|Country Number (23)||1967||FIRST WAVE|
Television Stations / Channels
Sierra Leone began its television service in 1962.
There is just one television station: Sierra Leone Television (SLTV), a government-owned commercial broadcaster. At the time that Doctor Who aired, the number of viewers was only a few thousand in a total population of over 2 million.
Colour transmissions began in 1978 using the PAL colour broadcast system. The number of registered television sets was less than 9,000.
The principal broadcast language of Sierra Leone is English.
DOCTOR WHO IN SIERRA LEONE
Stories bought and broadcast
25 stories, 111 episodes (but played in an incorrect order):
Sierra Leone therefore bought GROUPs A to F of the William Hartnell stories, with the exception of one story; The Dalek Invasion of Earth had been withdrawn from sale during 1967 while Terry Nation was trying to sell his Dalek spin-off series to American networks.
The programme was supplied as 16mm black and white film prints with English soundtracks.
Origin of the Prints?
Four stories, 18 episodes:
|AAA||Spearhead from Space||4|
|RRR||The Three Doctors||4|
|UUU||The Time Warrior||4|
|YYY||The Monster of Peladon||6|
The latter three serials would have been supplied as PAL colour video tapes with English soundtracks. BBC paperwork indicates the series was sold by September 1979. Malta, Sri Lanka and Swaziland also bought these same four stories between 1978 and 1980.
The series commenced on Wednesday, 12 April 1967, at 8.15pm. The timeslot changed to 7.35pm from 19 July 1967, then to 7.05pm or 7.00pm from 16 August. There was a two-week break during October; the 26th and last episode of the run – presumably The Keys of Marinus part six - played on 18 October 1967.
Four weeks later, on 13 November 1967, the series recommenced, now on Mondays, with a slot starting at 7.40pm for the first episode but dropping back to 7.25pm for all others.
This run of episodes lasted 56 weeks, with the final episode airing 2 December 1968. As far as can be determined, no episodes aired on Christmas Day 1967, 1 April, 22 April, 5 August 1968.
There were also 15 weeks when no paper was available. There are 43 episodes to account for, which means that there were at least 13 weeks during which Doctor Who didn't screen. There is the possibility that The Dalek Invasion of Earth did screen (which reduces the number of 'extra' episodes by six); the moratorium on selling Daleks stories ended by the end of December 1967, so The Dalek Invasion of Earth could have been made available to Sierra Leone in 1968.
The first episode to be named in the papers was The Priest of Death (part three of The Massacre), on 18 December (although it seems the episodes that week was actually The Sea Beggar). All the episodes from 8 January 1971 onwards were named, although – as noted in TV listings below – the listings went out of sync for six weeks during February and March 1971.
From these listings, it is clear that Sierra Leone Television aired the stories out of order, presumably mistaking the story production codes as reflecting the story order: they started with AA, BB, CC, then went to T through to Z.
The final episode was part four of The Gunfighters, on 26 March 1971.
Fate of the Prints?
In 2011 it was confirmed that SLTV still possessed (some of?) their prints long after transmission, but that the building in which the films had been stored for over twenty years had been destroyed utterly during the civil war conflict that devastated the country between 1991 and 2002. It is unclear whether the BBC had contacted SLTV during their intensive search for missing episodes in the mid-1980s; if so, then SLTV must have replied in the negative, despite them potentially holding 20 plus episodes, many of which were missing:
The following stories are believed to have been destroyed:
- Galaxy 4
- The Myth Makers
- The Massacre
- The Ark
- The Celestial Toymaker
- The Gunfighters
- The Savages
- The War Machines
- The Smugglers
We have been unable to find details on the airdates for the four Jon Pertwee serials. Colour was introduced in 1978. The same set of four stories aired in Swaziland in 1978, Malta in 1979 and Sri Lanka in 1981 (the latter three again in 1984); we can assume they aired in Sierra Leone sometime between 1979 and 1981.
There is no clear record that Sierra Leone screened Doctor Who again.
|← AIRDATES ...... (CLICK ICON TO GO TO TABLE SHOWING EPISODE BREAKDOWN AND AIRDATES)|
TV listings have been obtained from the Freetown newspaper, Daily Mail.
Listings initially gave the series name as "Dr Who", "Dr WHO" or "DR WHO". Some of the billings print the title as "Dr No"!
No episode titles are given until the December 1970 to March 1971 run. The 18 December 1970 listing (which was suffered from bad ink-bleeding) said: "DOCTOR WHO: Science fiction serial starring William Hartnell. Tonight: The Priest of Death", although the episode due to screen that night should have been part 2, "The Sea Beggar".
It appears that the TV listings were again pushed out of sync by one week between 12 February 1971 and 19 March 1971, as there are two listings for "The Bomb" (29 January and 12 February) but none for "Johnny Ringo" (which should be 19 March).
Of course, it is possible that the episodes did air as published, in which case Sierra Leone viewers saw the final instalment of The Ark twice, and missed seeing episode three of The Gunfighters; or, "Johnny Ringo" aired on 26 March 1971 and the last episode of The Gunfighters aired on 2 April 1971, but wasn't listed.
The Daily Mail discontinued publishing TV listings from 1971 onwards; the airdates for the four Pertwee stories have not been found.