Australia Sales

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This page details the Doctor Who serials purchased by Australian broadcasters between 1964 and 1997:


The BBC offered the series to the ABC, which had first-refusal on all BBC productions over the other Australian television networks. By March 1964, the broadcaster had purchased the rights to the first batch of stories, with the provision for a first screening (across all regions), plus a repeat (across all regions). All subsequent repeats were renegotiated, usually with the provision of two screenings across all regions.

Of the 158 Doctor Who stories made from 1963 to 1989, there have been nine that did not air in Australia during first-run screenings in the 1960s and 1970s. These nine are:

Mission to the Unknown was "Rejected" outright due to its horror content, while another seven were given "A" rating classifications, and as such they could not be broadcast in the early evening timeslot favoured by the ABC. The Dinosaurs serial appears to have been rejected because it could only be supplied in black and white, when the ABC was only interested in colour material at that time.

The fact that the first seven of these nine stories did not air in Australia prevented other Asian Commonwealth countries – such as New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore - from being able to afford to purchase them. This 'restriction' was still in effect into the 1980s, hence New Zealand could not purchase Logopolis ahead of Australia in 1981…

The situation with The Brain of Morbius and The Deadly Assassin was slightly different, in that the former did go to air (but heavily truncated, and late at night), but the latter didn't - although there's every reason to believe that the ABC had intended to screen The Deadly Assassin in a similar way. (The biggest clue is that both serials aired in New Zealand in 1979, which suggests that both had been purchased by the ABC…)

All bar the first two serials of that list - all copies of which had been wiped by the BBC by the mid-1970s - did eventually screen in Australia as part of "repeats" packages broadcast in the 1980s.


Bill Strutton on set of The Web Planet, Australian Womens Weekly, 24 March 1965

27 stories, 121 episodes

A An Unearthly Child 4
B The Daleks 7
C Inside the Spaceship 2
D Marco Polo 7
E The Keys of Marinus 6
F The Aztecs 4
G The Sensorites 6
H The Reign of Terror 6
J Planet of Giants 3
K The Dalek Invasion of Earth 6
L The Rescue 2
M The Romans 4
N The Web Planet 6
P The Crusade 4
Q The Space Museum 4
R The Chase 6
S The Time Meddler 4
T Galaxy 4 4
U The Myth Makers 4
W The Massacre 4
X The Ark 4
Y The Celestial Toymaker 4
Z The Gunfighters 4
AA The Savages 4
BB The War Machines 4
CC The Smugglers 4
DD The Tenth Planet 4
T/A Mission to the Unknown
V The Daleks' Master Plan

Australia therefore screened all of the William Hartnell stories, with the exception of two.

The programme was supplied as 16mm black and white film prints with English soundtracks.

The episodes were censored between April 1964 and May 1967.

The batch of 20 episodes covering Galaxy 4 to The Daleks Master Plan (which was only available as an 11-parter) had been offered to the ABC on 9 March 1966.

Origin of the Prints?

Australia received pristine prints from BBC Sydney via London.

Fate of the Prints?

The ABC had a strict policy of returning or destroying its prints. While the actual fate of all the prints is unverified, the following is known to have happened to some of the prints:

  • The ABC's prints of all 17 episodes from The Reign of Terror through to The Rescue (the affected episodes still exhibiting the cuts that had been made by the censors) were sent to New Zealand in July 1967.
  • A consignment of eight Hartnell serials was returned to the BBC in London in mid-1975: the last three from season two, three 4-parters from season three, and Hartnell's final two serials (from season four). (Also sent was the majority of the Troughton serials, see below). From this batch, part three of Galaxy 4 was salvaged, and returned to the BBC in 2011.
  • Although listed as being part of the 1975 consignment, The Chase part one was later found in Australia. Was the episode not actually sent – or was it a duplicate print?
  • Not part of the 1975 consignment was The Celestial Toymaker, part four of which was recovered from the ABC film store at the now-demolished Gore Hill TV centre in 1984. (Refer below for how that film allegedly came to be found there...)
  • Also excluded from the shipment was The War Machines, of which a copy of part two was saved from destruction in Australia.
  • The few stories not sent to London were apparently destroyed in mid-1976:

On 1 September 2003 this posting was made to an Australian AUDIO/VISUAL FORUM:

