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CKVU (Vancouver) (1976-1983)

Channel Profile

Vancouver-based station CKVU was launched on Sunday, 4 September 1976, with its first broadcast going out at 4.00pm. It was on UHF Channel 21, and was also available on cable Channel 13. Newspaper listings identified it under both numbers.

Both CKVU and TVO commenced regular broadcasts of Doctor Who on the same day – Saturday, 18 September 1976, however TVO's screening were at 7.30pm, whereas CKVU's were at 10.00am, making CKVU the first Canadian television station to screen Doctor Who since CBC in 1965.

Stories bought and broadcast


A week ahead of the regular screenings of Doctor Who, CKVU screened the Peter Cushing movie, "Dr Who and the Daleks" on Saturday, 11 September 1976, from 10.00 to 11.30am.

It screened again, on Sunday 5 December 1976, from 3.30 to 5pm.

(This wasn't the first time since 1965 that the Daleks had been seen on TV in Canada. The BBC's long-running series Vision On (1964 to 1976) was a regular feature on some of the US PBS stations in the 1970s - and may also have been shown on CBC around that same time (we haven't been able to find the TV listings in any Canadian newspapers to be sure). The Daleks appeared on one episode from late 1973 performing "the Dance of the Daleks"; this particular episode may have been shown on CBC.)


In the DWAS publication TARDIS issue Volume 8 / Number 1 (c. March 1983), Canadian fan Dean Shewring wrote an overview of Doctor Who in Canada, saying: "CKVU an independent TV station in Vancouver, British Columbia has also been showing Jon Pertwee serials (including The Green Death, Inferno and The Claws of Axos). However they have been broadcast with episodes out of sequence and with major gaps for sports and other shows between some of the serials."

In DWM issue #102 (July 1985), Shewring wrote that "CKVU, an independent TV station in Vancouver, British Columbia ... ran a small selection of Jon Pertwee stories over a four-year period during the late seventies and early eighties."

On the DOCTOR WHO MEET UP GROUP BLOG, Canadian fan Ray Seredin says: "I have been a fan of Doctor Who since September 1979, when as a thirteen year old I [became] hooked on the series [with the] Jon Pertwee story Inferno while it was airing on CKVU Saturday mornings."

From BBC Records, the following Pertwee stories were the only ones to have been purchased and aired by CKVU:

Dr Who and the Daleks; Times Colonist, 10 September 1976
Generic listing from Vancouver Sun

14 stories, 73 episodes:

GGG The Claws of Axos 4
MMM The Curse of Peladon 4
KKK Day of the Daleks 4
NNN The Mutants 6
RRR The Three Doctors 4
UUU The Time Warrior 4
LLL The Sea Devils 6
HHH Colony in Space 6
OOO The Time Monster 6
DDD Inferno 7
XXX Death to the Daleks 4
TTT The Green Death 6
YYY The Monster of Peladon 6
ZZZ Planet of the Spiders 6

CKVU therefore bought parts of GROUPs A, B and D, and all of GROUPs C and E of the Jon Pertwee stories.

(The stories have been tabled above based on the order in which they were "sold" between February 1977 and March 1978 according to BBC sales documentation, and which may also reflect to some degree the screening order.)

The programme was supplied as NTSC colour video tapes with English soundtracks.

CKVU bought the same package of eleven serials / 54 episodes that TVOntario had in 1976 and 1977, but also acquired three additional serials (19 episodes) that were not picked up by TVO -- Inferno, Colony in Space and The Sea Devils.

The three additional serials had all recently had their seven-year sales windows renewed by the BBC, which is the likely reason for why they and no other Season 7, 8 and 9 serials were on offer at this time.

According to BBC records, The Claws of Axos and The Mutants were purchased with two screenings each, while The Curse of Peladon and Day of the Daleks had just one (although we doubt that CKVU adhered to that condition, as we shall see below!). All the stories of the second batch were purchased with three transmissions each.

Dr Who and the Daleks; Vancouver Sun, 11 September 1976

There were 10 Pertwee serials that CKVU did not acquire: Spearhead from Space was only available on film so was never offered to them. Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks and Invasion of the Dinosaurs had colour tapes missing, so could not be fully converted into NTSC. The Mind of Evil and The Daemons were probably not available because of ongoing issues stemming from the Australian censorship decisions affecting other Commonwealth countries. The other six -- Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Ambassadors of Death, Terror of the Autons, Carnival of Monsters -- were not acquired because TVOntario instead purchased Tom Baker stories for their third batch of episodes.

While CKVU would have had the option to acquire more Pertwees as well as the Bakers, they did not take up the offer; the 14 Pertwees they did purchase were the only episodes of Doctor Who that CKVU screened.

