On Saturday November 30th 1963 the very first Doctor Who repeat aired on BBC1. As the opening episode of An Unearthly Child had been overshadowed by the assassination of John F Kennedy, the decision was made to give it a second airing. It would go out immediately preceding part two - The Cave of Skulls. So at 5.05pm the repeat began, and records show that come 5:29pm 5.9 million viewers were watching the new episode, in which the Doctor smokes a pipe! Something we talked about here.
Also broadcast on this day in Doctor Who history was episode five of The Invasion, the 1968 Second Doctor adventure was watched by an audience of 6.7 million viewers (our retrospective can be found here). Fast forward 19 years and five Doctors to part two of Dragonfire. The whole of season 24 went out on Monday evenings, and up against Coronation Street still managed to pull in 4 million viewers. The following year, Sylvester McCoy faced the Silver Nemesis, with part two of the story going out to 5.2 million viewers who had all tuned in on a Wednesday evening at 7:35pm.
Just one classic Who episode was broadcast on this day, and it's another part two. This time from the Fourth Doctor's 1979 adventure Nightmare of Eden. Tom Baker was pulling in a very respectable 9.6 million viewers at this time.
Episode four, which is one of the surviving episodes from the Second Doctor adventure The Ice Warriors was broadcast in 1967 at 5:25pm, and watched by 7.3 million viewers. But Uncle Tom easily topped that! With the promise of a Jelly Baby he enticed 10.1 million Brits to tune in for part two of the 1978 story, The Androids of Tara.
Only the 8million people who watched episode five of Patrick Troughton's debut adventure, The Power of the Daleks, ever got to see this 1966 missing-presumed-wiped classic adventure. We took a look back at it here. Then in 1977 we have yet another 'part two', this time for The Sun Makers, a story which gained a million viewers from its previous installment and has a recorded audience of 9.5 million.
The First Doctor was neck deep in The Daleks' Master Plan. Episode four, entitled The Traitors, was broadcast in 1965 at 5:50pm and watched by 9.5 million viewers. Our retrospective can be found here
It may not be considered canon but episode four of the 40th Anniversary animated web adventure Scream of the Shalka was released onto the BBC's Doctor Who website at noon on this day in 2003. (We checked out the 2013 DVD release here)
The third episode of The Dalek Invasion of Earth, entitled Day of Reckoning, was broadcast on this day in 1964 and watched by 11.9 million viewers. Some 45 years later the Tenth Doctor's animated adventure, Dreamland, received it's debut airing at 10am. Having already been available to watch on the BBCs Red Button service since November 21st, it still drew an audience of half a million.
This isn't an episode but worth mentioning because some of you may have rushed out at midnight on this day in 1997 to purchase the PC Game, Destiny Of The Doctors. It featured specially recorded audio by Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Nicholas Courtney and specially recorded audio and video with Anthony Ainley reprising his role as the Master. This would be the final time he reprised this role, but not the final time he appears on this page...
December 6th is a black day in Doctor Who history. We'll get to the reason why shortly, but first we have two Fourth Doctor stories; 1975s The Android Invasion: Part Three, and 1980s State of Decay: Part Three (we revisited it here). The first was watched by a staggering 12.1 million viewers, but oh how the mighty had fallen because in John Nathan-Turner's debut season there were just 4.4 million tuning in!
But now the black day part. December 6th was not kind to the Sixth. The final chapter in The Trial of a Time Lord, part two of The Ultimate Foe was also Colin Baker's last ever episode before being unceremoniously recast. He got an extra 5 minutes for this story, and 5.6 million saw him declare "Carrot juice, carrot juice, carrot juice!" just before leaving the screen for good at 6.15pm
If that wasn't enough, December 6th also saw the broadcast of part three of Survival. The final ever episode of 'Classic Who', featuring the Seventh Doctor, Ace and the Master (here's our retrospective). 5 Million viewers saw Sylvester McCoy sign off with:
"There are worlds out there where the sky is burning. And the sea’s asleep, and the rivers dream. People made of smoke, and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger. Somewhere there’s injustice. And somewhere else, the tea’s getting cold. Come on, Ace — we’ve got work to do!"So did you watch any of these adventures live? We'd love to hear your memories about any of them. Tell us in the comments below.
Until next Sunday...