"Fess up time! And just who do you think put the axe through the Australian copies of the first 300 approx b/w 16mm telerecordings of the early Dr Who episodes - only to find out years later that the BBC had junked most of their originals.
It was a long, long time ago, in another life … but I will carry this shame with me to my grave, along with the destruction of another early BBC classic "Sci Fi" series called "Out Of The Unknown", my excuse, much like the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials, is/was "Just following orders" – God what a waste!
The only bright side was that some years later whilst doing a bin search of the main program vault, looking for another missing program, I found one Dr Who episode that had been miss-binned and not junked with all the others, and it turned out to be after consulting with BBC Archives, the only print of this particular episode left in the world... "The Celestial Toymaker", alas it was only 1 episode out of a 4 or 5 part story IIRC, still it was returned to the Beeb with much thanks from them and I believe [it later] went through a print restoration process by BBC Archives.
Shame, Shame, Shame..."

If this is indeed a true and accurate account of events, how has the figure of "300 approx" been arrived at? There were 253 Hartnell and Troughton episodes, plus 78 Pertwees on 16mm film, out of which 17 Hartnell episodes had been sent to New Zealand in 1967, and some Pertwees to Singapore in 1974, with the bulk sent to London in mid-1975, so that's less than 200!


21 stories, 119 episodes

Some of the recovered missing episodes that originated from Australia
EE The Power of the Daleks 6
FF The Highlanders 4
GG The Underwater Menace 4
HH The Moonbase 4
JJ The Macra Terror 4
KK The Faceless Ones 6
MM The Tomb of the Cybermen 4
NN The Abominable Snowmen 6
OO The Ice Warriors 6
PP The Enemy of the World 6
QQ The Web of Fear 6
RR Fury from the Deep 6
SS The Wheel in Space 6
LL The Evil of the Daleks 7
TT The Dominators 5
UU The Mind Robber 5
VV The Invasion 8
WW The Krotons 4
XX The Seeds of Death 6
YY The Space Pirates 6
ZZ The War Games 10

Australia therefore bought all of the Patrick Troughton stories. Note: The Evil of the Daleks was purchased with season 6.

The programme was supplied as 16mm black and white film prints with English soundtracks.

The episodes were censored between June 1967 and September 1970.

It was during the screening of season six, that the ABC's west / east microwave link was established.

Origin of the Prints?

Australia received pristine prints provided by BBC Sydney.

Fate of the Prints?

  • The ABC retained its prints of The Power of the Daleks until 1974, as extracts from two episodes of that serial were used for a documentary about computers that was screened by the ABC on 29 May 1974. (The film extracts were subsequently returned to the BBC in 1995.)
  • A consignment of Troughton episodes consisting of all but five serials – The Highlanders, The Macra Terror, Fury from the Deep, The Wheel in Space and The Krotons - was returned to the BBC in London in mid-1975 (along with a consignment of Hartnells, as noted above). From this batch, part two of The Underwater Menace was salvaged, and returned to the BBC by a film collector in 2011. The edited prints of The Dominators were found in 1978 to be still held by the BBC's film library.
  • Although it is listed as being one of the serials returned to the BBC in 1975, The Faceless Ones part one (with censor edits) was recovered in Australia circa 1969/70, and returned to the BBC in the late 1970s. Did some episodes not get sent to London after all - or was this a duplicate print?
  • The Krotons was subsequently set to London in mid-1976. Later that same year, the other four Troughton stories were destroyed.

JON PERTWEE (Block One 1971-76)

19 stories, 98 episodes, but not always screened in story order

AAA Spearhead from Space 4
BBB Doctor Who and the Silurians 7
CCC The Ambassadors of Death 7
EEE Terror of the Autons 4
GGG The Claws of Axos 4
HHH Colony in Space 6
KKK Day of the Daleks 4
LLL The Sea Devils 6
MMM The Curse of Peladon 4
NNN The Mutants 6
OOO The Time Monster 6
PPP Carnival of Monsters 4
QQQ Frontier in Space 6
RRR The Three Doctors 4
SSS Planet of the Daleks 6
UUU The Time Warrior 4
XXX Death to the Daleks 4
YYY The Monster of Peladon 6
ZZZ Planet of the Spiders 6
DDD Inferno
FFF The Mind of Evil
JJJ The Daemons
TTT The Green Death
WWW Invasion of the Dinosaurs

Australia therefore bought most of the Jon Pertwee stories, with the exception of five stories not purchased or screened due to various issues.

