing facilities for his own ends. He has already brought off just such a coup in Great Britain, using the national television service of the BBC. The most brilliant electronics experts of that august body were unable to prevent the doctor [sic] from manipulating the air-waves to extend his dominion over young minds. The result is that today thousands of the children are literally spellbound by this mysterious person.
What is particularly insidious about his power is the benign appearance of Dr. Who. One would think him a charming old gentleman in his 70s, a trifle odd perhaps and quaintly dressed, but quite incapable of transporting himself and his young companions backwards and forwards in time at will. In fact he is several millennia old and the master-designer of the Tardis, a fantastic vehicle outwardly resembling those blue-painted police telephone kiosks that are a feature of the British metropolitan landscape. Within are the control panels that enable the doctor [sic] to perform his incredible feats. These often prove incredible to the doctor [sic] himself, who has been known to misplace a decimal point or two and end up in the wrong century.
Unless a major break-through in electronics is achieved by CBC engineers in the immediate future, the Corporation regrets it may be powerless to check the usurpation of the network by Dr. Who.
Will this man influence young minds?
The caption under the Sensorites photo reads: “Among the strange creatures viewers will be exposed to are the Sensorites”.

Other coverage

Change to Wednesdays; Program Notes, CBC Times, 14 April 1965

The CBC Times, along with other newspapers, posted an article announcing the change in schedule for the series from Saturdays to Wednesdays, starting 14 April 1965. This appeared in the "Program Notes" section of the edition that covered 14 April 1965. That same issue also carried a small blurb for episode 7 of The Daleks.

A curious anomaly is the press release announcing the start of the Marco Polo serial as posted in newspapers such as the Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Journal, St. John’s Evening Telegram, etc. is that the start date for Marco Polo (Serial D) was 21 April 1965 where in fact it was 5 May 1965. It was the two-part serial Inside the Spaceship (Serial C) that began on 21 April 1965. It is almost as if the CBC program planners were treating the two serials as one long 9-part story!

Indeed, near the end of part 2 of the Inside the Spaceship serial the TARDIS lands on the Pamir plateau; the crew dresses for the cold and Susan and Barbara begin to scout the area. One could easily confuse the two serials being in fact one story. In any event, the Inside the Spaceship / Marco Polo serials lie between The Daleks and The Keys of Marinus serials and the start date for those two serials as listed in their press releases coincide exactly with the dates for the episode synopses from the CBC Times and other newspapers.

The idea that serials C and D were treated as one story is inferred by the 21 April 1965 episode synopsis published by the US TV Guide Lake Ontario Edition:

"The Edge of Destruction." The damaged Tardis lands in central Asia, and Dr. Who and his friends are captured by a Tartar warlord. Dr. Who: William Hartnell. Susan: Carole Ann Ford. Ian: William Russell. Barbara: Jacqueline Hill. Marco Polo: Mark Eden. Kublai Khan: Martin Miller. Tegana: Derren Nesbitt.

The episode title "The Edge of Destruction" is for episode C1 but the synopsis appears to be an introduction for serial D (Marco Polo).

Full listings from CBC Times

The CBC Times provided full synopses that are worth reproducing in full.

CBC Times billing for the first episode (the page 13 article is probably that which actually appeared on page 7, see above)
Sample of listing from CBC Times: Marco Polo Episode 2 with incorrect billing

The full set of listings below are those for station CBLT Toronto channel 6 (Episode B5 has a question mark next to it as the CBC Times does not provide detailed info but the regional US TV Guide for that same week clearly identifies the episode as B5 (see note below):