Some of these same fourteen stories aired on other Canadian stations:

Origins of the Tapes?

The sale would have been completed by the BBC's office in Toronto. CKVU was able to purchase the same episodes that TVOntario had; they would have therefore received dubs from the same tapes supplied to TVO.

The three additional serials that CKVU acquired would have been supplied (via BBC Toronto?) from Time-Life. (The tapes of Inferno may have been the same ones that had been shown on Qube in Ohio; that serial last played there in January 1979…)

From January 1981 through to January 1983 (see below), CKVU repeated most of if not all their Pertwees again. By then, Time-Life had stopped operating as the BBC's US distributor, and had disposed of all their master tapes.

While there is nothing solid to indicate that it did happen this way, it is possible that for this repeat run only CKVU was supplied with what remained of Time-Life's original masters for the stories that CKVU had the rights to, which would explain why the tapes that were recovered a few years later were in such good condition.


Dr Who and the Daleks; Vancouver Sun, 11 September 1976
Dr Who and the Daleks preview; Vancouver Sun, 11 September 1976
"Dr Who and the Deleks" (sic), 90 minutes?; Vancouver Express, 25 September 1976
Dr Who and the Inferno, 17 February 1979; Times Colonist
The Green Death ep1, 24 March 1979; Times Colonist
Death to the Daleks (possibly an error?) on 20 October 1979; Times Colonist
Day of the Daleks, 24 November 1979; Times Colonist


After an eleven year gap, Doctor Who returned to Canada, skipping the entire Patrick Troughton era, and starting with Jon Pertwee.

A week after the 11 September 1976 screening of the Peter Cushing film "Dr Who and the Daleks", CKVU commenced regular weekly broadcasts of the Doctor Who series, from Saturday, 18 September 1976, at 10.00am. (TV Ontario also commenced regular weekly screenings on this same day, but in the later timeslot of 7.30pm, so CKVU became the first of the two stations to screen the Pertwee run.)

The first billing -- given as "Dr Who and the Daleks Contd" [sic] -- was for 10.00 to 11.00am, but the following week it was 10.00 to 11.30am (which is probably an error). The next six were 10.00 to 11.00am. Presumably these hour-long slots were two episodes back to back. From 30 October 1976 through to the end of the run the slot was for only half an hour, 10.30 to 11.00am.

On Sunday, 5 December 1976, from 3.30 to 5pm, the first Peter Cushing Dalek movie was shown again.

Precisely when this run ended is uncertain, since the papers we looked at all differed: some did not have any further listings after the repeat of the Cushing film, whereas the Vancouver Sun had billings for both 11 and 18 December, while The Province had a further listing on 25 December.

Since the first block of stories purchased by CKVU was only 18 episodes, and 18 slots comfortably sit between the 18 September to 4 December date range, we feel certain that 4 December was the last episode, and the three subsequent listings are publishing errors.

Taking into account what the BBC sales paperwork tells us, and the order in which the stories were "sold", we're leaning towards this run starting off with The Claws of Axos, Day of the Daleks and The Curse of Peladon, all shown two episodes back to back each week, but not necessarily in that specific order -- in fact with the first listing being "Dr Who and the Daleks Cont" [sic] might mean that Day of the Daleks played first, and was seen as the continuation of the first Peter Cushing Dalek movie. The final six half-hour slots could have been The Mutants.

After a seven month break, the series returned on Saturday, 9 July 1977, in half hour slots at 10.30am. The slot changed to 10.00am for four weeks from 17 September 1977. For 8 October "Dr Who" occupied the full 'grid' in Vancouver Sun and The Province, making the timeslot a full hour, 10.00 to 11.00am, but some of the other papers we checked only had the slot as the usual 10am half hour. We feel sure that an hour slot is an error. From 15 October the slot moved back to 10.30am till the end of the run.

The final episode aired on 5 November 1977. (The Province was the only paper to have a further episode on 12 November, but this was probably an error.) Since this run was also 18 weeks, this was probably a repeat of the same 18 episodes that had aired in 1976. Alternatively, it was a new set of three 6-parters, or one 6-parter and three 4-parters.

All the British Columbia papers we had access to were checked for 1978, but there were no billings at all for "Dr Who" for the entire year, so we fell sure that there were no further episodes.

The next clear billing for the series was on Saturday, 10 February 1979, at 9am. In a surprising but very welcome move, starting with the 17 February listing, the Times Colonist started printing story titles!

