ABC to simulcast Doctor Who 50th anniversary special

The ABC will next month simultaneously broadcast the BBC’s Doctor Who 50th anniversary special as it goes out in the UK and around the world.

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The Sunday morning special The Day Of The Doctor – will come as the show, one of the ABC’s most important imported franchises – airs to Saturday night television audiences in the UK.

The step is the second time ABC television has simulcast a piece of Doctor Who programming. It did the same thing in August for the BBC’s live announcement of Peter Capaldi as the next Doctor.

The ABC has also been in the habit of offering streams of the sci-fi drama in its iview player ahead of broadcast. The show is a popular one globally for users of pirate torrent sites.

Brendan Dahill, controller of ABC1, said in the announcement: “ABC1 is thrilled to be part of this momentous global television event, celebrating 50 years of everyone’s favourite Time Lord.”

In addition to outgoing Doctor Matt Smith and companion Jenna Coleman, the one-off special stars former Time Lord David Tennant as well as Billie Piper, and John Hurt. In a sign of how big a global TV event the BBC is trying to make the episode, it is already running on air promos to promote the hashtag #SaveTheDay.

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In the build up to the anniversary episode – which airs in Australia on Sunday November 24 with a 7.30pm repeat – ABC iview will offer a selection of 47 archive episodes.

The announcement:

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, ABC iview will show a series of hand-picked Doctor Who classic serials from the archives – 47 episodes in total. The collection will feature every Doctor, from the first to the eighth, as well as the scariest monsters and the most beloved companions.

The season kicks off on Saturday 28 September with the original Doctor, William Hartnell, in An Unearthly Child (1963), then introduces one of the most fearsome villains of all, The Daleks (1964). The second Doctor, Patrick Troughton takes over on Saturday 5 October in an early encounter with a dreaded enemy in The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967).

On Saturday 12 October and appearing in colour for the first time the third Doctor Jon Pertwee, with companions Liz and the Brigadier, take on the Autons in Spearhead from Space (1970) before meeting the Master in The Sea Devils (1972)

Then tie on your long scarf and break out the jelly babies because on Saturday 19 October the legendary Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker, stars in two classic stories; The Sontaran Experiment (1975) with beloved companion Sarah-Jane and then City of Death (1979), in which the Doctor and Romana take a very 1970’s trip to Paris.

The Cybermen return on Saturday 26 October as Fifth Doctor Peter Davison saves the Earth but loses a companion in Earthshock (1982). Saturday 2 November features The Two Doctors (1985) as Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, and Peri bump into Second Doctor and Jamie.

Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy investigates an Arthurian mystery with Ace and The Brigadier in Battlefield (1989) on Saturday 9 November, and again on Saturday 16 November with Eighth Doctor Paul McGann in the feature length Doctor Who: The Movie (1996).


The finale episode of the season will be selected by the fans. Visit the iview facebook page – – to choose from seven stories. The most popular will be published on iview on Saturday 23rd November. Voting is open from 1st to 15th October.

Catch the series at

And ABC2 will run its own mini season of specials to tie in with the event. The announcement:

ABC2 will screen a number of Doctor Who specials to tie in with the 50th Anniversary celebrations on Sundays at 7.30pm.

Doctor Who Explained (1 x 45’) – Sunday October 20 at 7.30pm, ABC2

Everything you really need to know about the Doctor – current, future or past. This program provides insights from key cast and crew and will help fans navigate the rich tapestry that is Doctor Who.

The Best of Doctor Who – Series 2 (4 x 45’)

The Science of Doctor Who – Sunday October 27 at 7.30pm, ABC2

Like all great science fiction shows, there are kernels of truth and nuggets of science fact scattered throughout the incredible Doctor Who universe. This special explores the dynamic Doctor Who moments where science fiction and science fact converge and mingle.

The Timey-Wimey of Doctor Who – Sunday November 3 at 7.30pm, ABC2

When the Doctor’s around, tomorrow is yesterday, yesterday is tomorrow and 18th century France is in your fireplace. Confused yet? Watch the Timey-Wimey of Doctor Who. You’ve already seen it in the future.

The Women of Doctor Who – Sunday November 10 at 7.30pm, ABC2

Behind every great time lord there’s a great woman. Whether they’re busting Daleks or the Doctor’s ego, the women of Doctor Who prove that you don’t need testosterone to save the universe.

The Destinations of Doctor Who – Sunday November 17 at 7.30pm, ABC2

Leave the beach towel at home and take a trip to the end of the earth – literally. From the Starship UK to one very haunted hotel, you won’t find the destinations of Doctor Who in any guidebook.

Sunday 24 November at 8.30pm – TBC

The Day of the Doctor (repeat) – Monday November 25 at 7.30pm, ABC2

ABC2 is currently screening all episodes of Doctor Who from series 1-7, weeknights at 7.30pm, finishing on Friday November 22.

There was no word in the announcement on whether the ABC would be broadcasting the BBC documentary drama An Adventure In Space And Time telling the story of how the TV show came to be made. While the ABC has an agreement in place with BBC Worldwide which gives it rights to Doctor Who for the life of the series, the drama may not be covered by the arrangement; earlier this year, BBC Worldwide announced a deal for a new Foxtel premium channel, meaning the ABC no longer gets first rights to BBC output. A spokesman told Mumbrella the status of the programme was “still in discussiuns”.


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