Rhodesia / Zimbabwe
This country, located in south east Africa, was known as RHODESIA until 1 June 1979 when it was renamed ZIMBABWE RHODESIA. Previously a British colony, it achieved independence in 17 April 1980, when it was renamed just ZIMBABWE. It was a member of the British Commonwealth until 2003. It shares a border with Zambia.
|Country Number (9)||1965||FIRST and THIRD WAVE|
|Region||Africa||Commonwealth (until 2003)|
Television Stations / Channels
South Rhodesia began its television service in 1960, and North Rhodesia began its service a year later.
There is just one television station: Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation (as it was called at the time), a government-owned commercial broadcaster.
Colour transmissions began in 1984 using the PAL colour broadcast system. Therefore, all Doctor Who episodes that aired were broadcast in black and white.
The 1979 and 1980 screenings in Zimbabwe are therefore the only known instance in the broadcast history of Doctor Who in which Tom Baker stories were transmitted at source in black and white.
The principal language of Rhodesia / Zimbabwe is English.
DOCTOR WHO IN RHODESIA / ZIMBABWE
The Stanmark Productions Ltd advertisement from 1966, identifies Rhodesia as one of sixteen countries screening Doctor Who by January 1966.
In DWM, Rhodesia / Zimbabwe is identified in the Archives of the same 11 stories.
The Eighties - THE LOST CHAPTERS records a sale (by 10 February 1987) of "(4)" stories to Rhodesia and "(4)" to Zimbabwe. There are two ways of interpreting this: there were eight stories, but sold as two separate batches of four, each either side of when the country changed its name in 1979/1980; or the record means 4 total to "Rhodesia / Zimbabwe". The fact there are two clear screening batches, one of five stories, the other of (potentially) three, does support it being the former; a total of eight.
Stories bought and broadcast
Eleven stories, 53 episodes:
|A||An Unearthly Child||4|
|C||Inside the Spaceship||2|
|E||The Keys of Marinus||6|
|H||The Reign of Terror||6|
|J||Planet of Giants||3|
|K||The Dalek Invasion of Earth||6|
Rhodesia therefore bought the standard package of stories from GROUPs A, B and C of the William Hartnell stories.
The programme was supplied as 16mm black and white film prints with English soundtracks.
Origin of the Prints?
Nigeria was the previous African country to screen the William Hartnell stories in 1965, so it’s possible that Rhodesia was sent the same set of prints shortly after transmission in Nigeria. As noted below, the series' debut in Rhodesia was delayed by three weeks, presumably as a direct result of a late supply of the films.
It's worth noting that the RBC purchased two batches: the first five serials (26 episodes) were purchased by 6 September 1965, and the other six serials (27 episodes) by 13 December 1966.
When Rhodesia declared its independence in 1965, the British government subsequently imposed trade sanctions, with effect from February 1966. By this time, RBC had purchased the first five serials only and was screening Marco Polo.
It's not clear whether these sanctions affected the importation of television programmes. But as we've noted below, the fact that TV listings cease from January 1966 might be significant. Of course given that a second batch of episodes was sold by the end of 1966 does indicate that supply and broadcast of those episodes was unaffected by the trade sanctions.
If the sanctions prevented Nigeria from supplying Rhodesia with prints of The Aztecs through to The Rescue, then Rhodesia's copies may have been sourced from elsewhere. If so, where? Of course, the lack of confirmed airdates beyond Marco Polo means we can't be sure whether or not more episodes did air – but surely the fact they were paid for in late 1966 suggests they did…?
According to information supplied by Richard, who lived in Rhodesia at the time (see below), the eight stories that aired were:
Eight stories, 32 episodes:
|4G||Pyramids of Mars||4|
|4Q||The Face of Evil||4|
|4W||The Sun Makers||4|
|4X||Image of the Fendahl||4|
|5A||The Ribos Operation||4|
|5B||The Pirate Planet||4|
|5C||The Stones of Blood||4|
|5E||The Power of Kroll||4|
According to Richard, due to the trade sanctions that had been imposed on Rhodesia prior to its independence, British programmes were often recorded off-air in the UK (on VHS?), and smuggled into the country, then broadcast from that format.
However, the fact that eight stories are officially recorded by the BBC as being sold, and that sanctions had been lifted by 1980, does suggest that this illicit method was not employed for all these episodes of Doctor Who.
The tapes would have been PAL, and with English soundtracks.
The series was due to debut on Sunday, 5 September 1965, at 5.40pm. The listing for that date actually said "DR WHO?", which might indicate some uncertainty as to whether it would screen. The series was also listed the following week, 12 September, this time without the question mark. However, on 19 September, the slot was filled by Forest Rangers, which was the series that had previously occupied the 5.40pm timeslot.
