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Classic Doctor Who does not appear to have been shown on television in INDIA, despite it being a Commonwealth country with a PAL colour service from 1982 onwards.


Times of India, 5 October 1972; Thunderbirds is the only English programme listed

The Doordarshan television service was launched from Delhi in September 1959, albeit with a very rudimentary and limited transmission range. It wasn't until August 1965 that regular daily news broadcasts commenced.

Over the next few years, the channel's transmission times and broadcast range had been extended. By this time, a small number of imported programming from the US and UK was also being shown. (Some of ITV's filmed series are known to have screened, such as Thunderbirds in 1972 - see clipping.)

Those living in the north west, along the border with Pakistan could receive television broadcasts from Lahore.

A second station based in Bombay was introduced in October 1972; the content of this channel was mainly news and educational programming.

Further regional stations in Srinagar and Amritsar opened in 1973, followed by Calcutta, Madras and Lucknow in 1975, with a chain of relays extending the coverage of these to other parts of the country. Again, the content was mainly news, sports and locally-produced fare, with very little in the way of imported drama.

(One of the only BBC programmes known to have aired in India was Comedy Playhouse; various instalments aired in 1974 and 1975.)

Although there had been PAL colour test transmissions from Delhi in 1979, a nation-wide satellite colour feed out of the capital - known as the National Programme - was in place by August 1982. This service had further expansion in the months that followed so that coverage of the Asian Games - held in the capital during November - could be beamed to the rest of India, and to other countries participating in this major international sporting event.

A second Doordarshan channel in Delhi was established in 1984. By this time, most of the major cities could receive the National TV feed, plus one or more regional channel.

UK and other satellite stations became available in the mid-1990s, including BBC World Service - however the Asia feed of that channel did not include the 1992, 1993 and 1994 repeats of Doctor Who.



Both of the Cushing / Dalek movies were shown in India. The first film and its trailer were registered with the Bombay (Mumbai) regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification on 16 July 1966; it was certified with a "U" rating. The sequel and trailer were both certified "U" on 19 June 1967.

The films would have gone into circulation soon after classification. They would have played in English, but possibly also with alternative language subtitles. (The second film was also shown in Pakistan around the same time.)

The second film was certified again on 1 July 1980 for a re-release.

The only newspaper that is available online is The Indian Express from Madras, but there were no listings for either film found in the few available issues held for 1966, 1967 and 1968. No issues at all are held for 1980. But the films would most likely have been shown in Madras on dates that are not archived.

On Television?

Generic TV listing from November 1986 (from Madras Indian Express) showing three channels. Note the unidentified "Children's programme in English" at 6pm Saturday on the Delhi station; the only other English programmes listed under the Delhi station are the ITV-produced 'Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' series starring Jeremy Brett from 1985, while the listing for 'Nicholas Nickleby' might be for the 1977 BBC serial

A very brief run of Jon Pertwee serials was screened in neighbouring Bangladesh in 1980, with some Jon Pertwee and Tom Bakers in nearby Sri Lanka in 1981 and 1984; it's possible signals from these broadcasts were available in certain parts of India.

Did Tom Baker stories air in India? Small selections of Baker stories were shown in Sri Lanka in 1984, and Malaysia from 1986-1987, so it's possible that a run of Baker stories was also screened in India around that time. The February 1987 list of sales (see BBC Records) doesn't record "India", so if there were any screenings, they would have to be after that date.

Newspapers from the mid to late 1980s are available online, but there were no clear listings for Doctor Who, but there were many many regular daily half-hour "Children's programme in English" style entries -- which, it has to be said, could be anything!

According to the IMDB, the 1996 TV Movie was shown in India on Saturday, 25 September 2004, however, we do not have access to any Indian newspapers from this date to verify this.

But of note, when the New Series was shown in India from May 2015, none of the news reports about this mention the TV Movie being shown ten years earlier - or the classic series in the 1980s...

India in Doctor Who

  • Waris Hussein (director of An Unearthly Child and Marco Polo) was born (as Waris Habibullah) in Lucknow in 1938.
  • Marco Polo had travelled to India, and brought the Sacred Tooth of Buddha to Cathay; Kublai Khan was the Ruler of Asia, India, Cathay and other territories
  • Douglas Camfield, the director of many serials, was born in India
  • The Daleks declared they were the masters of India (The Dalek Invasion of Earth)
  • The merchant Daheer sold embroidery from India (The Crusade)
  • Zohra Segal / Sehgal (Sheyrah in The Crusade) was born in Saharanpur
  • The Doctor mentions the Indian Mutiny (of 1857) in The Time Meddler
  • An Indian elephant is on board The Ark bound for Refusis II
  • Kenneth Kendall (the real-world newsreader who appeared as himself in The War Machines) was born in India
  • Victoria mistakenly thought the Himalayas were in India (The Abominable Snowmen)
  • There were T-Mat terminals in Calcutta and Bombay (The Seeds of Death) (although the cities should be called Kolkata and Mumbai in the future!)
  • The Doctor showed a slide of a Hindu demon with horns (The Daemons)
  • The SS Bernice was sailing the Indian Ocean towards Bombay; the cook was a Madrassi (Carnival of Monsters)
  • Madhav Sharma (Patel in Frontier in Space) was born in Calcutta / Kolkata
  • Colonel Skinsale served with the army in India (Horror of Fang Rock)
  • The Doctor and Scobie liken the illusions they experience to that of the Indian Rope Trick (Time-Flight)