All the Pertwee episodes up to and including Invasion of the Dinosaurs were supplied as 16mm black and white film prints with English soundtracks.

PAL colour video tapes with English soundtracks were also supplied for all available serials covering The Three Doctors to Planet of the Spiders (that's all the stories excluding the Dinosaurs tale, and perhaps part three of the 6-part Daleks serial), which were intended to be repeated following the launch of colour transmissions in March 1975. (The 16mm b/w prints may have also been used by those regional stations that had not fully converted to colour.)

The tapes included an extended version of part 2 of Carnival of Monsters, and a copy of Frontier in Space part 5 with the alternative music.

(NOTE: It's uncertain whether Planet of the Daleks was supplied to the ABC in colour, as it appears that by 1973, when the serial was offered, part three of that had already been wiped by the BBC…)

The episodes were censored between January 1971 and May 1975, usually no more than six months after completion of each season in the UK.

Four serials were classified with "A" ratings, which meant they could not be screened in the early evening timeslot favoured by the ABC. Since the Dinosaur adventure was available only in black and white, it was not purchased.

Origin of the Films / Tapes

The 16mm films would have been supplied by BBC Sydney via London.

The colour video tapes were also supplied via BBC Sydney.

Fate of the Films

It's believed that the ABC (or BBC Sydney) sent the black and white prints of Planet of the Daleks to Singapore on 24 March 1974, where they screened from 2 May to 6 June 1974. (It's possible that other b/w prints of season ten Pertwee stories were also sent to Singapore at the same time.)

The majority of the other film prints were mostly junked by the ABC after the final run of repeats in 1974/75. Some of these films are known to have survived junking, and are held in a private collection.

Fate of the Tapes

In 1983, it was discovered that copies of complete PAL video tapes of Frontier in Space were still held in storage by the ABC's bond store, where they had been since 1973, a fact that was not known to BBC Enterprises in London, who was offering the story in black and white only. (BBC Sydney however, did sell Frontier in Space in colour to Brunei, where it aired in October 1976.)

TOM BAKER (Block One 1976-78)

Listing for The Sontaran Experiment, 1986

16 stories, 64 episodes plus one omnibus edition

4A Robot 4
4B The Sontaran Experiment 2
4C The Ark in Space 4
4E Genesis of the Daleks 6
4D Revenge of the Cybermen 4
4F Terror of the Zygons 4
4G Pyramids of Mars 4
4H Planet of Evil 4
4J The Android Invasion 4
4K The Brain of Morbius *
4L The Seeds of Doom 6
4M The Masque of Mandragora 4
4N The Hand of Fear 4
4Q The Face of Evil 4
4R The Robots of Death 4
4S The Talons of Weng-Chiang 6
4P The Deadly Assassin

The ABC had actually decided to drop the series mid-way through Tom Baker's first season in 1976, but ultimately reversed that decision and screened the remaining purchased season 12 episodes in 1977, and purchased new episodes in 1978.

Australia therefore bought GROUP A, B and C of the Tom Baker stories, with the exception of one story, which was not purchased and screened due to censorship issues.

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

The episodes were censored between September 1975 and March 1978, usually no more than six months after completion of each season in the UK.

The Brain of Morbius was given an "A" rating, and therefore was not screened. The ABC later acquired a copy of the 60 minute "repeat" that had screened in the UK on 4 December 1976, and this was submitted to the censors on 6 September 1978, but even the heavily truncated story was allocated an "A" rating. However, the shortened version did go to air but in a very late night timeslot: in Adelaide in 1978, and other regions in 1980.

Pyramids of Mars was heavily cut for its first screening, and further cuts made to it for the subsequent repeats.

JON PERTWEE (Block Two 1978)

One story, 6 episodes

TTT The Green Death 6

Origin of the Tapes?

