ABC Doctor Who Fast-Tracking To Take A Week

ABC Doctor Who Fast-Tracking To Take A Week

Earlier this year, the ABC hinted that it would be fast-tracking episodes of Doctor Who from the UK as quickly as possible. However, it now looks like we’ll be facing the same week-long delay as last year.

2010’s Who Christmas special was shown by the ABC less than 24 hours after its UK broadcast, and ABC programmers indicated that a similar approach was on the cards for 2011 broadcasts. However, TV Tonight reports that the first new Who episode will be broadcast on Saturday April 30 at 730pm, one week after its expected UK debut.

This is effectively the same pattern that Who followed last year in Australia, though the broadcast night has been switched to Saturday from Sunday and the delay is one week, not two. (There’ll be a mid-season break in the UK, and hence also down under.)

To be fair, a one-week delay is still very good compared to commercial networks, and we can at least be confident that the ABC won’t arbitrarily change its scheduling a couple of weeks in. Nonetheless, part of me wishes that the channel had stuck with Sunday night broadcasts, and given us new episodes the same weekend they aired in Britain. Your thoughts?

Returning: Doctor Who [TV Tonight]


  • That’s a shame. I was hoping to watch it on the ABC, but between Facebook and Twitter, and all of the UK friends I have on both, trying to remain spoiler-free for an entire week will be near impossible.

    I’ll be sticking to my usual plan; download then buy the DVDs.

  • Guess I wont be watching it on ABC then. Was looking forward to actually being able to see this in a reasonable time frame from it’s initial air date, but no way will it be possible to remain spoiler free for a week, why can’t they just air it on the bloody Sunday night already like in the UK?

    • In the UK it airs on Saturday. The BBC won’t allow anyone to broadcast it ahead of itself, so Sunday night is the best we can hope for.

  • I posted this on the TV Tonight website, but I’ll repeat it here. Yes, it will be a week after the UK broadcast, but it appears that the weekend that Doctor Who premieres in the UK a two parter will be broadcast on consecutive nights. The announcement made by the ABC spokesman said nothing of this. While we can hope that both episodes will be broadcast that same weekend in Australia, the other possibility is that the two parter will be broadcast over two weeks. This means that rather than one week behind, after the second episode Australia will be two weeks behind.

  • Perhaps you’d all rather have it shown on one of the commercial stations, say 9. Then see how well it gets treated.

    In it’s original days Dr Who was shown in the UK one episode per *month*!

    • That claim about Who in the UK being monthly isn’t true. It was always a weekly serial, save for a period in the early 1980s when it was shown twice a week on UK television. The main change over time is that it went from being a near-year-round series to something that was only on for part of the year. Repeats were rare, though, unlike Australia where daily doses of Who were pretty standard for much of the 1970s and 1980s.

    • I think I would become violently ill if channel nine got their grubby little hands on Doctor Who.

      But anyway a week after it’s broadcast in the UK is better than it used to be even a couple of years ago.

  • 1 week? what crap is that? everything is uploaded on the net within minutes of being aired. Doctor Who is no different? I downloaded and watch it in the states no later than 1 day after the UK BBC air date. The last 2 episodes I also watched no later than a day after the UK BBC air date moved back to Australia. After 1 week of it being uploaded to the web you can watch it streaming on many, many web sites. Fast track my a**.

  • Hell hath no fury like a Dr Who fan scored apparently. A one-week wait isn’t that bad, as Gus said, that’s nothing compared to commercial station – even after they have “fast tracked” a series (i.e. Top Gear back in January was still 3-4 weeks behind the UK. But again – a better effort than what the SBS managed). The scary part is, the commercial networks stand to lose a lot more than the public stations, as their funding is directly linked to viewer base.

    Of a quiet little note, I was pleasantly surprised with Channel 11 lately. Since their launch back in January, they picked up Californication where 10 left off. Without any publicity or fanfare, they broadcast every episode within 36 hours of the show being aired on Showtime in the US. It’s the first American series that I have frequently watched where I haven’t bothered torrenting it – it’s simply not worth it (save for getting rid of ads) with that kind of turnaround.

  • This is a real shame. Doctor Who on a Sunday night was a winner for the ABC, rating much higher than when they had it on Saturdays, from my recollection. They’re messing with the magic formula – Sunday night fish n chips and Doctor Who. 🙁

  • It’s too bad that ABC will have a weeks delay, both USA and here in Canada, Doctor Who will be premiering on the same day as in the UK (Apr 23). Maybe you should start writing some letters.

  • I agree would be good if they aired the same weekend as in the UK.

    But I have to also agree that it is still far better than the commercial networks.

  • Pity about the Xmas Special (all of them). Would have been better if they’d never brought it over here at all, it was so bad.

    Must admit in spite of misgivings about the stability of the series firmament, I am really looking forward to this new (half) series.

    Matt Smith channels the spirit of Patrick Troughton and Tom Baker and John Pertwee all together and somehow manages to come forth as a young 900 year old man.

    Now that RTD is gone away to the back bench and Moffat is at the helm, we can only hope the scripts continue to improve. Maybe it will be as good as the last good Doctor Who ever made (The Talons Of Weng Chiang, circa 1975, before JNT set about destroying the series) one day?

    Who knows! Bring it on.

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