Rhodesia finally saw the first episode on Sunday, 26 September 1965, at 5.40pm. The series remained on that day and timeslot until at least 9 January 1966. TV listings after that date have not been located.
As noted above, it's possible that broadcasts of any further episodes were prevented by the trade sanctions imposed at the beginning of 1966.
But if the series continued airing uninterrupted, then it ran until 25 September 1966. (As noted above, the second batch of episodes was paid for by 13 December 1966, which suggests the broadcasts did continue...)
Fate of the Prints
Rhodesia sent its prints to Zambia, a fact recorded in Zambian newspapers; as a direct result of Rhodesia's own delay at starting the series on its intended date, Zambia's debut was similarly held up by four weeks… Ironically, episodes of The Forest Rangers were used to plug the gaps in Zambia as well!
The first published run of Doctor Who in the 1970s was on Saturday, 13 January 1979, at 7.15pm. The first serial was Pyramids of Mars, which Richard recalls:
"… was missing the first few minutes, so it started where Sarah and the Doctor came out of the TARDIS into the priory.
"I remember Image of the Fendahl being screened when I was in Centenary, which was 1978 or 79. Also saw The Face of Evil. The fourth one was The Sun Makers. So it was four .. but at random, it seems, depending on what they could tape and/ or send through.
After 16 episodes in that slot, the series moved to Wednesdays, from 2 May 1979, at 6.45pm, for the final four episodes.
Based on Richard's information, these 20 episodes concluded with The Ribos Operation.
Some 17 months later, the series returned from Thursday, 2 October 1980, at 8.16pm, ending 14 weeks later, on 1 January 1981.
Based on Richard's recollection, these would have been three further Key to Time adventures:
"They also showed most of the Key To Time episodes, in order (but not all of them - I never saw The Androids of Tara, or the final one (The Armageddon Factor)… so I never knew how it ended until Target published the book and I could read the story! (I wrote a letter to Douglas Adams at the time about The Pirate Planet, because I didn't think the shrunken planets in the Captain's display cabinet was really physically possible, and he wrote a very polite and accommodating reply - poor man!)."
There are only 12 episodes to account for but 14 airdates, so either two were pre-empted during this short run, or the final two published airdates are incorrect. (It is also possible that Richard's memory is incorrect, and this 1980 run included a 6-parter – The Armageddon Factor, perhaps?)
As noted earlier, these episodes were all transmitted in black and white.
|← AIRDATES ...... (CLICK ICON TO GO TO TABLE SHOWING EPISODE BREAKDOWN AND AIRDATES)|
TV listings have been obtained from the newspaper The Rhodesia Herald.
For the Hartnell episodes, the listings for "DR WHO" appeared in a TV and Radio pull-out guide that was published in the Saturday edition, and which covered the up-coming week's programmes. Unfortunately, the supplement for 15 January 1966 carried TV listings for the Saturday only, and after that, the supplement was either no longer published, or simply not photographed during the transfer to microfilm. Therefore listings are not confirmed after Marco Polo episode three, and are therefore assumed in the Airdates guide.
As noted above, the series was supposed to start on 5 September 1965. The pull-out Guide in the 28 August paper carried a small preview for programmes starting "next week", and said: "For the youngsters at 5.25 on Sundays will be DR WHO, a science-fiction serial about the adventures of Dr Who, played by William Hartnell, who, with his granddaughter Susan (Carol Ann Ford) [sic], Ian Chesterton (William Russell), and Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill) travel in the ship Tardis through time and space.
In the 4 September 1965 paper, the first after the delayed premier episode, there was a small feature: "WAR WAGED ON THE EARTH", which said "Dr Who, a science-fiction serial, will soon be telecast by RTV. Pictured here is a being from one of the six outer galaxies that wage war on Earth". Accompanying the text was a publicity photograph of Trantis, from Mission to the Unknown, made on 6 August 1965, but which had not yet screened in the UK. (It aired on the BBC on 9 October 1965.) The fact that they say "will soon be telecast of RTV" and yet there was also a billing for the series in the 5.40pm Sunday slot, highlights uncertainty as to whether or not the episode would play.
(Of note, the very same text description of UGH (United Galactic Headquarters) meeting on "the planet Varga" appeared a few weeks later as part of the Zambia News 's 19 September 1965 preview of "DR WHO" due to shortly screen in Zambia. Obviously both countries were supplied with the same publicity material by the BBC when they were supplied with the episodes.)
1979 / 1980
The Herald listings gave the title as "Dr Who". None of the episodes was given a story title.
Papers for the rest of 1979, and through to the end of 1985 have been checked, but there were no further listings for Doctor Who.