The first of these, "Dr Who and the Inferno" [sic], was given four times until 17 March, with The Green Death (Part 1) on 24 March, (Part 2) for 31 March and (Part 3) on 7 April, now at 10.30am. To fit all seven episodes of Inferno into this run ahead of The Green Death, the series must have commenced on 3 February, but none of the papers we checked had listings on that date, so presumably it must have been a late change to the schedule.

(As noted above, the tapes of Inferno may have come from the Ohio station Qube, which had aired it for the final time only a week earlier…)

The last clear listing for the series was that on 14 April 1979, but since that would have been part 4 of The Green Death, there should have been at least two more listings after that, but the newspapers had the variety Saturday Show listed instead. (This supports Dean Shewring's comments that episodes were played out of sequence and with major gaps.)

With many of the archived newspapers either missing their TV sections, or the printed schedules only started from 10am, we could not find any further listings until 15 September 1979.

From this date, the series aired at 9am in a half hour slot. For 13 October, The Province had a full hour - 9am to 10am. While this may have been an error, it's possible it was actually correct, since Times Colonist started printing story titles again, and to make sense of these there must have been two episodes back to back at some point.

Times Colonist has "Death of the Daleks" [sic] on 20 October, then the next four listings say "The Inferno" [sic], followed by Day of the Daleks for the next three weeks. The last episode of the block, on 15 December 1979, was not titled, but would presumably have been the last episode of that Dalek 4-parter.

To make sense of this, we have to assume that the solitary listing for "Death of the Daleks" on 20 October is wrong, and that Inferno actually aired on that date; it's far more likely for a newspaper to misprint one title rather than four subsequent ones. And with 13 October being apparently one hour, if two episodes of Inferno played on that date, what we get is this: the run opened with Death to the Daleks from 15 September to 6 October, followed by Inferno part 1 and part 2 on 13 October (filling the hour slot), then the next five episodes of that 7-parter from 20 October to 17 November (the listing for Death to the Daleks on 20 October being an error). The third and last serial of the run was Day of the Daleks.

Inferno and Day of the Daleks were repeats (although CKVU had apparently purchased only a single screening of the latter story!). And depending on what was shown in the July to November 1977 block above, Death to the Daleks was either a first showing or also a repeat.

You will recall from earlier that Canadian fan Ray Seredin remembers seeing Inferno on Saturday mornings in September 1979. If our extrapolation of the above data is correct, he is 'out' by a month, and it was actually in October to November 1979 that he saw this serial.

Listings for "Dr Who" return seven months later, on 13 July 1980 - now on Sundays at 10am. Eight weeks later, from 6 September 1980, it shifted back to Saturdays, still at 10am. We might assume that two 4-parters aired those eight Sundays. The run concluded on 22 November 1980. 20 episodes had been broadcast; none had story titles.

Accordingly to this COMMENT on an old "rec.arts.drwho" forum, one of the serials played in this run may have been The Green Death, which the poster recalls seeing on a Saturday in September 1980 at (he thinks) 8.30am. That timeslot is incorrect, since the series never aired at 8.30am in 1980 - but it did at 8am in 1982, so maybe this memory is 'out' by two years?

If this anecdote is true, then the 20 episode run consisted of two 4-parters and two 6-parters, possibly in that order - with the first 6-parter being The Green Death?

The series took a break for two months, resuming on Saturday, 31 January 1981, at 9.30am. Then, from 8 August 1981, the slot moved to the later time of 11.30am, where it remained until 11 September 1982, when it moved to the earliest time the series had aired - 8am - where it stayed until the final episode on 1 January 1983.

There was a handful of weeks in early 1981 where the newspapers were either missing, or the published TV listings didn't have programmes prior to 10am, so there may have been the odd week when an episode didn't air, but from start to finish, this run spanned 101 weeks, just shy of two full years!

This repeat run would have been still playing when Dean Shewring wrote to the DWAS, and since, as he noted, there were often pre-emptions for sports, some of the billed screenings in this and the previous blocks may also have been pre-empted. But presumably most - if not all - of the 73 episodes acquired by CKVU were repeated in this run, with no more than 28 of them also being played for a second time, making up to 101 weeks.

(And as noted above, some of these screenings may have been from the master tapes acquired from Time-Life, which had ceased its distribution operation at the end of April 1981.)

It is clear that as soon as each serial was aired for the final time, the tapes were immediately sent back to the BBC's office in Toronto, for reasons covered below -- i.e. Colony in Space and The Sea Devils must have both been aired prior to September 1982 in order for them to be in Toronto to be "found" later that month. And it is very possible that the final serial to screen on CKVU was therefore Inferno...

Although this was the last time Doctor Who aired on CKVU, viewers in the border regions of British Columbia were able to see further episodes starring Tom Baker by tuning into PBS stations in north Washington state, such as KSPS in Spokane, and KVOS out of Bellingham.

