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The PHILIPPINES is an archipelago of islands in the Pacific Ocean, to the south of Japan, and north of Australia.


Country Number (39) 1976 SECOND WAVE
Region Asia
Television commenced 1953
Colour System 1966 NTSC
Population 1976 40,225,000
TV Sets 1974 450,000
Language/s English

Television Stations / Channels

ABS-CBN channel 2 on which Doctor Who screened

Doctor Who has been aired in the Philippines by three different broadcasters:

In 1953, the Philippines was the first country in Asia to commence television broadcasts, with the ABS–CBN operating a network of transmitters across the islands.

In the 1970s, Doctor Who was screened by ABS-CBN on (at least) two of the islands: on Luzon, from Quezon City (Channel 2 – also known as BBC2, not to be confused with the British channel!), and on Negros, from Bacolod (Channel 4 / BBC4). (The series may well have aired on the other islands, but we don't have those airdates.)

ABS-CBN was, in its day, a major Philippine broadcaster, which later ran afoul of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos and first lady Imelda Marcos during the long period of martial law post-1972. ABS-CBN 2 returned to the air by mid-1987 but was a shell of its former self until it was built back up, eventually becoming a powerhouse broadcaster.

In 1986, Doctor Who was available in the Philippines on the American Armed Forces Network's Far East Network (FEN) – this is covered in the separate profile for that cable station.

A year or so later, Doctor Who appeared on DZBB-TV aka GMA TV 7, part of the GMA Network.

The third TV station to be established in the Philippines (in 1961), GMA would legally purchase the rights to TV shows from a local distributor but instead of using the duped down copies that were usually provided, programmes were instead recorded off the air from stations in the US on broadcast-quality tapes and shipped over to Quezon City, which gave GMA vastly superior picture quality over its rivals. (These broadcasts often still had local US TV station graphics on them!) This eventually got them into trouble with the Philippine Government as they were by-passing Asian companies and getting tapes from the USA even though they were supposed to acquire them locally.

GMA TV 7 had a very strong signal and was broadcast from Quezon City. By the late 1980s its new transmitter in the Visayas region enabled broadcasts to be seen in a large part on the islands of Luzon and Cebu. (This would have been around the time that Doctor Who was screening.)


The principal languages of the Philippines is Pilipino, English (spoken by 50 percent of the population), Spanish, plus numerous native languages and dialects. Television broadcasts were predominantly in English.


The Philippines was the 39th country to screen Doctor Who, and the sixth in Asia (see Selling Doctor Who).

BBC Records

The Seventies records a sale of "(2)" stories by 28 February 1977. The Handbook identifies these as being LLL and NNN.

The Eighties - THE LOST CHAPTERS records a sale of "(13)" stories (by 10 February 1987). There is an overlap of two stories across the 1977 and 1987 totals.

The post-February 1987 screenings of Tom Baker stories would not be included in this tally.

In DWM, the Philippines is identified in six story Archives: DDD, EEE, KKK, MMM, LLL, NNN, with the year of sale given as 1976 or 1977.


Stories bought and broadcast


13 stories, 72 episodes:

BBB Doctor Who and the Silurians 7
CCC The Ambassadors of Death 7
DDD Inferno 7
EEE Terror of the Autons 4
FFF The Mind of Evil 6
GGG The Claws of Axos 4
HHH Colony in Space 6
JJJ The Daemons 5
KKK Day of the Daleks 4
MMM The Curse of Peladon 4
LLL The Sea Devils 6
NNN The Mutants 6
OOO The Time Monster 6

ABS-CBN therefore bought GROUPs A to C of the standard package of Jon Pertwee stories sold in the NTSC colour format.

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

Origin of the Prints?

Although the Philippines is part of Asia, which is usually the jurisdiction of BBC Sydney, the fact that the broadcaster transmits in NTSC suggests that the transmission tapes may have been supplied by Time-Life Films in New York.

Alternatively, Guam, which is an adjacent island, sent its tapes to the Philippines after completion of its screenings in 1974.


Who is this man?? Clue: It's not Jon Pertwee! 13 March 1976
20 March 1976
This is NOT from Doctor Who!, 15 July 1976
Ambassadors of Death, 29 July 1976
Ambassadors of Death, 20 August 1976
Note the eyes of the Primord!
Note the eyes of the Primord!
Note the eyes of the Primord!
3 September 1976
Generic 9.00pm listing for Channel 2, March 1976
Generic 8.00pm listing for Channel 2, 1976
Generic 9.00pm listing for Bacolod Channel 4, 1976


The series was aired by ABS-CBN on a "regional" basis. We have located the airdates for two of these regional screenings.

QUEZON CITY (Channel 2)

The series commenced on the island of Luzon on Saturday, 6 March 1976, with a one-hour timeslot, 9.00 to 10.00pm, suggesting two episodes back to back.

From 1 April the series moved to Thursdays, at the earlier time of 8.00pm, still in one hour / two episode blocks.

From 13 August 1976, it was a shift to Fridays, but now with only a half hour slot, starting 10.00pm for two weeks, then from 9.30pm for the final three weeks.

