France

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FRANCE is in western Europe.

Profile

Country Number (63?) 1989 THIRD WAVE
Region Europe
Television commenced 1949
Colour System 1967 SECAM
TV Sets 1990 22 million
Language/s French


Television Stations / Channels

France began its television service in 1949. Colour transmissions with the SECAM system commenced in 1967. All foreign television programmes are dubbed into French.

Doctor Who was initially broadcast by Television Francaise (TF1), on Channel 1.

The TV Movie aired on France 2 in 1997.

France 4 aired one serial from the classic series in May 2012 as a prelude to the New Series.


DOCTOR WHO IN FRANCE (DOCTEUR WHO)

France was about the 63rd country to screen Doctor Who.


DALEK MOVIES

PETER CUSHING Movies

French Movie poster

The two Peter Cushing Dalek films played in French cinemas during the 1960s:

  • "DR WHO CONTRE LES DALEKS"
  • "LES DALEKS ENVAHISSENT LA TERRE".
Dalek Invasion Earth 2150 AD; 18 May 1990

The films have also aired on French television:

On Friday, 18 May 1990, at 11.10pm, the French channel RTL aired "LES DALEKS ENVAHISSENT LA TERRE".

The second of the two Dalek movies was also shown on pay-TV channel, Canal+, on 3 May 2000 (at 8.30am), at 7.15am on 20 May 2000, and again on 22 May 2000 at 1.55am.


SELLING DOCTOR WHO TO FRANCE

The BBC made several attempts over the years to sell Doctor Who to France:

  • February 1977: At the annual Brighton BBC Showcase, the BBC was unsuccessful in luring European buyers to pick up the series. "TOO TERRIFYING FOR EUROPE" was the press reaction (see Europe for clipping.)
  • September 1979: In a letter to French writer, Jean-Marc Lofficier, producer Graham Williams informs him that France is to be offered the series again "later this year".
  • 1979-1981: Lofficier pens The Doctor Who Programme Guide, a side-project he developed while researching for an article about the series for French genre magazine, L'Ecran Fantastique (PROGRAMME GUIDE)
Generic Temps X billing
  • 1986: Alain Carrazé, executive producer for the 'magazine' programme Temps X, tries to interest channel TF1 into buying Doctor Who. He convinces them to let him make a documentary about the series…
Colin Baker on Temps X, Who is Who, 1986
  • May 1986: A French film crew for Temps X visits the BBC studios to film segments for Who is Who, the 16 minute documentary about the series, and interviews the cast and crew during the filming of serial 7B of The Trial of a Time Lord (aka "Mindwarp"). A short segment is also filmed a week or so later featuring fans at the Forbidden Planet specialty store in London. (The DWAS newsletter Celestial Toyroom (July 1986) carries a full report of the shoot, complete with break down of elements used in the final production.)
  • February 1987: Despite the gallant efforts of Alain Carrazé, TF1 passes on screening the series as presented. The fully dubbed episodes languish in a storage vault...
French novelisation covers
French novelisation reverse covers
  • 1987: Although the series was no longer to feature as part of the Temps X line-up, eight novelisations translated into French by Editions Garanciére were published, with covers adorned with the images of "Temps X" hosts Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff:


  • 19 February 1989: After a very long delay of several years, Carrazé's editions of Doctor Who finally make it onto French television screens, airing as part of the Club Dorothée Dimanche Sunday morning cartoon line-up - but even then, its journey was far from plain-sailing... (see Transmission below...)
  • TIME SCREEN: A full account of Carrazé's struggle to get Doctor Who onto French television was published in issue #17 of Time Screen magazine (cover dated Spring 1991). The full article can be read here:


When Doctor Who finally aired in France, it joined the many European countries of the THIRD WAVE of sales in the late 1980s (see Selling Doctor Who). It was roughly the 63rd country to screen the series.


BBC Records

In DWM issue 52 (May 1981), there is a report that an omnibus edition of "La Genèse des Daleks" (Genesis of the Daleks) had screened in France, but there is no solid evidence that such a broadcast ever took place.

Since Doctor Who was sold to France in late 1986, it is not named in the 1987 memo that appears in The Eighties – THE LOST CHAPTERS.

In DWM, France is identified in 8 story Archives: 4A, 4D, 4E, 4F, 4H, 4G, 4J, 4K.


Stories bought and broadcast

TOM BAKER

Six stories, 26 episodes:

La Revanche des Cybernators, 30 April 1989
4A Robot Robot 4
4C The Ark in Space L'Arche de l'Espace 4
4E Genesis of the Daleks La Genèse des Daleks 6
4D Revenge of the Cybermen La Revanche des Cybernators 4
4F Terror of the Zygons La Terreur des Zygons 4
4H Planet of Evil La Planète Diabolique 4

With the following possibly purchased but not screened:

4B The Sontaran Experiment (unknown) 2
4G Pyramids of Mars (unknown) 4
4J The Android Invasion (unknown) 4
4K The Brain of Morbius (unknown) 4
4L The Seeds of Doom (unknown) 6


France therefore bought part of GROUPs A and B of the Tom Baker stories.

According to a posting on the French Doctor Who fan forum GALLIFRANCE, only these six stories / 26 episodes were purchased and aired:

But it would appear that this is just a summary of just those serials that went to air rather than the full package that was acquired by TF1.

