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MOROCCO is in North Africa, to the west of Algeria, at the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea.


Country Number (26?) 1968? FIRST WAVE
Region Africa
Television commenced March 1954
Colour System 1972 SECAM
Population 1966 12.5 million
TV Sets 1966 26,000
Language/s Arabic and French Dubbed

Television Stations / Channels

In March 1954, Morocco was the first country in North Africa to establish a television service. But the privately-owned station soon went bankrupt and stopped broadcasting in 1955. It was bought by the Moroccan government in 1960, becoming Radiodiffusion Télévision Marocaine (RTM) in January 1962 when transmissions recommenced.

The television service was only for four hours per day (a third of which was in French), reaching only the two main cities of Casablanca and Rabat.

Colour transmissions began in 1972 using the French SECAM colour broadcast system, although less than 3% of licenced receivers were colour sets.

Television transmissions could also be received from Gibraltar and Italy.


The principal languages of Morocco are Arabic and French; RTM broadcast in both languages.


الدكتور هو

Morocco was approximately the 26th country to screen Doctor Who; it was the second to broadcast the Arabic language versions (see Selling Doctor Who).

BBC Records

Morocco is named in the list of 27 countries in The Making of Doctor Who (1972 Piccolo edition).

The Seventies records a sale of "(3)" stories by 28 February 1977. The Handbook, however, identifies 5: C, E, G, J and K.

In DWM, Morocco is named for a slightly different set of five story Archives: E, G, J, K and L, and dates than as being 1968.

As noted in DWM issue 444, the sale to Morocco was completed by 6 May 1968.

Stories bought and broadcast


Nine stories, 37 episodes:

A An Unearthly Child 1
B The Daleks 7
C Inside the Spaceship 2
E The Keys of Marinus 6
F The Aztecs 4
G The Sensorites 6
J Planet of Giants 3
K The Dalek Invasion of Earth 6
L The Rescue 2

Morocco therefore bought the standard Arabic package of GROUP A, B and C of the William Hartnell stories; like most other Arabic countries, only part one of An Unearthly Child aired.

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

Origin of the Prints?

"Emission enfantine" at 17.45 - could this be Doctor Who?
"Télé-feuilleton" at 19.15 – could this be Doctor Who?

Tunisia was the first Arabic-speaking country in North Africa to screen the series (in 1967), so it’s possible that Morocco was sent the same set of prints shortly after transmission in Tunisia.

But if Tunisia sent the seven stories it had to Iran, then Morocco's prints would be a new set provided by the BBC. Indeed, the existing film print of The Aztecs part four has a date on it which indicates the negative it was struck from was created in November 1967, long after Tunisia would have already acquired and aired it.


TV listings

We have checked a number of newspapers (in French) from Casablanca and Rabat for 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970, but few of them contained detailed or regular TV listings.

What few listings they did have often gave only the type of programme (e.g. "news"; "cartoons"; "religious programme"; "serial"; "documentary"; "film"; "children's programme") rather than by title.

During the likely dates for when Doctor Who potentially aired (i.e. 1968 and 1969), there were TV listings that said "Télé-feuilleton" or "Télé-feuilleton en arabe" (which means "television series / in Arabic"); a generic listing for "Emission enfantine" ("Children's programme") in the 7.00 to 7.30pm slot; and a listing for "Emission medicale" ("Medical programme") at 7.15pm.

Any of these generic billings could have been for Doctor Who. However, we could not identify an uninterrupted 37 week run of generic billings like these that could have been Doctor Who. (It's possible Doctor Who aired in broken shorter runs, making identifying them even harder!)

In the BROADWCAST FORUM, "Duncan", who lived in Gibraltar in the late 1970s, says "after my first exposure to Tom Baker Who - so we must be talking between late 1978 and the start of 1980 - I was flicking through Moroccan TV and discovered Hartnell episodes dubbed into Arabic (sadly all I can recall is scenes inside the Tardis), and that marked by realisation that there was more to this show than I'd realised".

This suggests that the Hartnell episodes may actually have aired much later than 1968, unless what "Duncan" recalls seeing were in fact repeats.

We did look at newspapers for the late 1970s / early 1980s, but unlike the 1960s listings, the later TV schedules gave much more detailed billings, but we could not find any listings for Docteur Who.

Fate of the Prints

The next Arabic country to purchase Doctor Who in 1968 was Saudi Arabia. It is therefore possible that Morocco sent its prints of the Arabic dubbed Hartnell stories to Saudi Arabia.

However, for the DVD release of The Aztecs, which has an alternative language option for part four, the Arabic soundtrack came from a film print that was apparently recovered from Morocco. If so, then Saudi Arabia's prints may have come from elsewhere...

Alternatively, Morocco sent its prints to Algeria in 1973, and those prints were subsequently returned to the BBC.

(A partial translation of the soundtrack of that episode can be read on the ARABIC page.)

Jon Pertwee in Morocco (1970)

"Dr Who" Goes to the Rif Mountains, The Times, 5 June 1970
Pertwee's Moroccan Policeman anecdote - Radio Times 2 January 1971

In mid-1970, as his first season was drawing to a close on TV in the UK, Jon Pertwee planned a trip to Morocco. He placed an advertisement in The Times asking for "4 keen followers with humour and discrimination" to accompany him on a "2 week land cruise of Morocco". The group would depart on 22 June and return on 6 July.

Speaking with reporters on his return to the UK, he recalled an incident in which he was stopped by a French Moroccan policeman, who waived him on, having recognised him as "Doctor Who".

This anecdote first appeared in the 2-8 January 1971 issue of the Radio Times; and was repeated in the 1972 edition of The Making of Doctor Who (page 1), Peter Haining's book The Key to Time (page 102), and again in Pertwee's biography, I am the Doctor (page 41, but now minus the policeman!).

But it's clear that Pertwee was elaborating on this story somewhat -- his first episodes had only just finished in the UK; they would not have been airing in Morocco as well! If the policeman knew that Pertwee was "Dr Who", it would be by some means other than seeing him on television (perhaps from a newspaper?).

Morocco in Doctor Who

  • In The Time Monster, Stuart Hyde produces an empty bottle of "Moroccan burgundy" to help the Doctor with his time-jamming experiment.
  • In Planet of Fire, Peri is planning to join two English friends in Morocco.