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CKVU (Vancouver) (1976-1982)

Channel Profile

Vancouver-based CKVU was launched on Sunday, 4 September 1976, with its first broadcast going out at 4.00pm. At that time, its official number was Channel 21, but was located on Cable 13 on the TV dial.

Both CKVU and TVO commenced regular broadcasts of Doctor Who on the same day – Saturday, 18 September 1976, however TVO's screening were at 7.30pm, whereas CKVU's were at 10.00am, making CKVU the first Canadian television station to screen Doctor Who since CBC in 1965.

Stories bought and broadcast


A week ahead of the regular screenings of Doctor Who, CKVU screened the Peter Cushing movie, "Dr Who and the Daleks" on Saturday, 11 September 1976, from 10.00 to 11.30am.



In the DWAS publication TARDIS issue Volume 8 / Number 1 (c. March 1983), Canadian fan Dean Shewring wrote an overview of Doctor Who in Canada: "CKVU an independent TV station in Vancouver, British Columbia has also been showing Jon Pertwee serials (including The Green Death, Inferno and The Claws of Axos). However they have been broadcast with episodes out of sequence and with major gaps for sports and other shows between some of the serials."

In DWM issue #102 (July 1985), Shewring wrote that "CKVU, an independent TV station in Vancouver, British Columbia ... ran a small selection of Jon Pertwee stories over a four-year period during the late seventies and early eighties."

On the DOCTOR WHO MEET UP GROUP BLOG, Canadian fan Ray Seredin says: "I have been a fan of Doctor Who since September 1979, when as a thirteen year old I [became] hooked on the series [with the] Jon Pertwee story Inferno while it was airing on CKVU Saturday mornings."

Based on these comments, and other scattered information about the station, the following 14 Pertwee stories appear to be the only ones to have been aired by CKVU:

14 stories, 73 episodes:

GGG The Claws of Axos 4
MMM The Curse of Peladon 4
KKK Day of the Daleks 4
NNN The Mutants 6
RRR The Three Doctors 4
UUU The Time Warrior 4
LLL The Sea Devils 6
HHH Colony in Space 6
OOO The Time Monster 6
DDD Inferno 7
XXX Death to the Daleks 4
TTT The Green Death 6
YYY The Monster of Peladon 6
ZZZ Planet of the Spiders 6

CKVU therefore bought parts of GROUPs A, B and D, and all of GROUPs C and E of the Jon Pertwee stories.

(The stories have been tabled above based on the order in which they were "sold" between February 1977 and March 1978 according to BBC sales documentation, and which may also reflect to some degree the screening order.)

The programme was supplied as NTSC colour video tapes with English soundtracks.

CKVU bought the same package of eleven serials / 54 episodes that TVOntario had in 1976 and 1977, but also acquired three additional serials (19 episodes) that were not picked up by TVO -- Inferno, Colony in Space and The Sea Devils.

The three additional serials had all recently had their seven-year sales windows renewed by the BBC, which is the likely reason for why they and no other Season 7, 8 and 9 serials were on offer at this time.

The Claws of Axos and The Mutants were purchased with two screenings each, while The Curse of Peladon and Day of the Daleks had just one; all the stories of the second batch were purchased with three transmissions each.

There were 10 Pertwee serials that CKVU did not acquire: Spearhead from Space was only available on film so was never offered to them. Frontier in Space, Planet of the Daleks and Invasion of the Dinosaurs had colour tapes missing, so could not be fully converted into NTSC. The Mind of Evil and The Daemons were probably not available because of ongoing issues stemming from the Australian censorship decisions affecting other Commonwealth countries. The other six -- Doctor Who and the Silurians, The Ambassadors of Death, Terror of the Autons, Carnival of Monsters -- were not acquired because TVOntario instead purchased Tom Baker stories for their third batch of episodes.

While CKVU would have had the option to acquire more Pertwees as well as the Bakers, they did not take up the offer; the 14 Pertwees they did purchase were the only episodes of Doctor Who that CKVU screened.

Some of these same fourteen stories aired on other Canadian stations:

Origins of the Tapes?

The sale would have been completed by the BBC's office in Toronto. CKVU was able to purchase the same episodes that TVOntario had; they would have therefore received dubs from the same tapes supplied to TVO.

The three additional serials that CKVU acquired would have been supplied (via BBC Toronto?) from Time-Life.

From mid-1981 through to September 1982 (see below), CKVU repeated most of if not all their Pertwees again. By then, Time-Life had stopped operating as the BBC's US distributor, and had disposed of all their master tapes.

While there is nothing solid to indicate that it did happen this way, it is possible that for this repeat run CKVU was supplied with what remained of Time-Life's original masters for the stories that CKVU had the rights to, which would explain why the tapes that were recovered a few years later were in such good condition.


