Morocco

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

Contents

Profile

Country Number (26?)1968?FIRST WAVE
RegionAfrica
Television commenced March 1954
Colour System1972SECAM
Population1966 12.5 million
TV Sets196626,000
Language/sArabic and FrenchDubbed

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 licence receivers were colour sets.

Television transmissions could also be received from Gibraltar and Italy.


Language/s

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


DOCTOR WHO IN MOROCCO

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

Pertwee's Moroccan Policeman anecdote - Radio Times 2 January 1971

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.

In mid-1970, while his first season was airing on TV in the UK, Jon Pertwee went to Morocco on holiday. Speaking with reporters on his return to the UK, he recalled an incident in which he was stopped by a Moroccan policeman, who waived him on, having recognised him as "Docteur Who".

This anecdote first appeared in the 2-8 January 1971 issue of the Radio Times; is repeated in the 1972 edition of The Making of Doctor Who (page 1); Peter Haining's book The Key to Time (page 102); and Pertwee's biography, I am the Doctor (but minus the policeman!, page 41). But it's clear that Pertwee was elaborating on this story somewhat, as his episodes never aired in Morocco; certainly not in 1970 - nor since! If there was any truth to the tale, then the policeman must have known who Pertwee was by some means other than from local television broadcasts.


Stories bought and broadcast

WILLIAM HARTNELL

Nine stories, 37 episodes:

AAn Unearthly Child1
BThe Daleks7
CInside the Spaceship2
EThe Keys of Marinus6
FThe Aztecs4
GThe Sensorites6
JPlanet of Giants3
KThe Dalek Invasion of Earth6
LThe Rescue2

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?

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.


Transmission

TV listings

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

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 were often 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 like the 1960s listings, the published TV schedules were non-specific.

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.)


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.


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