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FRANCE is in western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Germany and Switzerland.


Country Number (63?) 1989 THIRD WAVE
Region Europe
Television commenced 1949
Colour System 1967 SECAM
TV Sets 1990 22 million
Language/s French

Television Stations / Channels

France began its television service in 1949. Colour transmissions with the SECAM system commenced in 1967. All foreign television programmes are dubbed into French.

Under the correct atmospheric conditions, and with specially modified aerials, some viewers in the north-western regions could tune into transmissions directly from the BBC propagating across the English Channel.

French viewers could also view TV from neighbouring countries such as Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

Doctor Who was initially broadcast by Television Francaise (TF1), on Channel 1.

The TV Movie aired several times between 1997 and 2010, broadcast on different stations.

France 4 aired one serial from the classic series in May 2012 as a prelude to the New Series.


France was about the 63rd country to screen Doctor Who.



Only the second of the two Peter Cushing Dalek films played in French cinemas (dubbed) during the late 1960s; this was titled "Les Daleks Envahissent la Terre". (The IMDB reports the French premiere was on 20 October 1967.)

There is no clear evidence that the first film was ever shown at the cinema in France.

(The IMDB records that the film had a limited French release from 10 January 1969 - two years after the sequel had been shown - but we have been unable to locate newspaper clippings from that date, or find any examples of movie posters displaying that title. If it was shown, it would have been dubbed.)

The second film also aired on French television several times: it was shown on pay-TV channel, Canal+, on 3 May 2000 (at 8.30am), at 7.15am on 20 May 2000, and again on 22 May 2000 at 1.55am. (French-owned distributor StudioCanal (founded in 1988) had acquired British Lion Films' library, which included both Peter Cushing Dalek movies.)

The sequel was then released on DVD in November 2001 by Canal+ under its "Cinema de Quartier" collection. The dubbed film also had an English audio track and French subtitles. A special feature was an introduction by film historian Jean-Pierre Dionnet.

The French TV station Ciné FX (launched in 2002) aired the first film on Sunday, 8 June 2008 and again the following day, Monday, 9 June 2008. (If the movie didn't play in cinemas in the 60s, this is likely to be one of, if not the, first showing of the film in France.)

In October 2015, the two films (both with French and English audio plus French subtitles) were released on DVD for the first time together as Doctor Who et les Daleks - Le Coffret; the newly-dubbed first movie was titled "Dr Who Contre les Daleks". This 3-disc box set also included the "Dalekmania" documentary (subtitled).

French Movie poster
2001 French DVD release
Le Coffret (DVD box set) of both films


L'Ecran Fantastique issue 23, 1982

The BBC made several attempts over the years to sell Doctor Who to France:

  • February 1977: At the annual Brighton BBC Showcase, the BBC was unsuccessful in luring European buyers to pick up the series. "TOO TERRIFYING FOR EUROPE" was the press reaction (see Europe for clipping.)
  • September 1979: In a letter to French writer, Jean-Marc Lofficier, producer Graham Williams informs him that France is to be offered the series again "later this year".
  • 1979-1981: Lofficier pens The Doctor Who Programme Guide, a side-project he developed while researching for an article about the series for French genre magazine, L'Ecran Fantastique (PROGRAMME GUIDE) (The first part of "La Saga du Docteur Who" subsequently appeared in issue 23, published in March 1982, and the second part plus an interview with Terrance Dicks, appeared in issue 24, published May 1982.)
Generic Temps X billing
  • 1986: Alain Carrazé, executive producer for the 'magazine' programme Temps X, tries to interest channel TF1 into buying Doctor Who. He convinces them to let him make a documentary about the series…
Colin Baker on Temps X, Who is Who, 1986
  • May 1986: A French film crew for Temps X visits the BBC studios to film segments for Who is Who, the 16 minute documentary about the series, and interviews the cast and crew during the filming of serial 7B of The Trial of a Time Lord (aka "Mindwarp"). A short segment is also filmed a week or so later featuring fans at the Forbidden Planet specialty store in London. (The DWAS newsletter Celestial Toyroom (July 1986) carries a full report of the shoot, complete with break down of elements used in the final production.)
  • February 1987: Despite the gallant efforts of Alain Carrazé, TF1 passes on screening the series as presented. The fully dubbed episodes languish in a storage vault...
French novelisation covers
French novelisation reverse covers
  • 1987: Although the series was no longer to feature as part of the Temps X line-up, eight novelisations translated into French by Editions Garanciére were published, with covers adorned with the images of "Temps X" hosts Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff:
  • From 24 March 1987, Doctor Who is available in France (in English) on the UK satellite station Super Channel.
  • 19 February 1989: After a very long delay of several years, Carrazé's editions of Doctor Who finally make it onto French television screens, airing as part of the Club Dorothée Dimanche Sunday morning cartoon line-up - but even then, its journey was far from plain-sailing... (see Transmission below...)
  • TIME SCREEN: A full account of Carrazé's struggle to get Doctor Who onto French television was published in issue #17 of Time Screen magazine (cover dated Spring 1991). The full article can be read here:

When Doctor Who finally aired in France, it joined the many European countries of the THIRD WAVE of sales in the late 1980s (see Selling Doctor Who). It was roughly the 63rd country to screen the series.