Fate of the Tapes

CKVU's rights to screen Doctor Who ended in December 1982, and after the final repeat run (31 January 1981 to 1 January 1983) their tapes were sent to the BBC's offices in Toronto. (As we noted in 'Origin of the Tapes?' above, some of these may very well have been Time-Life's original duplication masters.) And given that a number of the tapes were identified as being in Toronto while CKVU was still screening the final few repeats, the tapes weren't sent back to the BBC in one batch, but in several smaller batches, presumably as soon as each serial had been aired.

These tapes, along with some of the masters used by TVOntario, were then placed into BBC Toronto's warehouse storage depot.

In September 1982, a US fan wrote to producer John Nathan-Turner, advising that he had discovered that copies of Colony in Space and The Sea Devils were held by the BBC's sales office in Toronto. (These two must have only just been sent there by CKVU, since the station was still screening Pertwee episodes right until 1 January 1983.) The BBC's archive selector, Sue Malden, was soon on the case, and in late November 1982, BBC Toronto provided her with a list of the tapes they held.

The inventory included the six Tom Baker stories from Season 16 (these were awaiting scheduling as TVOntario had yet to repeat them, which it wasn't due to do until February 1983), plus several Jon Pertwee stories: The Claws of Axos, Colony in Space, Day of the Daleks, The Sea Devils, The Three Doctors, The Green Death, The Time Warrior, Death to the Daleks, The Monster of Peladon, and Planet of the Spiders. While these would have mainly been TVO's tapes, there were certainly some that were ex-CKVU tapes, recently sent back to the BBC shortly after they had aired for the final time.

Of note, Inferno was not among this collection, so presumably CKVU still had it - and it may therefore well have been the final story that aired in December 1982/January 1983…

Sue had already acquired copies of The Claws of Axos and Death to the Daleks part 1 from TVO back in 1981 (see TVOntario) -- although the ones "found" later in 1982 were not necessarily the same tape reels as those found and copied for the BBC in 1981.

BBC Toronto arranged to ship the nine original NTSC tapes she was after to the UK, and in late February 1983, Sue received:

In mid-1983, Steve Bryant, who had by then replaced Sue Malden at the BBC archives, was informed by the US distributor, Lionheart, that they were currently selling the third Doctor series again, and had borrowed tapes of Inferno from BBC Toronto for the latest US syndication package.

Inferno was not included in the inventory of ex-CKVU tapes held by BBC Toronto in late 1982 (see above), so CKVU must have sent them to the Toronto office later on (which is why we think Inferno may have been the final story to air in late 1982/early 1983). But by October 1983, Bryant had received copies of:

TV Listings

One hour listing; Vancouver Sun, 18 September 1976
Generic one hour listing; Vancouver Sun, 6 November 1976
Airdates in Canada (CKVU)

TV listings have been mostly obtained from Vancouver Express and the Vancouver Sun (Friday issues published the full TV schedules for that weekend and the following week). In all cases, the series was billed as "Dr Who". None of the listings gave a story title.

In both Vancouver papers, the TV schedules were presented in a grid, with each 'square' representing an hour, with the square containing four rows of text, each being a 15 minute interval. An hour-long show would therefore be listed inside the square four times, a half-hour twice. Programmes of longer durations would carry over into the square below.

The grids for all channels started at 10am, but for those programmes that commenced prior to that hour and continued into 10am, the start time was sometimes printed on the first line of the grid. So a programme that started at say 8.30am, 9am or 9.30am, would have that time written as the top line of the 10am 'square'.

For the "Movie: Dr Who and the Daleks", the listing filled one square, and half the next, which is 90 minutes; this means the film screened without commercial breaks. (The movie also had a preview in the same issue.)

For the following week's listing, the billing was given as "Dr Who and the Daleks Cont". It's unlikely this was still the same movie, or the 1966 sequel, as the next six listings also used the same unusual billing. (The word "Daleks" was misprinted as "Deleks" for these.)

From 6 November 1976, the billings were shortened to just "Dr Who", initially appearing four times inside the square (one hour) then from 13 November just on the third and fourth lines (half an hour).

Other British Columbia papers we accessed included The Province, Times Colonist, Richmond Review, and Nanaimo Daily News. Unlike the two Vancouver titles, these usually printed schedules starting prior to 10am, and as such there were many episode listings not found in the two Vancouver papers. Only the Times Colonist printed story titles for a handful of episodes in 1979. For the most part, the listings just said "Dr Who".

Some of the online papers were missing or the pull-out TV sections were not scanned with the rest of the paper, so there are a few gaps in our airdates table.

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