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Friday 14th August 1998

This Week In Doctor Who USA - August 14th
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This Week In Doctor Who USA - August 14th
Welcome to the final USA edition of the column. So I can get more accurate information and have an easier time finishing these columns on time, I've decided to merge the international Monday edition and this Friday edition back together, beginning next Friday. The column will be titled "This Week In Doctor Who". Readers of the US / Canada version offered by the Doctor Who Alliance shouldn't notice a difference, but everyone else will.
We're deep in the heart of pledge drive season in the US right now. Depending on which station you watch the show on, you're either getting special material, a later time slot, less Who, or no Who till after the drive. Starting times, always slightly unreliable on PBS stations, become little more than jokes. But some PBS stations offer real gems of programming during these periods if you can find them. Who fans may especially want to look up WQED and KTEH's web sites to thank them for their particular pledge efforts. If you wish to pledge to one or more of these stations to help keep Who on the air, you can find their websites (or at least their phone numbers) at . WTBU is not a PBS station, and I apparently deleted its e-mail address, but I'll have it for you next week if you want to support them.
Two individuals have implied in the rec.arts.drwho newsgroup that they are working on getting PBS stations to have some sort of 35th anniversary special for the series. KTCA is apparently interested in airing something. When / If details come in, I'll pass them on.
Now, on to the station listings:

This is WQED Pittsburgh's big weekend for Doctor Who. Saturday night at 10PM (10:40PM according to some TV listings, but I think they're in error) Pittsburghians will get a complete Doctor Who story chosen by viewers. Expect pledge drives. The goal is to be able to afford additional stories, and they will only purchase as many stories as the fans pay for. The cost per 25 minute episode in Pittsburgh is $200. So, the more you pledge, the more they'll show. See the note above for finding their address and pledging.