BBC Records

In DWM issue 52 (May 1981), there is a report that an omnibus edition of "La Genèse des Daleks" (Genesis of the Daleks) had screened in France, but there is no solid evidence that such a broadcast ever took place.

Since Doctor Who was sold to France in late 1986, it is not named in the 1987 memo that appears in The Eighties – THE LOST CHAPTERS.

In DWM, France is identified in 8 story Archives: 4A, 4D, 4E, 4F, 4H, 4G, 4J, 4K.

Stories bought and broadcast


Six stories, 26 episodes:

La Revanche des Cybernators, 30 April 1989
4A Robot Robot 4
4C The Ark in Space L'Arche dans l'Espace 4
4E Genesis of the Daleks La Genèse des Daleks 6
4D Revenge of the Cybermen La Revanche des Cybernators 4
4F Terror of the Zygons La Terreur des Zygons 4
4H Planet of Evil La Planète Diabolique 4

France therefore bought part of GROUPs A and B of the Tom Baker stories.

This posting on the French Doctor Who fan forum GALLIFRANCE confirms that these were the only six to be acquired.

The programme was supplied as PAL colour video tapes. TF1 prepared, recorded and dubbed full French soundtracks. The voice for the Doctor was provided by Jacques Ferrièr, and Ian Marter was (apparently) dubbed by Maurice Sarfati.

Composer Dudley Simpson provided new music cues, including for the serials for which he did not originally provide a score. (In the interview with Simpson in DWB issue 57 (August 1988), he says "BBC Enterprises asked me into their offices for a chat about the sale of the early Tom Baker's to France. They couldn't lift the voices off from the music track (they had to redub all the dialogue into French you see) and so they'd got the filmed stuff but without the music track and they couldn't find a copy of my music anywhere so I've had to lay down a completely new score for them on tape which will go on with the French dialogue".)

For the opening titles, as the DOCTOR WHO logo appears, a voice-over announces "Docteur Who-who-who-who-who-who" which fades as the logo moves away. At least two different voices can be heard speaking these titles - on some episodes it is Maurice Sarfati; the identity of the other voice is unknown.

Fate of the Tapes

The 26 French-dubbed video tapes were sent to the Canadian station TVOntario to be shown during its Sunday afternoon/evening French-language programme schedule, and to also play on the French-language channel La Chaîne Française; the episodes commenced there on 14 October 1990.

The dubbed French tapes later screened in Poland (with added "Polish Lektor" narration) in 2002 and 2003.

The dubbed tapes for "La Genèse des Daleks" surfaced again when France 4 aired a special "La Nuit Doctor Who" event on 19 May 2012 - see more below.

"Le Seigneur du Temps", 18 March 1997 (Le France-Soir)



TV Movie, 84 minutes:

TVM The TV Movie Le Seigneur du Temps : Docteur Who : Le Film


Club Dorothée ident
Synopsis for the first episode indicates it is The Ark in Space; Tele 7 Jours magazine 18-24 Feb 1989
Docteur Who listing 9.00am
Docteur Who Serie listing 6.34am


After a very long delay (see the chronology above), the series finally started on Sunday, 19 February 1989, at 9.00am, part of the line-up of CLUB DOROTHÉE DIMANCHE (CDD) children's programmes, hosted by the Anneke Wills' lookalike "Dorothée".

The scheduled timeslot for CDD ran from 8.15 to 10.30am on Sundays, with "Docteur Who" appearing between 9.00 to 9.30am, or 8.55 to 9.25am.

According to Alain Carrazé's account above - the first serial was Genesis of the Daleks, however the synopsis in the TV listing magazine Tele 7 Jours for the week 18 to 24 February 1989 suggests the first was actually The Ark in Space.

After only a few episodes had gone out (at least the first 4-parter and the first two of the next?), the series was dropped from the CDD line-up. The three newspapers we accessed don't agree whether "Docteur Who" aired 19 or 26 March – two of them list "Docteur Who" for 19 March, and the one that doesn't instead lists it on 26 March, while none of the three papers has a listing for 2 April.

On that basis, we think the first two episodes of the second story aired on 19 and 26 March, the series was then dropped and missed a week, then was rescheduled for the following weekend.

The series returned on Saturday, 8 April, in the new graveyard slot of 6.37am (the scheduled timeslot then fluctuated between 6.34 and 6.39am for the rest of the run; although the three papers don't always agree on the time; Alain Carrazé incorrectly stated this was 7.00am in his Timescreen article). From 16 April, a second episode aired on Sundays, at the same fluctuating time, now just prior to CDD.

Carrazé also said the second and third serials to air were The Ark in Space and Robot. However, the Le Monde listing for 30 April 1989 has Revenge of the Cybermen for that day, and we've already noted that The Ark in Space was the first to screen.

The "Télé-VISIONS" site records an episode of Terror of the Zygons on 21 May 1989, and an episode of Planet of Evil on 4 June 1989.

