Fans of Doctor Who who haven’t gotten a chance to watch the Classic Series yet can quit spending many sleepless nights worrying about when and if you can. (I assume that’s what all of you are doing, right? Probably there’s sweating and gastrointestinal problems as well. Yeah, let’s go with that.) Late last week, syndicated network Retro TV announced that here in the U.S., almost 500 episodes of Classic Doctor Who will beginning running regularly, spanning all the way from William Hartnell’s first episode, “An Unearthly Child,” to the final Sylvester McCoy episode, part 3 of “Survival.” That’s 26 years’ worth of Time Lord action for you to enjoy, all on a daily basis beginning this summer.
Matthew Golden, the Vice President of Production for Luken Communication, the parent company for Retro Television as well as the broker of the deal, had this to say in the official statement: “We couldn’t be more excited to make legendary classic episodes of Doctor Who available nationwide. The series is an institution, and we’re proud to give fans new and old the opportunity to experience this groundbreaking series from the very beginning.”
Now, the deal is for “nearly 500” episodes. In total, there are 694 episodes of the Classic Series. There are 97 currently missing from the archives following the recovery of nine last year, leaving 597 extant. But they aren’t going to get to show all of these. Fans took to the channel’s Facebook page to ask about this as well as if the ones screened will be the remastered DVD release versions or the VHS versions that are on Netflix currently. Their reply in the vast comment thread to both of these questions was thus:
“The short version is that we have licensed all episodes for which licenses were currently available: almost 500 episodes total. They will be remastered versions.” The episodes for which licenses were not currently available include those written by Terry Nation, which sadly includes all of the original Dalek stories that still exist as well as a few others.
They also mentioned cuts being made to the episodes to fit in commercial time for the 30 minute timeslot. Retro’s representative said it shouldn’t be much of a problem given the average length of an old Who episode was right around 23 minutes anyway. “We’re preserving everything possible, and not a single frame will be cut that isn’t absolutely necessary. Generally, the episodes should time out as-is for our purposes. This is for fans, by fans, and we’re a protective lot.”
These episodes will begin airing this summer, along with other newly-acquired cult favorites like Mystery Science Theater 3000 which will begin running in July. Check your local listings or go to Retro’s website to find what channel it is in your area.
Are you stoked for this? Cleaned-up Doctor Who on your TV screens! Those who haven’t seen much or any classic stuff, will this help you to give it a go? Lets talk in the comments below!