The ABC has confirmed it will simultaneously broadcast the 50th Anniversary Special of Doctor Who alongside 75 countries around the globe. In other words, the excuses for going down the piracy route are going to be a bit thinner this time around.
Australians have been treated pretty well in regards to timely access to Doctor Who. Last year, the show was available on iView within an hour of its UK showing. For the hotly-anticipated 50th Anniversary Special, dubbed The Day of the Doctor, the ABC is going one better with a simultaneous broadcast.
The episode will air on Sunday 24 November on ABC1 at the same time as the BBC, which will likely mean around 6am in Australia. It will then be repeated at the more traditional time slot of 7.30pm.
“From Cairns to Costa Rica, Perth to Poland, and Adelaide to Angola, Australian viewers will join over 75 countries across six continents as they enjoy the anniversary special at the same time as the UK broadcast,” the ABC said in a statement.
Guest stars confirmed for the special include the Doctor’s 10th incarnation David Tennant, John Hurt and ex-pop star Billie Piper, who played one of the Doctor’s most popular companions. (Personally, I’d prefer that they brought back Leela and K-9.)
In other Doctor Who news, ABC iview will be showing 47 hand-picked episodes of classic Doctor Who episodes, with an emphasis on iconic monsters. At least one serial from each Doctor will be included, starting with William Hartnell in An Unearthly Child (1963).
The Daleks, Cybermen, Sea Devils and Sontarans will all be featured, as well as the Paul McGann-starring 1996 movie, which is arguably more terrifying than any of the former.
We think it will be interesting to see whether Doctor Who’s global simulcast will have any affect on the number of downloads from BitTorrent sites. Lethargic broadcasting practices are often cited as the main justification for pirating TV shows; a stance that is somewhat harder to defend when you’re getting the program at exactly the same time as everyone else.
We’ll be keeping an eye on TorrentFreak’s next round of data tracking with interest.