In mid-1978, the ABC purchased a repeat run of Pertwee stories, to be screened in colour for the first time. But with many of the original PAL tapes having been wiped by the BBC, the ABC was supplied only with those few serials that existed entirely in PAL colour: Spearhead from Space and Day of the Daleks. Reportedly, these colour video tapes ware sourced from the Middle East – most likely to be from United Arab Emirates, or possibly closer to home, from Brunei, where the colour serials had concluded by 1975/76.

The ABC already held - since 1973 - the colour tapes of The Three Doctors, Carnival of Monsters (with an extended version of part 2), the same stories from season 11, as well as tapes for one story that had been previously withheld.

The colour tapes of The Green Death were still held by BBC Sydney. In May 1978, the story was re-classified from "A" to "G" by the AFCB, and it was able to be screened. (This re-classification also paved the way for the 6-parter to air in New Zealand in 1979. Since the serial had previously aired in Commonwealth Canada, the ABC probably purchased the serial at a much cheaper rate!)

(Since the BBC was only offering Frontier in Space in black and white, it did not include that serial in the 1978 repeats; neither BBC Sydney nor the ABC were unaware that the ABC still held complete PAL colour tapes for that serial in its film and tape bond store!)

TOM BAKER (Block Two 1979-80)

TV Times, 24-30 March 1979

17 stories, 72 episodes

4V Horror of Fang Rock 4
4T The Invisible Enemy 4
4X Image of the Fendahl 4
4W The Sun Makers 4
4Y Underworld 4
4Z The Invasion of Time 6
5A The Ribos Operation 4
5B The Pirate Planet 4
5C The Stones of Blood 4
5D The Androids of Tara 4
5E The Power of Kroll 4
5F The Armageddon Factor 6
5J Destiny of the Daleks 4
5H City of Death 4
5G The Creature from the Pit 4
5K Nightmare of Eden 4
5L The Horns of Nimon 4

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

The episodes were censored in three separate blocks, between May 1978 and March 1980, usually no more than six months after completion of each of the three seasons in the UK.

TOM BAKER (Block Three 1982)

Seven stories, 28 episodes

5N The Leisure Hive 4
5Q Meglos 4
5R Full Circle 4
5P State of Decay 4
5S Warriors' Gate 4
5T The Keeper of Traken 4
5V Logopolis 4

Australia therefore bought all of GROUP F and G of the Tom Baker stories. The programme was supplied as PAL colour video tapes with English soundtracks.

The transmission of season 18 was held over for a year, so the ABC could screen it back to back with season 19 to ease the transition between Doctors.

The first 24 episodes were censored between January and April 1981, shortly after completion of the series in the UK. Logopolis however, was not assessed until March 1982.

It is thought that the ABC might not have been able to purchase this last serial at the time, because their budget allocation for 1981/82 did not take into account the season being two episodes longer than usual. Logopolis was therefore held over to the next financial year, hence the delay in having it censored, some eleven months after the rest of season 18 had been assessed. As a direct result of this, despite TVNZ having acquired the tapes in 1981, Logopolis could not be screened in New Zealand until after it had been purchased by the ABC.


20 stories, equivalent of 70 half-hour episodes and one 90 minute special

Australian Womens' Weekly, 13 January 1982
5Z Castrovalva 4
5W Four to Doomsday 4
5Y Kinda 4
5X The Visitation 4
6A Black Orchid 2
6B Earthshock 4
6C Time-Flight 4
6E Arc of Infinity 4
6D Snakedance 4
6F Mawdryn Undead 4
6G Terminus 4
6H Enlightenment 4
6J The King's Demons 2
6K The Five Doctors* 1
6L Warriors of the Deep 4
6M The Awakening 2
6N Frontios 4
6P Resurrection of the Daleks (2/4)
6Q Planet of Fire 4
6R The Caves of Androzani 4

Australia therefore bought all of the Peter Davison stories.

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

  • The Five Doctors was supplied in its 90 minute version. (It has been often reported that the ABC co-funded the production of The Five Doctors, however the ABC had no financial input into this story.)
  • The ABC edited the original 46 minute episodes they had received of Resurrection of the Daleks by cutting them in half at a convenient moment mid-point, creating 'new' cliffhangers, but without adding recaps. The Episode number captions were also removed: Parts Two, Three and Four did not have 'number' captions.

All the episodes were censored between March 1982 and April 1984, usually only a few months after completion of each season in the UK.