No Date Day Time Ep Episode Synopsis
1 23 Jan 1965 Sat 17:00 A1 5:00 DOCTOR WHO? A new science fiction series about the amazing Doctor Who, an exile from another world, and his granddaughter Susan, a strange mixture of teenage normality and uncanny intelligence. Today: An Unearthly Child (see story on page 13 of this issue)
2 30 Jan 1965 Sat 17:00 A2 5:00 DOCTOR WHO? A new science fiction series about the amazing Doctor Who, an exile from another world, and his granddaughter Susan. The Cave of Skulls Doctor Who transports Ian, Barbara, Susan and himself back through time where they are taken prisoner by a nomadic tribe
3 13 Feb 1965 Sat 17:00 A3 5:00 DR. WHO A science fiction series about the amazing Dr. Who, an exile from another world, and his granddaughter Susan. The Forest of Fear After being captured by a Palaeolithic tribe who have lost the secret of fire, Dr. Who and company become involved in a struggle for the tribe's leadership
4 20 Feb 1965 Sat 17:00 A4 5:00 DR. WHO A science fiction series about the amazing Dr. Who, an exile from another world, and his granddaughter Susan. The Firemaker. Dr. Who and his friends find that their situation is becoming desperate; the tribe blames them for the loss of life-giving fire
5 27 Feb 1965 Sat 17:00 B1 5:00 DR. WHO A science fiction series about the amazing Dr. Who, an exile from another world, and his granddaughter Susan. The Dead Planet Dr. Who and his ship arrive on a planet in a distant galaxy where all vegetation has been petrified by what Dr. Who thinks must have been a neutron explosion
6 6 Mar 1965 Sat 17:00 B2 5:00 DR. WHO The Survivors Dr. Who, his niece, and their two friends find themselves at the mercy of the Daleks, the survivors of a neutron war that took place 500 years before
7 13 Mar 1965 Sat 17:00 B3 5:00 DR. WHO The Escape Ian devises a clever way of infiltrating the ranks of their captors and thus plots their escape
8 20 Mar 1965 Sat 17:00 B4 5:00 DR. WHO The Ambush Pursued by the Daleks, the Earthlings manage to escape back to their ship. Ian warns the Thals of an armed attack from the Daleks, but in his panic loses an important part of the ship
9 27 Mar 1965 Sat 17:00 B5? 5:00 DR. WHO A science fiction series about the amazing Dr. Who, an exile from another world, and his granddaughter Susan
10 3 Apr 1965 Sat 17:00 B6 5:00 DR. WHO A science fiction series about the amazing Dr. Who, an exile from another world, and his granddaughter Susan. The Ordeal Ian Chesterton and his party enter the narrow passages and caves leading to the city of the dreaded Daleks.
11 14 Apr 1965 Wed 17:00 B7 5:00 DR. WHO The Rescue Dr. Who unsuccessfully tries to bribe the dreaded Daleks with his ship, the Tardis. Just when all seems lost The Thals break into the city and cut off the Daleks' power
12 21 Apr 1965 Wed 17:00 C1 5:00 DR. WHO The Edge of Destruction Dr. Who, his grand-daughter Susan and the two teachers, Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton, get into difficulty as the space ship, Tardis, behaves in an erratic manner
13 28 Apr 1965 Wed 17:00 C2 5:00 DR. WHO The Brink of Disaster Doctor Who suspects Ian and Barbara of sabotaging the space ship, but before he can take steps to eject them Tardis lands on a snow covered plateau
14 5 May 1965 Wed 17:00 D1 5:00 DR. WHO The Roof Of The World Doctor Who, his granddaughter Susan and their two reluctant passengers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, land in Central Asia on the Pamir Plateau, the roof of the world
15 12 May 1965 Wed 17:00 D2 5:00 DR. WHO The Singing Sands The space travellers visit a strange cave with 500 eyes carved on the walls. They learn the origin of the carving but Barbara is caught by a band known as the Assassins
16 19 May 1965 Wed 17:00 D3 5:00 DR. WHO Five Hundred Eyes The desert travellers Doctor Who, his grand-daughter Susan, Ian and Barbara, visit a strange cave where 500 eyes are carved on the walls
17 26 May 1965 Wed 17:00 D4 5:00 DR. WHO The Wall Of Lies Marco Polo is tricked into capturing the space ship Tardis thinking Doctor Who and his friends to be bandits
18 2 Jun 1965 Wed 17:00 D5 5:00 DR. WHO Rider From Shang-Tu Marco Polo's caravan is attacked by Mongol bandits but they soon disperse when the raiders' leader is killed by the Mongol warlord Tegana. Tegana plans to steal the spaceship Tardis
19 9 Jun 1965 Wed 17:00 D6 5:00 DR. WHO The Mighty Kublai Khan Doctor Who, his granddaughter Susan, and their two passengers Ian and Barbara, are introduced to the mighty ruler Kublai Khan
20 16 Jun 1965 Wed 17:00 D7 5:00 Dr. Who Assassin At Peking Mongol Warlord Tegana tries to kill Ian Chesterton and the pretty Ping-cho. Doctor Who finally wins the friendship of the mighty Kublai Khan as well as the keys to his spaceship Tardis
21 23 Jun 1965 Wed 17:00 E1 5:00 Dr. Who The Sea Of Death Dr. Who leaves earth in the 13th Century and travels far into the future to the planet Marinus. A scientist, Arbitan, forces the Doctor and his friends to go in search of four keys; vital parts of a machine which controls the planet. Arbitan is murdered by a Voord enemy
22 28 Jun 1965 Mon 17:00 E2 5:00 DR. WHO The Velvet Web In their search for the missing keys of the machine that controls the planet Marinus, Dr. Who and his friends find a city called Morphoton
23 29 Jun 1965 Tue 17:00 E3 5:00 DOCTOR WHO (a) The Screaming Jungle Dr. Who and his friends discover a dense jungle and a biologist named Darius. The biologist's experiments have upset the balance of nature causing the jungle vegetation to grow wild and consume everything in its way
24 30 Jun 1965 Wed 17:00 E4 5:00 DR. WHO (a) The Snow of Terror While travelling in a snow covered country, Dr. Who and his friends are tricked into giving up their travelling wrist dials, which are their only means of escape
25 1 Jul 1965 Thu 17:00 E5 5:00 DOCTOR WHO (a) The Sentence of Death Ian Chesterton is accused of murdering a citizen from a place called Millenius
26 2 Jul 1965 Fri 17:00 E6 5:00 DOCTOR WHO (a) The Keys of Marinus Ian is sentenced to die. Doctor Who soon realizes that the plotters against Ian are anxious to get the missing keys to the machine that controls the planet


