Ascension Island

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The ASCENSION ISLAND is a tiny island in the south Atlantic Ocean, off the east coast of Brazil. Geographically it is closer to the African continent, so we have categorised it as being part of Africa.

Profile

Country Number (N/K) 1980s SECOND WAVE?
Region Africa Commonwealth
Language/s English

Television Stations / Channels

The island does not have a local television service. The island hosts several British and American military bases, which would have their own entertainment facilities. When Doctor Who screened there it would most likely have been in an unofficial capacity.


DOCTOR WHO IN THE ASCENSION ISLAND

BBC Records

Ascension Island is not recorded in any official BBC records. The only known 'evidence' that some of the series had been seen there comes from the report in the March 1985 issue of the DWAS news-zine Celestial Toyroom, which states: "No further missing episodes have yet been discovered as a result of Roger Brunskill's telexes. Ascension Island sent a reply, aptly stating that they had THE SEA DEVILS!" (What's not known is how Brunskill knew to contact the island, since it is not named in any (known) BBC records…)

In the June 1985 issue, the following update is given: "For those who questioned me, when I reported in the March CT that Ascension Island possessed a copy of THE SEA DEVILS, as to whether it was a colour 625 line master tape, thus superseding the BBC Archives' current copies (part 625, part 525). I'm afraid the answer is no. The copy the island possesses is a black and white film print."

In the interview with him that appears on the "Missing in Action" mini-documentary that preceded the BBC repeat of Planet of the Daleks episode three in 1993, Ian Levine said: "I've spent hours and hours and hours on the phone, ringing people all over the world, chasing Doctor Who episodes. Nigeria, Cyprus, the Ascension Islands, New Zealand... One phone bill alone came in at £4,000!"

Ascension Island is a UK territory, so it probably wouldn't need to be listed in any sales documentation. The island was the location of the Royal Navy "stone frigate", the HMS Ascension, and since the island did (does) not possess its own television station, the story (and any others?) would likely have been screened on a closed-circuit system (like that used by the American Armed Forces Networks) or projected at a cinema at the base.

Indeed, the very fact that The Sea Devils is partly set at a (fictional) "stone frigate", and was made with the cooperation of the Royal Navy, this serial might have been supplied by the BBC free of charge, as a "thank you" to the service. Did other "stone frigate" naval bases around the world also get this story?

It is possible that the naval base in Gibraltar had borrowed the unaired prints of the serial from the GBC, and they then sent it to the Ascension Island base in error, hence why the GBC missed The Sea Devils when it aired the rest of season 9 in 1974 and didn't play it until 1977. (See the list of other "stone frigates".)


Stories bought and broadcast

JON PERTWEE

1 known story, 6 episodes:

LLL The Sea Devils 6


The programme was supplied as 16mm black and white film prints with English soundtracks.


Transmission

JON PERTWEE

The date/s on which The Sea Devils was seen are unknown.


Fate of the Prints

The 16mm prints of The Sea Devils were still held on the island in 1985. Since the BBC did not want these black and white film copies, they did not request the return of the prints.


Ascension Island in Doctor Who

  • While BroaDWcast does not cover the new series in detail, it's worth noting that "the Ascension Islands" (sic) was where the lone Dalek imprisoned in Henry van Statten's private museum had been found. (From the 2005 episode called Dalek.)


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