|Country Number (?)||1978?||SECOND WAVE|
|Television commenced||15 August 1970|
|Colour System||1 July 1974||PAL|
|Language/s||Arabic||Subtitled in English|
Television Stations / Channels
Qatar was one of the last countries in the Persian Gulf area to launch a local television service.
Qatar Television Service was a government-owned commercial broadcaster, operating two channels: 9, 11, both being exclusively Arabic. (An English-only service, Channel 37 was not launched until the mid-1980s.)
Doctor Who therefore screened in Arabic.
Although QTS didn't commence its own colour transmissions until 1974, those with PAL colour sets could receive transmissions from nearby Bahrain, which had been transmitting in PAL colour since 1973.
The principal language of Qatar is Arabic, with English a secondary common language. Television programming with Arabic dialogue were often subtitled with English; Doctor Who was broadcast in this dual format.
DOCTOR WHO IN QATAR
Qatar was we think the eighth country in the Middle East region to buy Doctor Who.
The Eighties - THE LOST CHAPTERS records a sale of "(3)" stories by 10 February 1987.
According to other BBC documents, the third story was Day of the Daleks.
Stories bought and broadcast
Three stories, 12 episodes:
|AAA||Spearhead from Space||4|
|KKK||Day of the Daleks||4|
|PPP||Carnival of Monsters||4|
Based on an eye witness account (see below), although QTS was a colour broadcaster, Doctor Who aired in black and white, in which case the serials were supplied as 16mm black and white film prints.
If the series did broadcast on colour, then it would be from PAL video tapes.
As noted above, since the English-only channel did not launch until the mid-1980s, Doctor Who almost certainly aired in Arabic but with English subtitles.
Origin of the Prints?
The previous Arabic country to air black and white film copies of the same three Jon Pertwee serials dubbed into Arabic was Saudi Arabia, in which case Qatar's prints would likely to have been supplied from there.
If the series aired in colour, the tapes could have been supplied from the United Arab Emirates.
We have been unable to find any identifiable Doctor Who airdates for Qatar.
We have been reliably informed by a viewer who lived in Saudi Arabia between August 1978 and December 1979 that because they could receive broadcasts from nearby Qatar, they caught some of the QTS broadcasts of Doctor Who during that period.
Our viewer recalls that the series aired on Fridays in the late afternoon, and was in black and white. (We should point out that the colour signal may have been very weak, and only appeared to be black and white.)
Doctor Who therefore aired in Qatar TV at some point during the 16 month window spanning late 1978 to late 1979, some two years after the programme had actually been "sold" to the station. (There may have been supply issues: both Saudi Arabia and Lebanon aired Pertwee stories in 1977, and Qatar may simply have had to wait for the films to show up...)
Fate of the Prints?
If it was film, since these appear to have been the last ever broadcasts of these black and white Pertwees in the Middle East, the films would have been destroyed or returned to the BBC.
Despite our having accessed and checked several Persian Gulf newspapers from 1976 onwards, there were no identifiable listings for Doctor Who on the Qatar Television Service at all.
As can be seen in this Channel 9 & 11 listing from the United Arab Emirates's Emirates Daily News from late 1977, Thursday and Friday both had an unnamed "Children's Series" at 3.45pm, while Thursday had an unidentified "Children's Program" at 7.05pm, and Friday had a "Foreign Series" at 9.30pm.
Although this listing is in itself at least a year too early of when Doctor Who aired in Qatar, it is likely that any TV billings from 1978 and 1979 would also have the same generic "Childrens' Series" listings instead of naming Doctor Who by title.