Falkland Islands

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THE FALKLAND ISLANDS are an archipelago group in the South Atlantic Ocean, some 480 kilometers east of the southern tip of Argentina. Since the late 17th century, the islands have been a territory of Great Britain.

Doctor Who (a Sylvester McCoy episode); Penguin News listing for SSVC TV on 11 March 1989

The islands did not have a local television service. Residents could instead watch hired movies on video tape. (Since Argentina also had the PAL colour system, television sets could be imported from there.)

Military personnel stationed at the various British garrisons around the islands also had a form of television by way of video-tapes of off-air BBC and ITV programmes supplied to them by the British Forces TV service BFBS / SSVC.

During the Falklands War - April to November 1982 - the regular supply of video-taped programmes was diverted to the Task Force naval fleet defending the islands.

Four years after the war, with a much-increased permanent British military presence at the newly-constructed RAF airfield at Mount Pleasant, the BFBS erected a short-range transmitter at the base, bringing a limited form of "broadcast" television to the islands.

This new SSVC Falkland service commenced on 4 December 1986.

Although the signals could only be received within the limited transmission range around the airport, some crafty civilian residents living outside the area managed to intercept the signals to "illegally" watch BFBS at home!

By the early 2000s, SSVC / BFBS TV was beamed to the islands by satellite.


With transmissions not commencing until December 1986, the SSVC Falklands service may have been too late to show The Trial of a Time Lord. But if they did play Colin Baker's last series, it would have aired in late 1986 / early 1987.

All the Sylvester McCoy episodes of Doctor Who were shown only a matter of weeks after the UK broadcasts. And the 1996 Paul McGann TV Movie also aired that year.

The New Series was also available from 2005.

  • See our BFBS profile for full details of what was shown and when

Falkland Islands in Doctor Who

  • The 1984 spoof play Recall UNIT: The Great T-Bag Mystery was partially set on the Islands.