Placing the stories into an order and aligning them with the Télé-VISIONS airdates means that to fit, Genesis of the Daleks must have been the second serial to air (the story that was airing when it was dropped from CDD, and relocated to the new Saturday am timeslot), then Revenge of the Cybermen followed by Robot, after which came Terror of the Zygons and Planet of Evil.

France-Soir, but not the other two papers, listed an episode on Saturday, 24 June 1989. We assume that no episode aired that day, otherwise there is one episode too many.

23 years later, Genesis of the Daleks received a repeat screening on Saturday, 19 May 2012, as part of France 4's La Nuit Doctor Who which launched the start of the New Series (from Matt Smith's second year) on that channel - see more below.

Example of 'Club Dorothée' from 1989

  • A run down of the French episodes and titles can be found HERE.


Screen grabs of title captions for "Le Seigneur du Temps"
The French Doctors: Pierre Hatet and Pierre-François Pistorio

The 1996 TV Movie aired for the first time on channel France 2, part of the France Télévisions group of stations; it debuted on Tuesday, 18 March 1997, at the very late time of 11.00pm – its on-screen title was "LE SEIGNEUR DU TEMPS DOCTEUR WHO : LE FILM" (The Lord of Time / The Time Lord).

It was shown again several years later on another channel owned by the same group: it aired six times on Festival between 22 February and 25 March 2005.

"Festival" was rebranded as France 4 on 30 March; the film was shown by that "new" channel a further two times, on 31 March and 5 April 2005.

Later it was played by Ciné FX (it was shown several times on that station in June 2010 alone).

For the French dubs, the following actors voiced the lead roles:

  • Pierre Hatet (for Sylvester McCoy)
  • Pierre-François Pistorio (for Paul McGann)
  • Céline Monsarrat (for Daphne Ashbrook)
  • Patrick Floersheim (for Eric Roberts)

Additional credits for the French version:

  • Version Française : Karina Films [Dubbing studio]
  • Direction Artistique : Claudio Ventura [artistic director]
  • Texte Français : Jacqueline Cohen [Adaptation]



On Saturday, 19 May 2012 and running into Sunday 20 May 2012, French station France 4 held a special TV event to launch the start of Series 6 of the New Series - Matt Smith's second year.

La Nuit Doctor Who ran from 8.35pm on Saturday, and closed just after 6am on Sunday. Five episodes from the New Series and 12 from the Classic run were shown, along with interviews with Steven Moffat and French fans, plus mini-documentaries about the series.

Three stories, 12 episodes:

4E Genesis of the Daleks La Genèse des Daleks 6
C The Edge of Destruction Le TARDIS Ne Répond Plus / La Machine est Vivante 2
5H City of Death Paris va Mourir 4

The dubbed video tapes of Genesis of the Daleks were apparently the same ones that had played on TF1 back in 1989, then sent to Canada to play on TV Ontario's French channel between 1990 and 1993, and had also aired in Poland in the early 2000s. The other two serials were subtitled; curiously, Romana's name was written as Ramona.

Commencing at 8:35pm, the first episodes to screen were the first four stories of Series 6 (from 2011). After those came Rose (2005).

Then, starting at 12:40am on the morning of Sunday, 20 May, was all six parts of Genesis of the Daleks.

After this came the first French TV broadcast of a William Hartnell story: The Edge of Destruction - the episodes were given the titles "Le TARDIS Ne Répond Plus" (The TARDIS Doesn't Respond) and "La Machine est Vivante" (The Machine is Alive).

The next story to play was one that was set in France: City of Death - under the title "Paris va Mourir" (Paris Will Die).

La Nuit Doctor Who finished just after 6am on Sunday 20 May, having run for a marathon nine and a half hours!

A full run down of the schedule and contents of La Nuit Doctor Who can be read here (in French):

Trailer for La Nuit Doctor Who


French edition of The Vault


The 1999 DVD release of the special re-edit of The Five Doctors had French subtitles as an alternative language option.


The 50th Anniversary book, Doctor Who The Vault by Marcus Hearn, was translated into French and released under the title Doctor Who Les Archives.

A French translation of Gareth Roberts' novelisation of Shada was also released. Other translated novels include Stephen Baxter's second Doctor story The Wheel of Ice (as La Roue de Glace), and Alastair Reynold's Third Doctor adventure The Harvest of Time (La Moisson du Temps). A set of translated New Series novels were also published, as well as comics originally issued by IDW and Titan.

Doctor Who Classics Vol 1 - a compilation book of DWM 's fourth Doctor comic strips drawn by Dave Gibbons - was released in France, including The Iron Legion translated as La Legion de Fer.

TV listings

Airdates in France
Serie Docteur Who listing 9.00am

TV listings have been obtained from the Parisian newspapers Le Monde, France-Soir and Le Parisien Libre. Of note, all three papers give slightly different timeslots for when the series aired.

All listings give the series name as "<<Docteur Who>>" or "Docteur Who", sometimes with the addition of Série. Only one billing in Le Monde gave a story title – La revanche des cybernators [sic] on 30 April 1989.


There are several French fan sites:

France in Doctor Who