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The island nation of BAHRAIN is on the Arabian / Persian Gulf, off the east coast of Saudi Arabia.


Country Number (N/K) 1975? SECOND WAVE
Region Middle East
Television commenced 1973
Colour System 1973 PAL
Population 1980 270,000
TV Sets 1980 80,000 (50,000 colour)
Language/s Arabic and English Dubbed and Subtitled

Television Stations / Channels


Bahrain, the smallest Arabic / Gulf country, began its PAL colour television service in 1973.

Bahrain Television (a government-owned commercial broadcaster) provided an alternative to the then-monochrome broadcasts from the nearby ARAMCO compound in Saudi Arabia. It operated two channels: Channel 4, which was exclusively Arabic, and Channel 55, which was exclusively English.

Doctor Who screened on Channel 55.


The principal language of Bahrain is Arabic, although English is also a major language. Television broadcasts were in both languages, or with Arabic subtitles.


الدكتور هو

We are unsure of when Doctor Who first aired in Bahrain.

BBC Records

Research undertaken by Stephen James Walker revealed that The Ark in Space may have aired in Bahrain by July 1975.

Research undertaken by Richard Molesworth revealed that the video tapes of Robot, The Ark in Space and The Sontaran Experiment were sent from Jordan to Bahrain in mid-1981.

The Eighties - THE LOST CHAPTERS records a sale of "(7)" stories to Bahrain (by 10 February 1987).

DWM has Bahrain identified in the story Archive for 4A, with a year of sale given as 1981; this is taken from Molesworth's findings.

Stories bought and broadcast


Seven stories, total number of episodes unknown:

4A Robot 4
4B The Sontaran Experiment 2
4C The Ark in Space 4
? Four other stories? ?

BAHRAIN therefore bought at least part of GROUP A of the Tom Baker stories.

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

If BBC Records record The Ark in Space as being sold in 1975 and again in 1981, might we conclude that the serial aired twice? And if so, does this count as two of the seven stories sold?

Origin of the Tapes

The tapes of the three Tom Baker stories named above were supplied by Jordan TV, where they had aired from April to June 1981. It's not known where the other tapes were supplied from.



Generic listing for Dr Who on Bahrain channel 55 in 1981, 6.30pm
Generic listing for Dr Who on Bahrain channel 55 in 1981, 6.30pm

BBC Records indicate there may have been a run of some of the season 12 Tom Baker stories in 1975. We have not been able to access any newspapers with TV listings for that period. (At least one of the stories appears to have been The Ark in Space – unless it was a one-off that aired on its own.)

The newspapers we accessed didn't always include schedules for Bahrain's Channel 55, so the earliest listing we could find for "Dr Who" in the Arab News was on Tuesday, 8 December 1981, at 6.30pm. There were regular entries for Channel 55 in the paper from that date on; the last listing for the series was on 16 March 1982. Since that is an odd-numbered run of 15 episodes, there must certainly have been more prior to 8 December 1981, but we have no idea of how many more.

As noted above, there were seven stories, presumably all of season 12, plus two more 4-parters from season 13, so potentially as many as 28 episodes in the run?

Due to the country's proximity to other Gulf countries, viewers in Bahrain could also receive transmissions from Saudi Arabia's ARAMCO channel/s, Qatar and United Arab Emirates, so even if Doctor Who had aired only briefly on Channel 55 itself, Bahraini viewers would have had the opportunity to see many other Doctor Who serials, from 1975 right up through until 1990 (see Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates).

There is no record that Bahrain screened Doctor Who again after 1982.

TV listings

Airdates in Bahrain

We have not been able to access any Bahraini or Gulf region newspapers prior to 1977, so if there was indeed an earlier run in 1975, we have no details for that.

The 1981-82 TV listings have been obtained from the Bahraini newspaper Gulf Mirror and the Saudi Arabia paper, Arab News. The series name was printed as "Dr Who", and there were no story titles.