The programme was supplied as PAL colour video tapes. TF1 prepared, recorded and dubbed full French soundtracks. The voice for the Doctor was provided by Jacques Ferrièr, and Ian Marter was (apparently) dubbed by Maurice Sarfati.

Composer Dudley Simpson provided new music cues, including for the serials for which he did not originally provide a score. (In the interview with Simpson in DWB issue 57 (August 1988), he says "BBC Enterprises asked me into their offices for a chat about the sale of the early Tom Baker's to France. They couldn't lift the voices off from the music track (they had to redub all the dialogue into French you see) and so they'd got the filmed stuff but without the music track and they couldn't find a copy of my music anywhere so I've had to lay down a completely new score for them on tape which will go on with the French dialogue".)

For the opening titles, as the words DOCTOR WHO appear, the voice over (again, Maurice Sarfati) announces "Doctor Who-who-who-who" which fades as the logo moves away.




Fate of the Tapes?

The French-dubbed video tapes of the Baker stories were apparently sent to the Canadian station TVO, which aired French language programmes on Sundays in the early 1990s. The tapes for "La Genèse des Daleks" surfaced again when France 4 aired a special "La Nuit Doctor Who" on 19 May 2012.



"Le Seigneur du Temps", 18 March 1997 (Le France-Soir)

SYLVESTER McCOY

PAUL McGANN

TV Movie, 84 minutes:

TVM The TV Movie Le Seigneur du Temps : Docteur Who : Le Film

Transmission

Docteur Who listing 9.00am
Docteur Who Serie listing 6.34am

TOM BAKER

After a very long delay (see the chronology above), the series finally started on Sunday, 19 February 1989, at 9.00am, part of the line-up of CLUB DOROTHÉE DIMANCHE (CDD) children's programmes – the scheduled timeslot for CDD ran from 8.15 to 10.30am on Sundays, with "Docteur Who" appearing between 9.00 to 9.30am, or 8.55 to 9.25am.

The first serial was Genesis of the Daleks. However, after only a few episodes had gone out, the series was dropped from the CDD line-up. (The three newspapers we accessed don't agree whether "Docteur Who" aired 19 or 26 March – two of them list "Docteur Who" for 19 March, and the one that doesn't instead lists it on 26 March.)

After it had been dropped from the Sunday line-up, the series returned on Saturday, 8 April, in the new graveyard slot of 6.37am (the scheduled timeslot then fluctuated between 6.34 and 6.39am for the rest of the run; although the three papers don't always agree on the time; Alain Carrazé incorrectly stated this was 7.00am in his Timescreen article). From 16 April, a second episode aired on Sundays, at the same fluctuating time, now just prior to CDD.

According to Alain Carrazé, the second and third serials to air were The Ark in Space followed by Robot. However, the Le Monde listing for 30 April 1989 has Revenge of the Cybermen for that day.

The "Télé-VISIONS" site records an episode of Terror of the Zygons on 21 May 1989, and an episode of Planet of Evil was on 1 June 1989.

However, placing the stories into that order and aligning them with the Télé-VISIONS airdates doesn't quite work, so we have placed Revenge of the Cybermen between The Ark in Space and Robot – which may have been what aired on 21 May rather than Terror of the Zygons - on our Airdates table.

France-Soir, but not the other two papers, listed an episode on Saturday, 24 June 1989. We assume this was the last episode to air otherwise the series ended part way through the final serial -- which of course is entirely possible!

Allowing for the not-necessarily-accurate newspaper listings, a total of 26 episodes are listed, which is five 4-parters and one 6-parter.

23 years later, Genesis of the Daleks received a repeat screening on Saturday, 19 May 2012, as part of France 4's La Nuit Doctor Who which launched the start of the New Series on that channel.


  • A run down of the French episodes and titles can be found HERE.



PAUL McGANN

Screen grabs of title captions for "Le Seigneur du Temps"
The French Doctors: Pierre Hatet and Pierre-François Pistorio

The 1996 TV Movie aired on channel France 2 on Tuesday, 18 March 1997, at the very late time of 11.00pm – its on-screen title was "LE SEIGNEUR DU TEMPS DOCTEUR WHO : LE FILM" (The Lord of Time / The Time Lord).

For the French dubs, the following actors voiced the lead roles:

  • Pierre Hatet (for Sylvester McCoy)
  • Pierre-François Pistorio (for Paul McGann)
  • Céline Monsarrat (for Daphne Ashbrook)
  • Patrick Floersheim (for Eric Roberts)


Additional credits for the French version:

  • Version Française : Karina Films [Dubbing studio]
  • Direction Artistique : Claudio Ventura [artistic director]
  • Texte Français : Jacqueline Cohen [Adaptation]








TV listings

Airdates in France
← AIRDATES ...... (CLICK ICON TO GO TO TABLE SHOWING EPISODE BREAKDOWN AND AIRDATES - N/S = listing Not Specific)
Serie Docteur Who listing 9.00am

TV listings have been obtained from the Parisian newspapers Le Monde, France-Soir and Le Parisien Libre. Of note, all three papers give slightly different timeslots for when the series aired.

All listings give the series name as "<<Docteur Who>>" or "Docteur Who", sometimes with the addition of Série. Only one billing in Le Monde gave a story title – La revanche des cybernators [sic] on 30 April 1989.


Websites

There are several French fan sites:


France in Doctor Who


Links