There were no episodes on 29 April, 6 May, 1 July, 5 August and 12 August. The TV listings pre-empt the series in favour of The Donny and Marie Show on 22 July.

The last episode aired on 24 September 1976. Assuming the series aired on 15 April for which TV listings were not printed, there were 41 episodes in this run. However there should be 42.

The number of pre-emptions on Channel 2 is mirrored by Channel 4, with the exception of The Donny and Marie Show which does not have a corresponding appearance in the Channel 4 listings a week later. Therefore the "missing" episode must have aired on one of the dates for which no episode is listed as airing.

No episode titles were given, however (as noted in TV Listings below), the second to last serial to air appears to have been The Ambassadors of Death. (That would make the final serial of the run a four-parter.)

There is no clear record that Doctor Who aired on Channel 2 after this date.

BACOLOD (Channel 4)

Viewers on the island of Negros saw Doctor Who a week after the Luzon / Quezon City broadcasts, on Saturday 13 March 1976, at 9.00pm; these were also two episodes back to back in a one hour timeslot. From the second week, the start time shifted to 8.05pm. As with Quezon City, there was a day change to Thursday with the fourth episode. 8.00pm was the new airtime.

These Channel 4 screenings duplicated those of Quezon City, in that both have four pre-emptions, three of which are the same week. (This suggests that Channel 4 received its tapes from Channel 2.)

There was a change to Fridays from 27 August 1976, with the timeslot given as 9.00 to 10.00pm. If that was the case, then this doubling-up of episodes gives us 48 episodes rather than 42. But if we assume the timeslot for these five Friday screenings was only half an hour (as it was on Channel 2) that leaves us with an episode imbalance, just as there was for Channel 2! As we've theorised above, it's possible that one of the usual advertised double-episodes was actually just a single.

The final episode of this run aired on 24 September 1976.

Doctor Who returned to Channel 4 the following year. (Channel 2 did not screen these episodes.)

After a ten month break, Doctor Who returned to Bacolod on Friday, 1 July 1977. For all 15 weeks, the timeslot was 8.30 to 9.30pm, which indicates two back to back episodes. The final episode was on 7 October 1977.

With 42 episodes in 1976 and 30 in 1977, Bacolod screened all 72 episodes of the Jon Pertwee package during these two separate runs.


Stories bought and broadcast


23 stories, 98 episodes?

Being an NTSC broadcaster, it's highly likely that GMA TV 7 would have aired the standard package of the first 23 Tom Baker stories (98 episodes) that was sold to NTSC broadcasters. We have been told by an eye-witness who lived in the Philippines at that time that the episodes aired with Lionheart Television distributor tags at the end.

The programme would have been supplied on NTSC colour video tapes in English; as noted above, these episodes may have been acquired "illicitly" by recording off a PBS broadcast in the US, and the tapes shipped over to Quezon City for screening.



According to our eye-witness, Doctor Who was broadcast on GMA TV 7 circa 1988 or 1989, between 4.30pm and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday. The series ran for only a few months before it disappeared from the air waves.

We have not been able to track down published TV listings for this period.

TV listings

Airdates in Philippines

TV listings for the 1970s have been obtained from the Bulletin Today and Philippines Daily Express.

All listings gave the series name as "Dr Who". No story titles were provided.

Aside from the standard TV schedule tables, the Daily Express also printed elsewhere in the paper a half-page "TELEVISION TODAY" section, which featured a gallery of images advertising the programmes featuring that evening. But for only a few weeks during the 1976 run, Doctor Who always featured in these galleries. The images used were generally a cut-and-paste of cropped publicity photos of Jon Pertwee – or JOHN PERTWEE as the newspaper often credited. Sometimes the photo montage was the same, but the accompanying text was different. Three of montages had the eyes of a Primord from Inferno plastered on top of Pertwee!

The montages for 29 July and 20 August 1976 name the episodes as being The Ambassadors of Death, which are the only two instances in which a story title is given. This suggests that the serials did not necessarily air in correct story order.

Two of the gallery photos have us completely stumped, as they are clearly NOT from Doctor Who:

  • 13 March 1976: The photo is of a man (with a moustache?) who is clearly NOT Jon Pertwee, but who bears a slight resemblance to actors Donald Sutherland and Christopher Lee. (The shadowing on his face makes it look as though he is wearing an eyepatch!)
  • 15 July 1976: In this photo of two men (neither of whom is Jon Pertwee!), one appears to be grasping and/or supporting the other, whose head and face looks to be disfigured, and is wearing a hat and cloak.
    • If you are able to identify the films or TV programmes these images are from, please drop us a line!
Dolphy – is this the man in the "mystery" photo?

UPDATE!: It is possible that the July 1976 image is from a film starring Dolphy, the Philippines' "King of Comedy". This portrait of the actor with his trademark hat (see below) does bear a striking resemblance to the figure in the "mystery" photo. Of note, one of Dolphy's 1965 films was called "Dr Yes"!

There were no gallery montages for the 1977 run.

We have as yet been unable to secure any listings for the run on GMA Channel 7.

The Philippines in Doctor Who

  • In The Talons of Weng-Chiang, the Doctor mentions having been with the Filipino Army during its advance on Reykjavik in the 51st century.