From BroaDWcast
Jump to navigationJump to search

CYPRUS is a small island in the Mediterranean sea, off the west coast of Turkey.


Country Number (15) 1966 FIRST WAVE
Region Europe Commonwealth
Television commenced 1 October 1957
Colour System 1976 SECAM
Population 1966 594,000
TV Sets 1966 11,659
Language/s English

Television Stations / Channels

Cyprus commenced its television service on 1 October 1957.

There is just one television station: Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), a government-owned commercial broadcaster.

Colour transmissions began in 1976 using the SECAM colour broadcast system.

From the mid-1980s, Doctor Who was seen at the British military bases on the island, supplied by the British Forces Broadcasting Service -- see below.


The principal languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish, although English was recognised as a third official language. In 1966, all television was broadcast in English – possibly with subtitles for the other languages.


An Unearthly Child, intro and listing, 12 March 1966
The Daleks, part one intro and listing, 9 April 1966
"…younger viewers in bed…" and intro, 16 April 1966
The Edge of Destruction, intro and listing, 28 May 1966
Letter to Paul Vanezis, from Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, 25 October 1984, printed in Celestial Toyroom
Marco Polo, part one intro and listing, 10 June 1966
Scrambled episodes! 22 July 1966
The Keys of Marinus, part one intro and listing, 5 August 1966
The Sensorites, part one intro and listing, 14 October 1966

Cyprus was the 15th country to screen Doctor Who. It was the third in the Mediterranean (see Selling Doctor Who).

BBC Records

The Stanmark Productions Ltd advertisement from 1966, identifies Cyprus as one of sixteen countries screening Doctor Who by January 1966.

Cyprus appears in the list of 27 countries in The Making of Doctor Who 1972 Piccolo edition.

The Seventies records a sale of "(9)" stories by 28 February 1977. The Handbook identifies these as being: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and K.

Neither H nor K aired, but it's likely the prints were sent as part of the package that was on offer.

In DWM, Cyprus is identified in the same 9 story Archives.

Stories bought and broadcast


Although BBC Records above indicate a sale of nine stories, only seven aired:

Seven stories, 36 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

Cyprus therefore bought GROUPs A, B and part of GROUP C of the William Hartnell stories.

Cyprus also acquired but did not screen The Reign of Terror. It's very likely that the station was offered the full package that was available at that time - the first 11 stories / 53 episodes up to and including The Rescue - but due to circumstances that arose later they cancelled the order for any more beyond what they had already received and aired.

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

Origin of the Prints?

The episodes (in the Suppressed Field format) were most likely bicycled in from Malta, where the first eight serials up to and including The Reign of Terror had aired by 7 March 1966, only a week ahead of the debut in Cyprus.

When Cyprus cancelled the series after The Sensorites, any further episodes due to be sent from Malta were probably redirected to another country.



The series began on Saturday, 12 March 1966, at 7.55pm. From the fourth episode, it moved to a later slot, usually around 8.30pm. The move to this new time prompted a comment in the following week's newspaper.

With part one of Marco Polo, the day changed to Fridays, starting from 10 June 1966, where it remained for the rest of the run.

On 15 July, the scheduled instalment of Marco Polo didn't air, as the following week, the newspaper acknowledged that the episodes had "been a bit scrambled up lately"; either an earlier episode was repeated in error, or a later episode was screened too early.

The timeslots moved around a lot, ranging from 7.25pm with the latest at 9.20pm.

Other than a break for a week on 28 October 1966 – to make way for Ochi Day celebrations - and for what appears to be pre-emption on 15 July, the series otherwise ran uninterrupted, ending with part six of The Sensorites on 25 November 1966.

As can be seen from the ever-moving timeslot, the CBC must have been faced with scheduling problems -- although it was seen as a children's programme, it may have been censor classifications that forced them to screen it in evening slots too late for the core audience.

This could be why it was dropped after The Sensorites; they therefore didn't screen The Reign of Terror and any of the other unplayed episodes they had also received by then.

Fate of the Prints?

It is recorded in the book, Wiped! (see BBC Records), that the Cyprian prints of An Unearthly Child, The Daleks and Inside the Spaceship were apparently sent to Uganda. We say apparently because the Uganda broadcasts of those three stories actually pre-date the Cyprian broadcasts by two months!

