Hong Kong

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HONG KONG is a small country on the south coast of China, in southeast Asia; it was a British colony until 1997.

Profile

Country Number (17) 1966 FIRST WAVE
Region Asia Commonwealth
Television commenced 29 May 1957
Colour System 1970 PAL
Population 1966 3.8 million
TV Sets 1966 46,000
TV Sets 1974 635,000
Language/s English Chinese subtitles

Television Stations / Channels

RTV Hong Kong headquarters

Hong Kong's first television service commenced on 29 May 1957, a closed-circuit colour 405 line cable-only station, Rediffusion TV Hong Kong (RTV). This was the first ever British Empire colony to introduce a colour television service.

In November 1967, rival free-to-air broadcaster TVB commenced operations. This broadcaster introduced full colour PAL service in 1970.

On 6 April 1973, Rediffusion Television was renamed Rediffusion Television Limited, and replaced its cable service with free-to-air terrestrial broadcasts.

Doctor Who aired on RTV's English channel between 1966 and 1980.

In March 1981, 61% of RTV was sold to an Australian consortium. In July 1982, the remaining shares were sold to a Chinese company, thus ending RTV's British influence, and the broadcaster was renamed Asia Television Limited (ATV).

On the morning of 24 November 1987, a major fire broke out at ATV, destroying studios as well as general files and records. It was probably during the clean-up and rebuilding of the facilities that the film prints for The Tomb of the Cybermen were discovered…

A brief history of RTV can be read here.


Language/s

The principal languages of Hong Kong are English, Mandarin and Cantonese. RTV operated two channels – RTV (Chinese) and RTV (English) – each carrying programmes in those languages.


DOCTOR WHO IN HONG KONG

Hong Kong was the 17th country to screen Doctor Who; and the fourth in Asia (see Selling Doctor Who).


BBC Records

Film reel for The Web of Fear ep4 with RTV Hong Kong label

The Stanmark Productions Ltd advertisement from 1966, identifies Hong Kong as one of sixteen countries screening Doctor Who by January 1966.

Hong Kong is named in the list of 27 countries in The Making of Doctor Who (1972 Piccolo edition).

The Seventies records a sale of "(53)" stories by 28 February 1977. This figure is incorrect due to two duplications, so the true title should be 51.

The Handbook correctly identifies 29 as: Hartnell: A, C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, L; and Troughton: FF, GG, HH, JJ, KK, LL, MM, NN, OO, PP, QQ, RR, SS, TT, UU, VV, WW, XX, ZZ. The other 22 stories are: Pertwee: AAA, BBB, CCC, EEE, GGG, KKK, LLL, MMM, NNN, OOO, PPP, QQQ, RRR, SSS, UUU, XXX, YYY, ZZZ; and Baker: 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D.

The Eighties - THE LOST CHAPTERS records a sale of "(34)" stories (by 10 February 1987). This has an overlap of the same 18 Pertwees and 4 Bakers, plus 12 additional stories. However, Hong Kong only screened 33 stories from these two Doctors, which means the 1987 total is out by one. This is due either to one story being purchased but not screening, or it's simply an addition error.

In DWM, Hong Kong is identified in 59 story Archives: the same 51 as noted above, plus: 4E, 4G, 4H, 4J, 4K, 4M, 4N and 4P. The years of sale are given as being from 1965 to 1979.


Stories bought and broadcast

WILLIAM HARTNELL

Dr Who starring William Hartnell, 1967
Dr Who and the Underwater Menace, April 1969
Dr Who and the Moonbase, May 1969
Dr Who – The Evil of the Daleks, August 1969
Dr Who – Tomb of the Cybermen, listing from 3 October 1969 – but replaced with The Abominable Snowmen
Dr Who and the Abominable Snowmen, October 1969
Dr Who and the Ice Warriors, December 1969
Dr Who and The Enemy of the World, January 1970
Dr Who and the Fury from the Deep Sea (sic), 12 June 1970
Dr Who and The Wheel in Space, February 1970
Dr Who "The Dominators", 14 August 1970
Dr who and the Ambassadors of Death, 2 March 1972
Dr Who: "The Ark in Space", January 1977
Dr Who: "Revenge of the Cybermen", 14 February 1977
Five O'Clock Club line-up, including Doctor Who, 7 February 1979
Fire at ATV, as reported in a Singapore newspaper dated 25 November 1987

