Costa Rica

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COSTA RICA is part of the Central American isthmus, between Nicaragua and Panama.


Country Number (N/K) 1980 SECOND WAVE
Region Central America
Television commenced 1958
Colour System 1973 NTSC
Population 1984 2.3 million
TV Sets 1984 450,000
Language/s Spanish

Television Stations / Channels

Costa Rica began its television service in 1958.

  • Broadcaster: Corporation Costarricense de Televisión.
  • Channel 6



Doctor Misterio logo

BBC Records

A BBC memo dated 10 December 1973 lists Costa Rica as receiving prints dubbed into Spanish of serials A, B, C, E, F, G, J, L, N, Q and R, but this is clearly a mistake, as the country is not named in any other documentation covering sales of William Hartnell stories.

In The Eighties - THE LOST CHAPTERS, records a sale of "(1)" story to Costa Rica (by 10 February 1987). However, this figure cannot be accurate, as the TV listings summaries clearly illustrate many more stories were purchased by Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is not listed under any of the DWM story Archives.

Around the time that Costa Rica was screening Doctor Who, Nicaragua was also screening the series. (And screenings also purported but not yet confirmed in Brazil, Guatemala and Ecuador around the same time.)

Stories bought and broadcast

As noted above, The Eighties records a sale of just one story by 10 February 1987, however it's clear that this total is far from being accurate. (Unless one story was repeated over 80 times!)

  • And this blogger: DR MISTERIO, says the series aired on channel 7, where in actual fact it was on channel 6. They also suggest that the series was brought to Costa Rica by ITC, which does not seem likely as ITC did not distribute BBC programmes.

Programme distribution to Latin American countries was chiefly handled by Time Life Television, who also distributed within the United States, so in all likelihood Costa Rica received the standard package of Tom Baker stories (23 serials, 98 episodes) that was syndicated in the States, but dubbed into Spanish:


23 stories, 98 episodes:

Costa Rica therefore bought GROUPs A to D of the standard package of Tom Baker stories. Time Life would have supplied the NTSC video tapes for El Doctor Misterio that had been dubbed (by them?) into Spanish. (Mexico, Chile and Nicaragua also played the series at this time.)

  • See the chapter for the Spanish titles given to these serials.



The series started on Monday, 4 February 1980, at 5.00pm on channel 6, and screened most weekdays. (No episode aired on Good Friday 4 April 1980.)

If this was the package of 98 Tom Baker episodes, then the run ended on (or around) 19 June 1980.

The following day, the series continued, presumably a full run of repeats.

From 5 November 1980, a second run of repeats commenced. The series took a break for a few weeks during December 1980, and resumed from 6 January 1981, now playing only once a week, Tuesdays at 4.00pm. From 6 March it moved to Friday, then on 7 May to the earlier time of 3.15pm on Thursdays.

The run ended on 30 July 1981. If our episode count is accurate, then this was midway through the second repeat of season 14.

After a break of 16 months, Dr Misterio returned on Tuesday, 16 November 1982, again playing on weekdays, at 1.00pm. (It's possible it started earlier, as several newspapers were missing.)

But after only ten episodes, the series took another break during the whole of December 1982, and returned on Monday, 3 January 1983, still at 1.00pm. It aired for 54 episodes before stopping on 18 March. During February 1983, the second repeat run would have ended, and the series recycled again for a fourth run.

The next billed episode is Monday, 4 July 1983, at 10.30am, again five days a week. However, the TV listings from March to July 1983, and from 18 July onwards are inconsistent with their television coverage – Dr Misterio aired at 10.30am, but TV listings in both papers often started from noon or 11.45am, so any earlier listings are unknown. It is unknown for certain when the series stopped.

No further listings for Dr Misterio were found in random issues to the end of 1984.

TV listings

Airdates in Costa Rica
5.00: "El Dr Misterio – color"
5.30: "Dr Misterio – color"

TV listings have been obtained from the Costa Rican newspapers La Prensa Libre and La Nación.

The name of the series was generally given in both as "El Dr Misterio" or just "Dr Misterio". Some Prensa listings also added that it was in "color".

The Prensa listing for 4 March 1980, however, did erroneously say the series was El Sr Misterio.

On 11 September 1980, there was no billing in Prensa for El Dr Misterio; however Superamigos (Superfriends), the half-hour cartoon that played earlier was given the timeslot 4.30 to 5.30, rather than its usual time of 4.30 to 5.00, so this can be taken to be a typo, and the scheduled episode of Dr Misterio aired at the usual time. A similar error happened on 21 November – Dr Misterio was not listed, but Superamigos was billed for 4.40 to 5.30 rather than 4.35 to 5.00. (The corresponding issues of Nación were missing.)