» The episode is currently unknown, but is most likely one from the list given on 31st July
NHPTV New Hampshire airs the concluding two episodes to The Mind Robber Friday night at 10PM. It didn't look like they'd scheduled a pledge drive, but it would be very easy. The Mind Robber part 5 is the shortest regular episode ever made at 18 minutes long! Add that to the 21 minute part 4, and there'll only be 39 minutes of story. It's a good story, but you'd think they could have made the episodes a little bit longer. When we left off, Lemuel Gulliver was torn between helping our heroes or following his instructions, and the man at the center of the operation waits eagerly for the Doctor to arrive at the heart of his web. Say goodbye to reality now, and enjoy the chaos of imagination.
MPT Maryland takes a break from the Hartnell episodes for two weeks to offer pledge specials. This week, they offer the Steve Robertized version of The Five Doctors (extra footage, new special effects, and some relocated scenes), beginning at Midnight late Saturday, following a Red Dwarf marathon. Of course, they've probably irked some viewers by interrupting the serial The Daleks at the moment where the first Dalek menaces Barbara, leaving that story hanging until August 29th. Still, you can't please everyone.
WUFT 5 in Gainesville, Florida seems to believe that the best kind of pledge special is regular programming. Four To Doomsday, the second 5th Doctor story, airs in movie format Saturday afternoon at 5PM. The only difference from normal broadcasts is the 30 minutes of pledging and the 7PM ending time. This was actually the *first* story Peter Davison filmed as the Doctor, so you can watch as he seems to develop the 5th Doctor from scratch while the cameras are rolling. By the end, he's actually getting into the part, and you can tell from the increased energy. The other characters do their best to cover Davison early in the story, leading to probably the best Adric / Nyssa / Tegan story of their time together. And there's some frogs that try to rise above their station as well. I'd mention the other major element, but why spoil it for the first time viewers? Hey, keep that cricket ball under control!
WUSF 16 in Tampa Bay, Florida offers fans the conclusion to Castrovalva, the first 5th Doctor story broadcast. The Master closes the trap on the Doctor, thinking he can rid himself of his nemesis forever. But not even he is prepared for what happens when reality collapses in Castrovalva. Features the infamous "Adric throws up" scene Matthew Waterhouse talked about in interviews throughout the 80s. You can't see it, but you might be able to hear it if you're paying attention. Tune in Saturday night at 11:30PM, following Red Dwarf, apparently pledge free.
WCET 48 in Cincinnati, Ohio begins its pledge offerings this weekend with Doctor Who And The Silurians - recolorized. Steve Roberts of the BBC took a color video recording of a 70s broadcast and transferred the color onto the Black and White master prints. The color looks very good, although it gives the impression that it was filmed in the early 60s instead of the early 70s. The only fault is about two hours in (the end of episode 5) where the color tape was missing a sequence and modern technology was not quite good enough to make up the difference. Still, most impressive. "Silurians" begins at about 11PM Saturday night and runs in movie format until it finishes. Take a 2½ hour story, add pledges, and you'll be up a long time.
WFWA 39 in Fort Wayne, Indiana will not be airing Doctor Who this week due to special pledge programming. Doctor Who will return.
WTBU 69 in Indianapolis, Indiana is not a PBS station, and does not to my knowledge air pledge drives. This week's movie format story is City of Death, the most watched Doctor Who story of all time! (Ok, so ITV was off the air that month, but that can't explain the amount of the spike in the ratings.) The Doctor and Romana 2 vacation in Paris, unaware that 1/12 of a man has a plan that could forever alter the past of Earth. The Mona Lisa guest stars. Tune in Sunday at 6PM for a 90 minute story.
LPTV in Louisiana offers viewers two episodes of Doctor Who a week. This week, they offer the first 2 episodes of The Curse of Peladon, one of the most remembered Jon Pertwee stories. Jo Grant is in the TARDIS when the Time Lords decide to send the Doctor on another illicit mission for them. They wind up on a somewhat inhospitable planet which is trying to join the Galactic Federation. Dangerous forces are willing to kill to keep Peladon out of the Federation. And there is a wild card - The Ice Warriors are back! Which side are the Ice Warriors on, and can the Doctor trust them? Tune in Saturday night at 10PM (it's scheduled to run until 11:10PM so they can have pledge breaks). Note: LPTV will not air Doctor Who next week! The Curse of Peladon will conclude on August 29th.
IPTV Iowa isn't pledging Doctor Who this time around, so there should be less strain on your VCR's. This week they approach the end of Patrick Troughton's era. It's episodes 4 and 5 of The War Games - part 1. The Doctor, Jamie, Zoe, and the others try to find out why humans are being brainwashed and trained to fight each other to the death in recreations of the world's most terrible wars. Tonight's episodes end with a cliffhanger that will leave first time viewers stunned beyond belief. Probably where Blake's 7 got the idea for their final episode. Tune in at 11:05PM Friday night. Also visit T R Sammis' IPTV Friday night web site at for more information on this station. Note: IPTV has only scheduled 50 minutes for Doctor Who this week and next, instead of their normal 60. State Fair coverage will begin this week at 11:55PM.
KBDI 12 in Denver, Colorado normally airs Doctor Who on both Friday and Saturday nights. But not this week. Pledge specials strike again. This will probably also irk Canadians who can get KBDI.
KTEH 54 in San Jose, California offers fans PRIMETIME Doctor Who this Sunday. First, at 9PM, they offer the special extended version of The Curse of Fenric, the next to last Sylvester McCoy story. This version, originally made for video, adds several minutes and scenes cut for time from the regular version. The video cover boasts that it offers a mysterious new reason for Dr. Judson's behavior. Tune in and be freaked out. Then, at 11:25PM (time approximate), they have scheduled the Peter Davison story Warriors of the Deep to air in episode format. The Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough wind up on a 21st Century seabase under attack from both enemy agents and two old foes at the same time! Will anyone survive? And do you really think it's a good idea to kick-box something that electrifies people on contact? "Warriors" will apparently air pledge free. Finally, at 1:06AM, KTEH finishes its Doctor Who night with something titled "Peter Davison Interview". Pledge calls will be handled by a local Who fan club, The Legion Of Rassilon.
KRCB 22 in Rhonert Park, California offers fans episodic Doctor Who every Saturday night at 11PM. This week, episode 1 of a 4 part rendition of Ressurection Of The Daleks, the 5th Doctor story that finally resolved the question about whatever happened to Davros. When this story first aired in England, they experimented with airing the episodes in 2 45 minute broadcasts. It was successful enough that the entire 1985 season was produced in 45 minute installments. Now, of course, they all seem to have been changed back into 4 part versions.
KSPS 7 in Spokane, Washington offers Washington State viewers and some Canadians movie format Doctor Who Saturday nights. This week, they air Genesis of the Daleks, presumably with pledge drives. This third segment of "The Nerva Chronicles" begins when the Doctor is intercepted on the way back to Nerva and sent instead to ancient Skaro by the Time Lords. There he is ordered to alter with the past to save the future. The 2 hour, 20 minute + pledge time story is scheduled to begin at 10:30PM Pacific (11:30PM Mountain).
KBTC / KCKA 28/15 in Tacoma, Washington is not including Doctor Who among its pledge programming this time. As a result, the Saturday night broadcasts (where they do not appear to be pledging) will air at the normal times, while the Monday night broadcasts will be halted for pledge programming. This Saturday they will air the concluding 2 episodes of a special 4 part version of Revelation of the Daleks. The 6th Doctor and Peri learn of grisly goings on in a mortuary, and the identity of "The Great Healer" is revealed. And then, just to muddy the waters, a second group of Daleks appears! An all-star cast headlines this story, and most of them will not make it to the explosive finale. Note: the final word uttered by the Doctor in this story was cut shortly before the original broadcast because it was a direct link to the next season, which had been delayed and the prepared stories canceled. The word was "Blackpool". See this week's episodes Saturday at 7PM and late night at 12:30AM.
BBC America is the only US Cable network currently offering its own schedule of Doctor Who episodes. Most satellites don't currently offer it. In fact, nearly all people getting this station are subscribers of TCI Cable. Most TCI systems are offering it on their new digital tier, though a few may be including it in the basic package. BBC America does have a little problem, though. They didn't order enough programming when they launched, and they won't get more until fall. So, right now most of the shows are getting frequent reruns, including the only 2 Doctor Who stories ordered when they launched. This week they will air (again) episode 3 of Robot, the first Tom Baker story. The Robot has another crisis of conscience, and a plot unfolds to start a nuclear war. Tune in Saturday night at 11:20PM Eastern (8:20PM Pacific) and the next morning at 5:20AM Eastern (2:20AM Pacific). Well, you could invite your friends over and wow them by knowing exactly what dialogue the characters are going to use. ;-) It's a good story, but come on!
And that's about it for this week's information. Hopefully JNPCS' problems Thursday didn't keep me from missing any big Who changes or developments. Tune in next Friday for the new "This Week In Doctor Who", with both US and non-US stations covered in the same column.

Thanks for reading.
Benjamin F. Elliott

This Week In Doctor Who and This Week In Doctor Who USA are written and created by Benjamin F. Elliott. Doctor Who is a trademark of the BBC. Schedules were compiled from station's sites, fan sites, TV Guide online listings, and e-mailed information from the readers. Siobahn Morgan and Shaun Lyon have provided web space, and many others have given helpful input. Copyright 1998.