Eleven stories, 53 episodes:

A An Unearthly Child 4
B The Daleks 7
C Inside the Spaceship 2
D Marco Polo 7
E The Keys of Marinus 6
F The Aztecs 4
G The Sensorites 6
H The Reign of Terror 6
J Planet of Giants 3
K The Dalek Invasion of Earth 6
L The Rescue 2

Hong Kong therefore bought GROUP A, B and C, the standard package of the first eleven William Hartnell stories.

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

Origin of the Prints?

It is known that the prints for Marco Polo and The Keys of Marinus were sent to Hong Kong from Cyprus.

Singapore was the previous Asian country to screen the first eleven William Hartnell stories, so it’s possible that Hong Kong was sent the other stories shortly after transmission in Singapore.

So, why did Singapore not also supply Hong Kong with prints of the fourth and fifth serials? By late 1966, Singapore may have already sent Marco Polo to New Zealand, and since the NZBC did not also purchase The Keys of Marinus, it was practical for the same country to supply both stories to Hong Kong, and consequently Cyprus was instructed to supply the prints to RTV.


PATRICK TROUGHTON

Twenty stories, 113 episodes, with some played out of order:

FF The Highlanders 4
GG The Underwater Menace 4
HH The Moonbase 4
JJ The Macra Terror 4
KK The Faceless Ones 6
LL The Evil of the Daleks 7
NN The Abominable Snowmen 6
OO The Ice Warriors 6
PP The Enemy of the World 6
SS The Wheel in Space 6
QQ The Web of Fear 6
RR Fury from the Deep 6
MM The Tomb of the Cybermen 4
TT The Dominators 5
UU The Mind Robber 5
VV The Invasion 8
WW The Krotons 4
XX The Seeds of Death 6
YY The Space Pirates 6
ZZ The War Games 10

Hong Kong therefore bought GROUPs B to F of the Patrick Troughton stories. The Power of the Daleks was not available, due to the serial having been withdrawn during 1967.

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

Origin of the Prints?

The first five Troughton stories may have been sent from Singapore. With the remaining Troughtons, for which Hong Kong was the second country after Australia to screen them, they were most likely supplied with brand new prints from the BBC (via BBC Sydney?).


JON PERTWEE

Nineteen stories, 98 episodes:

AAA Spearhead from Space 4
BBB Doctor Who and the Silurians 7
CCC The Ambassadors of Death 7
EEE Terror of the Autons 4
GGG The Claws of Axos 4
HHH Colony in Space 6
KKK Day of the Daleks 4
LLL The Sea Devils 6
MMM The Curse of Peladon 4
NNN The Mutants 6
OOO The Time Monster 6
PPP Carnival of Monsters 4
QQQ Frontier in Space 6
RRR The Three Doctors 4
SSS Planet of the Daleks 6
UUU The Time Warrior 4
XXX Death to the Daleks 4
YYY The Monster of Peladon 6
ZZZ Planet of the Spiders 6

Hong Kong therefore bought GROUPs A to E of the Jon Pertwee stories, minus the five stories (30 episodes) that had been censor-rejected in Australia, and therefore were not available to other Commonwealth countries at the time.

The programme was supplied as 16mm black and white film prints with English soundtracks, and four stories as PAL colour video tapes with English soundtracks.

Origin of the Prints?

It is worth noting that although RTV could broadcast colour when it commenced in 1957, it would have been limited for choice when it came to colour material. But when the first four seasons of Jon Pertwee's Doctor Who episodes were provided by BBC Sydney, they were in black and white. Presumably Hong Kong could not be supplied with colour PAL tapes for the early Pertwees because they were not compatible with their 405-line system. (RTV commenced its PAL 625-line system in 1975.)

