Ghana

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GHANA is a small republic located in West Africa. It had been a British colony, before gaining its independence in 1957. It is a member of the British Commonwealth.

Profile

Country Number (19?) 1966 FIRST WAVE
Region Africa Commonwealth
Television commenced 1965
Colour System 1980 PAL
Population 1966 7 million
TV Sets 1966 1,000
Language/s English

Television Stations / Channels

Ghana began its television service in 1954. In 1965 there was just one television station, Ghana Radio and Television Corporation (GTV). PAL colour transmissions began in 1980 using the PAL colour broadcast system.

In 1964/65, only one thousand televisions sets were registered for a population of more than seven million.

On 23 May 1989, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation's audio visual library was all but destroyed when a fire broke out. TV news coverage of the fire, and a video of the remains of the building shot 20 years later, can be seen here: GBC FIRE.


DOCTOR WHO IN GHANA

We are not sure exactly when Doctor Who commenced on GTV, but Ghana was – we think – the 19th country (the sixth in Africa) to broadcast Doctor Who (Selling Doctor Who)


BBC Records

The Stanmark Productions Ltd advertisement from 1966, identifies Ghana as one of the sixteen countries screening Doctor Who in that year.

Ghana is named in the list of 27 countries in The Making of Doctor Who 1972 Piccolo edition.

Doctor Who - The Seventies records sale of "(5)" stories. Doctor Who - The Handbook identifies these as being the first five William Hartnell stories.

DWM also identifies the same five stories.


Stories bought and broadcast

WILLIAM HARTNELL

Five stories, 26 episodes:

Dr Who, 11 July 1966 – what episode is this?
A An Unearthly Child 4
B The Daleks 7
C Inside the Spaceship 2
D Marco Polo 7
E The Keys of Marinus 6

Ghana therefore bought just the first Group of William Hartnell stories. (Canada and Bermuda were two other countries to screen but 'drop' the series after only the first five stories.)

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

Origin of the Prints?

Without the actual fixed start date for Doctor Who in Ghana, it's impossible to determine where the prints were sourced. But there are three likely sources:

  • Nigeria, where the same five serials had aired between August 1965 and January 1966.
  • Both Canada and Bermuda only ever screened the same set of 26 episodes. Of the two, since Bermuda's prints may have stayed within the Caribbean, Canada is the more likely.


PATRICK TROUGHTON HOAX

"Power..." in Ghana hoax; DWB107

In late 1992, it was reported in DWB (issues #105 and #107) that The Power of the Daleks had been shown in Ghana in 1986, but that the Ghana TV film library had been destroyed in a fire in 1989.

Although the report of the screening of that serial was later revealed to have been a hoax (the perpetrators had chosen Ghana as it was the most obscure place they could think of!), the fire that destroyed the film library was an actual event, and archival news footage of the 23 May 1989 tragedy can be seen HERE.


Transmission

WILLIAM HARTNELL

Due to inconsistent listings (see below), the first known Ghanaian airdate for Doctor Who was on Monday, 11 July 1966, at 9.30pm. The last listed episode was six weeks later, on 15 August 1966. Three of the other four known timeslots were 8.45pm.

BUT it is not known whether these dates are at the beginning, the middle or the end of the 26 episode run. If they were at the start, and the series aired without a break, then it ended in January 1967. If it is at the end of the run, then the series would have commenced in February 1966...

BBC Records indicate that Ghana bought all five serials by 26 January 1966, which certainly ties in with an early 1966 start.

None of the available 1965 and 1966 editions of the Ghana Radio & Television Times have listings for the series, so clearly it cannot have debuted until after April 1966.

Of particular note, the 26 April 1966 issue of the UK paper the Daily Mirror carries an interview with William Hartnell ("Oh, the Agony of being Dr Who"), in which it says "Canadians, Maltese and Ghanaians all send him fan-mail..." (See Peter Haining's Doctor Who – The Key to Time for the text from the Daily Mirror article; another version of the same article can be found on our profile page for Zambia.)

So, if fans in Ghana were writing to him as early as April 1966, then the series must have started between 25 March and 25 April. (But with registered television sets numbering only 1,000 in 1965, there could only have been a very small number of letters coming from Ghana!)

There is no clear indication that Ghana aired Doctor Who again, even after the introduction of PAL colour in 1980.

Fate of the Prints?

It's likely that Ghana sent the 26 films prints to nearby Sierra Leone, where the series commenced from 12 April 1967.

Alternatively, if the films had been sourced from there, they may have been returned to Nigeria.


TV listings

"Dr Who", 1 August 1966
Airdates in Ghana
← AIRDATES ...... (CLICK ICON TO GO TO TABLE SHOWING EPISODE BREAKDOWN AND AIRDATES - N/S = listing Not Specific)

TV listings have been obtained from the newspaper Ghana Daily Graphic. For the five listings found, the programmes was billed as Dr Who or "Dr Who", complete with punctuation.

There were no TV listings available prior to July 1965. The newspaper did have TV listings from September 1965 to July 1966 but there was so sign of Doctor Who. There were, however, quite a few regular billings saying "To Be Announced", which could well have been Doctor Who, although with 26 episodes to air, how long would a TV station continue to be unsure of what they were screening each week?

The newspapers for the four weeks prior to 11 July 1966 are held, but on 13 June, the 9.30pm timeslot was filled by coverage of a sports event; while for both 20 and 27 June, the listings stop at 7.30pm; and there were no TV listings in the 4 July issue.

From 22 August, TV listings disappeared completely for the rest of the year and into 1967.

Also checked were the available editions from 30 July 1965 to 25 March 1966 of the Ghana Radio & Television Times, but none contained listings for Doctor Who, so the earliest the series could have commenced is Monday, 28 March 1966.

We are therefore not sure whether these five listings are near the start or the middle of the full 26 episode run. Our Airdates table therefore reflects two options: the series starting in circa 28 March, placing the five known screenings mid-way; and a start in July 1966, with the run concluding circa January 1967.


Ghana in Doctor Who

  • In episode four of The Chase, the box office outside the Frankenstein’s House of Horror exhibit declares that it is part of the 1996 "Festival of Ghana".


Links