COLIN BAKER (Block One 1984)

One story, 4 episodes

6S The Twin Dilemma 4

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

JON PERTWEE (Block Three 1984)

A further repeat run of colour Pertwees was scheduled for 1984. The package supplied included a "new" Pertwee story that had not screened before due to censorship issues, but which was subsequently cleared for screening:

One story, 5 episodes

WWW Invasion of the Dinosaurs 5

The programme was supplied as PAL colour video tapes with English soundtracks. Part One was not supplied as it existed only as a 16mm black and white film print. Accordingly, Part Two was re-captioned to become PART ONE, Part Three became PART TWO, and so on.

Also included in this package was The Curse of Peladon, which had not previously been screened in colour before; it had been recently repeated in the UK.


50 minute special

K9 and Company

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

COLIN BAKER (Block Two 1985-86)

Squared four-part variant of titles
Squared four-part variant of episode numbers

Six stories, equivalent of 26 half-hour episodes

6T Attack of the Cybermen 2/4
6V Vengeance on Varos 2/4
6W The Two Doctors 3/6
6X The Mark of the Rani 2/4
6Y Timelash 2/4
6Z Revelation of the Daleks 2/4

Australia therefore bought all of GROUP A of the Colin Baker stories.

The programme was supplied as PAL colour video tapes with English soundtracks. The BBC in London re-edited the original 45 minute episodes into 25 minute segments, by cutting them 'in half' at a convenient moment and creating 'new' cliffhangers. The opening title captions were modified to reflect the new episode numbering; a new "squared" font was used for the remade titles, writer credits and episode numbers.

By this time, the ABC was responsible for its own censorship ratings. Only Revelation of the Daleks was cut by the in-house censors. (An uncut version of this story has never screened in Australia.)

JON PERTWEE (Block Four 1986)

Three stories, 18 episodes

DDD Inferno 7
FFF The Mind of Evil 6
JJJ The Daemons 5

In 1985, the BBC reissued all 24 of the Pertwee stories - in a mix of colour and black and white episodes (but still not including the b/w part one of Invasion of the Dinosaurs). The complete package was sold to the United States, New Zealand and Australia; the package purchased by Australia included the above three stories that did not screen in the 1970s due to censorship issues, but which were now cleared for screening by the ABC's in-house censors.

The standard (i.e. not extended) versions of Carnival of Monsters and Frontier in Space were also supplied.

These programmes were supplied as PAL colour video tapes, NTSC to PAL conversions, or tape transfers from 16mm black and white film, with English soundtracks.

COLIN BAKER (Block Three 1987)

One story, 14 episodes

7A-7C The Trial of a Time Lord|14

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

TOM BAKER (Block Four 1987)

For a subsequent repeat run of Tom Baker stories, the ABC acquired one further Tom Baker serial that had previously been unable to screen due to censorship issues:

One story, 4 episodes

4P The Deadly Assassin 4

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

At this same time, The Brain of Morbius, which had previously aired in 1978 and 1980 as a 60 minute edited edition, was reclassified as "G" and able to be screened in full during this run.

SYLVESTER McCOY (1988-1990)

Twelve stories, 42 episodes, not screened in correct order

"Slapstick McCoy", Sydney Morning Herald; 31 October 1988
7D Time and the Rani 4
7E Paradise Towers 4
7F Delta and the Bannermen 3
7G Dragonfire 3
7H Remembrance of the Daleks 4
7L The Happiness Patrol 3
7K Silver Nemesis 3
7J The Greatest Show in the Galaxy 4
7N Battlefield 4
7Q Ghost Light 3
7M The Curse of Fenric 4
7P Survival 3

Australia therefore bought all of the Sylvester McCoy stories.

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

The Curse of Fenric did not have the Russian to English subtitles over the opening moments of Part One.

PAUL McGANN (1996)

TV Movie, 84 minutes

TVM The TV Movie

Australia was the third country to screen the movie.

JON PERTWEE (Block Five 1997)

One 'new' episode

WWW Invasion of the Dinosaurs 1

The b/w first episode of this serial aired for the first time in Australia on 28 March 1997, on UKTV.

The broadcast of this episode marked the equivalent of the 683rd and final 'new' instalment of Doctor Who to screen on Australian TV (albeit some still in an edited form). It had taken 32 years to reach this milestone...