Seasons seven and ten were therefore bicycled in from Singapore. Seasons eight and nine were supplied directly to Hong Kong from the BBC.


TOM BAKER

Fourteen stories, 58 episodes:

4A Robot 4
4B The Sontaran Experiment 2
4C The Ark in Space 4
4D Revenge of the Cybermen 4
4E Genesis of the Daleks 6
4F Terror of the Zygons 4
4G Pyramids of Mars 4
4H Planet of Evil 4
4J The Android Invasion 4
4K The Brain of Morbius 4
4L The Seeds of Doom 6
4M The Masque of Mandragora 4
4N The Hand of Fear 4
4P The Deadly Assassin 4

Hong Kong therefore bought GROUP A, B and part of C of the Tom Baker stories.

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

Origin of the Tapes?

Brunei aired the final five Tom Baker stories – The Brain of Morbius to The Deadly Assassin only a few months ahead, so Brunei may have supplied the tapes for those five.


Transmission

WILLIAM HARTNELL

The series started on Tuesday, 26 April 1966, at 6.30pm. The series aired at the same timeslot until 16 May 1967, just over a year later. However, there are 56 airdates for only 53 episodes, which suggests that three episodes were pre-empted or delayed during the run. None of the listings are identified by title in the newspapers, so we can only assume that the stories aired in the correct order.

Marco Polo and The Keys of Marinus had been shipped to RTV from Cyprus (there's a short crossover of dates, so it would have to be as each serial concluded rather than both together). Cyprus had a one week delay airing episode 6 of Marco Polo, which would have delayed delivery of the full serial to Hong Kong by a week anyway; presumably delivery was further delayed by two more weeks.

The three pre-emptions may have even occurred at the start of the run: had the series' debut been delayed by three weeks due to the non-arrival of the films – just as had been the case with Rhodesia / Zimbabwe and Zambia? Or were three of the scheduled screenings dropped to allow for other programming, such as at Christmas / New Year 1966/67?


Fate of the Prints?

Hong Kong may have sent the eleven serials / 53 episodes to Thailand, on a story-by-story basis rather than as a complete batch, where they screened only a few months later. (By the time Hong Kong had screened The Rescue, Thailand was airing The Reign of Terror.



PATRICK TROUGHTON

Two full years later, on Friday, 7 March 1969, at 6.05pm, the series returned – but with Patrick Troughton as the Doctor. The Power of the Daleks did not screen in Hong Kong, so viewers were offered no on-screen explanation for the change in appearance of the lead character.

This run lasted 116 weeks, just over two full years – with only three weeks on which no episodes screened; two of these being Christmas 1969 and 1970; the other in September 1969. The series started with The Highlanders, and ran at the same 6.05pm time for all but two weeks in January 1971.

The entire Troughton era was played in one long run, albeit with the season five stories out of order: The Abominable Snowmen followed The Evil of the Daleks; The Wheel in Space came before The Web of Fear, and The Tomb of the Cybermen came after Fury from the Deep.

There are eight weeks billed for The Evil of the Daleks during August and September 1969, which suggests that one of these was pre-empted.

It appears that The Tomb of the Cybermen was originally scheduled to play after The Evil of the Daleks – it was billed on 3 and 10 October, but it's clear from the fact that only four episode of the next story, The Abominable Snowmen, are listed indicates that Tomb had been dropped and replaced by the Yeti story.

(One possible explanation for this is that RTV erroneously sent The Tomb of the Cybermen to Singapore at the same time as The Evil of the Daleks. RTS Singapore aired it first, then returned the prints to RTV, where they screened out of sequence a few months later.)

There are no further billings for The Tomb of the Cybermen, however there are four weeks in June / July 1970 that are not identified by story title, falling between Fury from the Deep and The Dominators.

This two-year run ended on 21 May 1971.

Fate of the Prints

All the season four serials probably went to Zambia.

