50 Glorious Years: Episode 14 - 1976
A biased change of approach for this week’s entry of 50 Glorious Years - we aren’t going to look so much at the content of the show in 1976 (though another fine year it was), but the developments that happened outside of the show - and outside of the UK. For the most glorious thing about 1976 from my perspective is that Doctor Who returned to Canadian television, one not one but two different television stations on the same day - Saturday September 18th 1976. The two stations were CKVU in Vancouver, and of course TVOntario, providing the entirety of Canada’s most populated province with the chance to watch the show. This of course was a huge development as far as Doctor Who fandom in Canada (and North America) was concerned - it was the first time since 1965 that the series had been seen in Canada. While CKVU showed the series until 1982, TVOntario’s run was so popular that it stopped only when the licence to show the series was given to a national broadcaster in YTV in 1989 (although TV Ontario would show some repeats into the early 1990’s).
I would probably not be here typing this if it weren’t for TVO showing Doctor Who, starting in 1976. I didn’t tune in until 1981, but it was a TVOntario broadcast that did the trick. I am sure the same thing I am sure can be said of many Ontario-based readers of my age (or slightly older or slightly younger). Not only did Canadian fandom really start to get going thanks to the TVO broadcasts, but Doctor Who fandom in general has a lot to be grateful for - it was the sales of many of the Jon Pertwee episodes in colour to CKVU and TV Ontario that has allowed fans all over the world to enjoy these episodes in their proper colour, the BBC having wiped many of their original Jon Pertwee master tapes.
Speaking of fandom, things weren’t just getting started in Canada - the Doctor Who Appreciation Society formed in May 1976, to date the longest running Doctor Who fan club (DWIN isn’t far behind!) and the one that made the most impact (effectively succeeding the Doctor Who Fan Club as the “official” fan club in the UK, to the extent that anything was “official”). They became the first fan club to organize and hold a Doctor Who convention, which would take place the following year in 1977.
But 1976 is where things really started for Doctor Who in Canada (with all due respect to those lucky enough to watch the first 26 episodes of the series as shown on CBC in 1965). The story which began TVOntario’s run and introduced the show to a new generation of viewers who had never seen it before and probably knew nothing about it - why, none other than the “continuity-light” The Three Doctors. The series was a huge hit, which should have nailed the coffin shut on the “continuity causes ratings dips and makes the show unpopular) about 9 years before the same crap argument was levelled at the show in the UK. As for CKVU, they also got Jon Pertwee episodes to begin with. It is often forgotten with Tom Baker’s massive popularity in North America that in Canada at least, it was Pertwee who was the first “hit” Doctor.
Posted by Luca on Monday, April 8 at 5:38 pm