Dr Who and the Daleks; Vancouver Sun, 11 September 1976
Dr Who and the Daleks; Vancouver Sun, 11 September 1976
Dr Who and the Daleks preview; Vancouver Sun, 11 September 1976
"Dr Who and the Deleks" (sic), 90 minutes?; Vancouver Express, 25 September 1976


After an eleven year gap, Doctor Who returned to Canada, skipping the entire Patrick Troughton era, and starting with Jon Pertwee.

A week after the 11 September 1976 screening of "Dr Who and the Daleks", CKVU commenced regular weekly broadcasts of the Doctor Who series from Saturday, 18 September 1976, at 10.00am. (TV Ontario also commenced regular weekly screenings on this same day, but in the later timeslot of 7.30pm, so CKVU became the first of the two stations to screen the Pertwee run.)

The first billing -- given as "Dr Who and the Daleks Contd" [sic] -- was for 10.00 to 11.00am, but the following week it was 10.00 to 11.30am. The next six were 10.00 to 11.00am. From 13 November 1976 through to the end of the run on 18 December 1976 the slot was for only half an hour, 10.30 to 11.00am. Presumably the hour-long slots were two episodes aired back to back. (The final six half-hour slots may have been filled by the only 6-parter of this batch, The Mutants.)

But as noted below (see TV Listings), it's actually possible that each serial was instead shown in full, either episodically or as an "omnibus" movie, starting earlier than 10am (and hence the actual start time is not published in the newspapers), and that explains the use of the word "Cont" printed in the 'grid': in this context, "Cont" could mean the "continuation" from the unpublished pre-10am portion of the 'grid'.

The 90 minute slot shown for the 25 September 1976 billing is either a printing error (they couldn't fit both entries for "Dr Who and the Deleks" in the same 'box' so they carried the text over into the 'box' beneath? – see image of billing below), or it's the longer than usual 'overflow' from prior to 10am -- maybe the sole 6-parter The Mutants?

This fourteen week run therefore consisted of either 22 or 23 episodes (this could be four 4-parters and one 6-parter, or one 4-parter and three 6-parters, or four 4-parters and one 7-parter), or if the series started prior to 10am, then a run of compilations or "omnibuses".

Taking into account what the BBC sales paperwork tells us, and the order in which the stories were "sold", we're leaning towards this run starting off with The Claws of Axos, Day of the Daleks, The Curse of Peladon, and The Mutants, but not necessarily screened in that order -- in fact with the first listing being "Dr Who and the Dalecks Cont" [sic] might mean that Day of the Daleks played first, and was seen as the continuation of the first Peter Cushing Dalek movie.

It's almost certain that The Claws of Axos and The Mutants were repeated during this run, with the later occupying the final six half hours?

After a seven month break, the series returned on Saturday, 9 July 1977, now in half hour slots at 10.30am (i.e. the second half of each 'grid'). The slot changed to 10.00am from 17 September 1977. For one single day -- 8 October 1977 -- "Dr Who" occupied the full 'grid', making the timeslot a full hour, 10.00 to 11.00am; this is either an indication that two episodes aired back to back, or it's a printing error.

It was back to half hours from 10.30am the following week, and remained in that timeslot through until 5 November 1977.

Due to the 8 October 1977 possible 'double-up', it is not clear exactly how many episodes aired in this second block; the episode count is therefore 18 or 19; we're leaning towards it being 18, as that is an even number in which three 4-parters and one 6-parter can fit.

This run would have included The Time Monster, The Green Death, Death to the Daleks, The Monster of Peladon and Planet of the Spiders. The ten 'missing' episodes must have aired before 10am either at the start or end of the 'block'.

Newspapers for the rest of 1977, all of 1978 and 1979 were checked, but there were no further listings for Doctor Who until September 1980.

It's doubtful that Doctor Who would have been off the air for three whole years, especially when factoring in comments made by Dean Shewring, who noted in TARDIS that the series was often pre-empted by sports and other shows, plus Ray Seredin's recollection of seeing Inferno on Saturday mornings in September 1979.

And given that the second batch package was purchased with three transmissions for all episodes, we feel sure that there were indeed further screenings of Doctor Who between November 1977 and September 1980 in timeslots prior to 10am that do not appear in the newspapers.

Listings for "Dr Who" return at 10am from Saturday, 6 September 1980, in half-hour slots. This twelve-week run ended on 22 November 1980. These would have been three 4-parters or two 6-parters. Accordingly to this COMMENT on an old "rec.arts.drwho" forum, one of these two serials may have been The Green Death, which the poster recalls seeing at 8.30am on a Saturday in September 1980. If the recalled timeslot is correct, then the series must have had several timeslot changes during the run. And of course any screenings prior to 10am are not covered by the newspapers.