The RTV forwarded its prints of The Evil of the Daleks, season five and the first four season six serials to RTS in Singapore almost immediately after broadcast (The Web of Fear was assessed by RTS on 6 May 1970). Four of the Troughton serials eventually ended up at Benue Plateau TV in Nigeria, where they aired 1974/75.

Two of those serials (bar episode three of The Web of Fear) were subsequently located in Nigeria (still in their RTV film cans), and returned to the BBC in 2013.

(The very fact that the ex-Hong Kong prints were located in Nigeria indicates that the first episode of The Web of Fear that the BBC already held in 1976 did not come from Hong Kong, as had been thought previously. It's far more likely that that particular print had instead come from Zambia, or was the one returned from Australia in 1975…)

RTV retained its copies of The Tomb of the Cybermen. On 8 January 1992, the station -- now called Asia TV -- returned all four prints to the BBC. (The films had probably been found during the clear-up stage at the studios following the major fire that broke out at the station on 24 November 1987.)

The last three stories of season six probably went to Zambia.



JON PERTWEE

Seven months after Troughton's final episode, Jon Pertwee debuted on Tuesday, 2 November 1971, at 6.30pm, Four weeks later, the series shifted to Thursdays, at 6.05pm.

The 18 week run ended on 2 March 1972, with part seven of The Ambassadors of Death. (Inferno did not air, due to censorship issues in Australia.)

A year later, on 1 February 1973, the series returned, on Thursdays at 6.05pm. This 39 week / 40 episode run included seasons eight and nine in black and white; with the exception of two stories that had been "banned" in Australia, and thus were not available to Commonwealth countries: The Mind of Evil and The Daemons.

Parts five and six of The Time Monster aired back to back on 25 October 1973.

It was during this run – on 1 June 1973 - that RTV's cable service was replaced by its free-to-air terrestrial broadcasts. This switch would have occurred between Day of the Daleks and The Curse of Peladon.

By this time, Hong Kong was screening new episodes only one year after the original UK screening.

On 23 April 1974 – only a year after the season had aired in the UK - Carnival of Monsters opened the next run of 20 episodes, which screened in production order. These episodes would still have been in black and white.

All episodes played on Tuesdays, starting at 6.10pm, but with the last six episodes at 6.05pm. As had been the case the year before, Commonwealth countries again missed out on a story due to censorship issues in Australia; therefore this run ended not with The Green Death, but Planet of the Daleks part six on 3 September 1974.

On Wednesday, 14 May 1975, at the earlier time of 5.50pm, the next run of 24 episodes, starting with The Time Warrior – which had aired in the UK only a year earlier – commenced. It is almost a certainty that all the episodes in this run were broadcast in colour, as the BBC was only offering and supplying these serials in that format.

Invasion of the Dinosaurs was skipped because it was not being offered for sale.

No episode aired on 10 September 1975; Hong Kong viewers watched Jon Pertwee regenerate into Tom Baker on 1 October 1975...

Fate of the Prints?

The first three Pertwee serials were either sent back to the BBC or destroyed.

The season eight and nine serials were likely sent to Singapore, while the four season ten serials were bicycled to Gibraltar.



TOM BAKER

The Tom Baker era began the following week, on 8 October 1975. Four weeks later, the run of episodes ended. As far as can be determined, Hong Kong was the second foreign country (the Netherlands being the first) to see Tom Baker episodes after the UK...

Just over a year later, on Monday, 27 December 1976, at 6.00pm, a 10-week run commenced, with the next three season 12 stories playing in production order. This run ended on 28 February 1977, with part four of Revenge of the Cybermen.

21 months later, on Wednesday, 22 November 1978, Doctor Who returned. But rather than playing on its own in the early evening, as it had done so during the last 12 years, the series was included in the line-up of The Five O'Clock Club, which ran from 5.00pm to 5.55pm or 6.10pm, and which mostly featured animated cartoon series for children. The first serial is identified as Genesis of the Daleks, so the remaining 18 episodes of the 22 episode run would be from season 13.