One possibility is that Cyprus actually received two sets of those 13 episodes; the first was the "Audition" set provided by the BBC (in late 1965?), which Cyprus then sent unaired to Uganda. Cyprus then received another set of the same episodes as part of the set of eight stories bicycled in from Malta.

An alternative is that Uganda acted as an intermediary between Cyprus and another broadcaster in Africa. So, while the Cyprus station records the films going to Uganda, they didn't record where they were ultimately destined for.

Another possibility is that the CBC sent them to Uganda in error. The Ugandan station forwarded them to the intended recipient – perhaps Kenya, where they aired in September…

Wiped! also records that Marco Polo and The Keys of Marinus were sent to Hong Kong, where the episodes aired only two months later, from August to October 1966.

In October 1984, it was discovered by Paul Vanezis that the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation still possessed their 16mm prints of The Aztecs (parts one, two and three), The Sensorites (all six episodes) and the unaired The Reign of Terror (parts one, two, three and six).

Paul's discovery was announced, with a copy of the letter from the CBC, several months later, in the June 1985 issue of Celestial Toyroom, the news-zine of DWAS.

In late 1984, a very short time after Vanezis had contacted the CBC, the BBC sent telexes to foreign TV stations asking for the return of old episodes. Cyprus was apparently the first to respond...

All 13 episodes were duly returned to the BBC in early 1985.

A few years later, Vanezis visited the CBC, and examined the original film records. He discovered that the other prints that were held -- The Aztecs part 4 and The Reign of Terror parts 2 and 3 -- had been stored in a different building and were destroyed during the July 1974 revolution.

The CBC had probably retained all the other Suppressed Field prints after screening because by the time they were due to be bicycled somewhere (to Mauritius perhaps?), the BBC had replaced all the foreign prints with newly-struck Stored Field recordings, and did not want the older prints in circulation.

Daleks on VHS?

The second Peter Cushing Dalek movie – under the title "ΕΙΣΒΟΛΕΙΣ ΑΠΟ ΤΟ ΔΙΑΣΤΗΜΑ" (Invasions from Space / Invaders from Space) - was released in Greece circa 1985/86 on both VHS and Betamax by MTC Video A.E. most likely for the Rental market. MTC also had exclusive representation in Cyprus, which could mean the subtitled tapes were also available on the island.

BFBS-TV Cyprus

Cyprus TV did not purchase any further series of Doctor Who. However, during the late 1980s, civilian residents living in the vicinity of the British Armed Forces bases in Episkopi, Akrotiri and Dhekelia were able to receive BFBS-TV analogue signals for free. (See British Forces Cyprus (BFC))

Video-tapes of programmes recorded live off BBC and ITV were supplied to the station from BFBS London HQ (and these may have included the current episodes of Doctor Who (such as Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy) that were also being shown on BFBS Germany and BFBS Falkland Islands). But from April 1997 the TV signals were encrypted to prevent unauthorised civilians from tuning in.

The analogue transmitters were switched off in January 2009; all other BFBS television signals came via satellite.

We do not have airdates or screening details for BFBS Cyprus.

TV listings

Airdates in Cyprus

TV listings have been obtained from the English-language newspaper, Cyprus Mail.

All listings gave the series name as "Dr Who".

The newspapers listed not only the story titles, but also offered in the Television section brief summaries of the story-so-far and the upcoming episodes. (In these synopses, there is often amusing variations on the spelling of TARDIS, such a "Tardis", Tarsis, and Tradis.)

The 16 April issue carried a comment about the shift to a later timeslot, when younger viewers should be in bed, "and their parents are trying hard to get them there".

"Mighty Kubla Khan" [sic], the sixth part of Marco Polo is listed as airing on 15 July 1966, but the following week it is listed again, with a note in the paper stating that "The episodes on Dr Who seem to have been a bit scrambled up lately, but tonight we are scheduled to see Dr Who's party meet the mighty Kubla Khan" [sic]. By "scrambled", it would appear that on 15 July a completely different episode screened in error. As to what that was, is anyone's guess...

The first episode of The Sensorites, was listed as the singular "Stranger in Space", the third as "A Race Against Time" (should be "A Race Against Death"), and the fifth was given an extra "The".

Cyprus in Doctor Who

  • Target book cover artist Chris Achilleos is from Cyprus.
  • Actor George Pastell (Klieg in The Tomb of the Cybermen) was born in Cyprus.