Listing from CBC Times for the final episode to air, The Keys of Marinus
  • The small (a) after the title in the last four billings indicates that affiliates may carry different programming. (Programmes listed are seen on all CBC network stations unless otherwise noted. Letter (a) indicates a program available to privately owned network stations but not necessarily being carried by all of them.)
  • The 27 March 1965 listing does not provide enough information to identify the episode. However, we know it must be episode B5 as the prior episode is B4 and the next episode is B6.
  • Indeed, the Lake Ontario Edition of the US TV Guide clearly identified the 27 March 1965 episode as B5:
"The Expedition." Dr. Who and his friends ask the Thals to help them attack the Daleks. Susan: Carole Ann Ford. Ian: William Russell.
  • The 12 May 1965 episode has the correct title, “The Singing Sands” but the synopsis is for the next episode “Five Hundred Eyes”. The same plot description is used the following week for the correct episode.

Other publications

Quite surprisingly, for what was perceived as a youth program, several newspapers also published detailed episode synopses including TV Guide, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Journal, Sudbury Star and Halifax Chronicle-Herald. All of these newspapers must have been working from a common press kit as the episodes synopses match that of the CBC Times listings but sometimes have additional details.

For example, the CBC Times write-up for Marco Polo episode one for 5 May 1965 was:

5:00 DR. WHO The Roof Of The World Doctor Who, his granddaughter Susan and their two reluctant passengers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, land in Central Asia on the Pamir Plateau, the roof of the world

The Ottawa Journal/Ottawa Citizen/Sudbury Star write-up for episode one was very much the same except it included an extra sentence at the end:

While searching for food they meet the Tartar war lord Tegana who takes them to the camp of Marco Polo.

The TV Guide Lake Ontario Edition synopsis for Marco Polo one on 5 May 1965 was reworded for compactness:

"The Roof of the World." Dr. Who and his passengers search for food on the Pamir Plateau in Central Asia. Dr. Who: William Hartnell. Susan: Carole Ann Ford. Ian: William Russell.