Seven months later, from Saturday, 25 July 1981, now at the later time of 11.30am, Doctor Who returned for a non-stop (billed) run of 59 weeks, which ended on 4 September 1982.

These were likely all to be the remaining repeats being used. (And as noted above, these screenings may have been from master tapes acquired from Time-Life, which had ceased its distribution operation at the end of April 1981.)

This repeat run would have been still running when Dean Shewring wrote to the DWAS, and as he noted, there were often pre-emptions for sports, so some of the billed screenings may have been pre-empted.

Fate of the Tapes

CKVU's rights to screen Doctor Who ended in December 1982, and after the final repeat run in 1981-82 their tapes were sent to the BBC's offices in Toronto. (As we noted in 'Origin of the Tapes?' above, some of these may very well have been Time-Life's original duplicate masters.)

These tapes, along with some of the masters used by TVOntario, were then placed into BBC Toronto's warehouse storage depot.

In late 1982, a US fan wrote to producer John Nathan-Turner, advising that he had discovered that copies of Colony in Space and The Sea Devils were held by the BBC's sales office in Toronto. The BBC's archive selector, Sue Malden, was soon on the case, and in late November 1982, BBC Toronto provided her with a list of the tapes they held.

The inventory included the six Tom Baker stories from Season 16 (these were likely to be the original master tapes, as TVOntario had yet to repeat them, and would therefore still have their own transmission copies on file), plus several Jon Pertwee stories: The Claws of Axos, Colony in Space, Day of the Daleks, The Sea Devils, The Three Doctors, The Green Death, The Time Warrior, Death to the Daleks, The Monster of Peladon, and Planet of the Spiders. Many of these would have been ex-CKVU tapes.

Sue had already acquired copies of The Claws of Axos and Death to the Daleks part 1 in 1981 (see TVOntario) -- although these weren't necessarily the same tapes!

BBC Toronto arranged to ship the nine original NTSC tapes she was after to the UK, and in late February 1983, Sue received:

In mid-1983, Steve Bryant, who had by then replaced Sue Malden at the BBC archives, was informed by the US distributor, Lionheart, that they were currently selling the third Doctor series, and had borrowed tapes of Inferno from BBC Toronto for the latest US syndication package.

Inferno was not included in the inventory of ex-CKVU tapes held by BBC Toronto in 1982 (see above), so CKVU must have sent them to the Toronto office later on. But by October 1983, Bryant had received copies of:

TV Listings

One hour listing; Vancouver Sun, 18 September 1976
Generic one hour listing; Vancouver Sun, 6 November 1976
Airdates in Canada (CKVU)

TV listings have been obtained from Vancouver Express and the Vancouver Sun (Friday issues published the full TV schedules for that weekend and the following week). In all cases, the series was billed as "Dr Who". None of the listings gave a story title.

In both papers, the TV schedules were presented in a grid, with each 'square' representing an hour, with the square containing four rows of text, each being a 15 minute interval. An hour-long show would therefore be listed inside the square four times, a half-hour twice. Programmes of longer durations would carry over into the square below.

The grids for all channels started at 10am, but for those programmes that commenced prior to that hour and continued into 10am, the start time was sometimes printed on the first line of the grid. So a programme that started at say 8.30am, 9am or 9.30am, would have that time written as the top line of the 10am 'square'.

While none of the entries for "Dr Who" have an "overflow" prior to 10am, given the number of timeslot changes the series had (see above) it's not unexpected that some of the slots took the series "off the grid" before 10am.

For the "Movie: Dr Who and the Daleks", the listing filled one square, and half the next, which is 90 minutes; this means the film screened without commercial breaks. (The movie also had a preview in the same issue.)

For the following week's listing, the billing was given as "Dr Who and the Daleks Cont". It's unlikely this was still the same movie, or the 1966 sequel, as the next six listings also used the same unusual billing. (The word "Daleks" was misprinted as "Deleks" for these.)

As noted earlier, it is possible that the word "Cont" refers to the 'grid' itself -- with the 10am to 11am grid being a "continuation" of the unpublished pre-10am timeslot. If so, it's just possible that the 4-part serials were actually shown in full, either episodically or edited into "omnibus" movies, with a longer 90-minute slot overflowing from 8.30, 9am, or 9.30am into 10am.

From 6 November 1976, the billings were shortened to just "Dr Who", initially appearing four times inside the square (one hour) then from 13 November just on the third and fourth lines (half an hour).

According to Ray Seredin (above) he saw Inferno on a Saturday morning in September 1979, however no billings for the series could be found in the available papers, but as noted above, none of the published TV schedules have listings for any programmes prior to 10am, so it is more than very likely that several instalments of Doctor Who did screen earlier than 10am within some of the "gaps" we have no listings for.

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