A year later, from Sunday, 4 May 1980, Doctor Who was back on its own, no longer part of The Five O'Clock Club (which had been renamed Whiz Kid's Time on 2 July 1979). The opening story (at 5.35pm) was The Brain of Morbius. The run ended after 22 weeks, on 28 September 1980. BBC Records indicate that the final story to screen in Hong Kong was The Deadly Assassin. (As noted above, the tapes of these five may have been supplied by Brunei.)

However, during the 22 week run between 4 May and 28 September, three of the TV listings (15 June, 13 and 20 July) do not include Doctor Who – instead Worzel Gummidge (ironically, starring Jon Pertwee!) and sports events were listed. Further episodes of Worzel Gummidge did play later in the year, so it's most likely that Doctor Who did air on these two dates, otherwise we are short two episodes.

Publications for 1980 to 1985 have been checked, but there was no clear record that Hong Kong screened Doctor Who after 1980. RTV ceasing being a British-owned company in 1981, which would certainly account for the type of programming that aired on RTV changing.


TV listings

Airdates in Hong Kong
← AIRDATES ...... (CLICK ICON TO GO TO TABLE SHOWING EPISODE BREAKDOWN AND AIRDATES - N/S = listing Not Specific)

TV Listings have been obtained mainly from the South China Morning Post and the Hong Kong Standard for the 1960s and 1970s listings, and Hong Kong TV & Entertainment Times for the 1980s.


1960s

Listings gave the series name as "Dr Who". None of the listings in the South China Morning Post for the William Hartnell run had titles; the last five just said "Dr Who, starring William Hartnell".

For the Patrick Troughton stories, most of the episodes are named, usually with "Dr Who and the..." or "Dr Who -- ..." in the listings.

Both the South China Morning Post and Hong Kong Standard have eight listings for The Evil of the Daleks, so it's clear that one episode was pre-empted. For 3 and 10 October 1969, both papers have The Tomb of the Cybermen listed, but it's clear that The Abominable Snowmen must have aired instead.


1970s

On 27 March 1970, The Enemy of the World was listed instead of The Web of Fear part one. (Ironically, both stories being ones returned to the BBC in 2013!)

Both the South China Morning Post and Hong Kong Standard named Fury from the Deep part six as "Dr Who and the Fury from the Deep Sea".

Neither paper identifies the four-parter that aired from 19 June to 10 July, but this must have been The Tomb of the Cybermen.

Both papers identify part five of The Dominators, while only the Hong Kong Standard identifies the final six Troughton stories by name.

The Hong Kong Standard names Doctor Who and the Silurians, while both name The Ambassadors of Death part seven.

The South China Morning Post names the all the Pertwee stories in the 1973 run, except for The Time Monster, which is identified in Hong Kong Standard. That paper also notes that parts five and six of the story aired back to back on 25 October. The Morning Post incorrectly prints The Mutants in place of The Sea Devils on 5 July.

Only the Hong Kong Standard identifies the stories that aired in 1974, with "Carnival of the Monsters" given for all four parts of that story. The paper also states that it stars "Bill Pertwee as the indestructible Dr Who"!

For the 1975 run, the South China Morning Post only says "A Science Fiction Adventure with Dr Who" (or slight variations), whereas the Hong Kong Standard gives the titles for most of the episodes: The Time Warrior is not named, but the synopsis for the first episode says the Doctor travels "back in history in the England of the Middle Ages".

For the 1976/77 run, both papers identify different episodes by name; in the case of the Morning Post, it sometimes only gives a brief story synopsis rather than title.

For the episodes that aired during The Five O'Clock Club, no specific story titles are given in the listings; however the 22-28 November issue of the Hong Kong TV & Entertainment Times magazine had in its TV section a brief preview of the series: "Return of Dr Who" – That old favourite of the pre-teen set, the BBC's perennial Dr Who, returns on Wednesday to RTV's Five O'Clock Club with the story The Genesis of the Daleks."


1980s

The Hong Kong TV & Entertainment Times identifies the 1980 run of episodes for the first six episodes only. The next sixteen are not named.

The last episode of the run – on 28 September 1980 – simply says "(Final)"


Links