Saturday, 5 March 2016

Singapore and ...

Singapore is an island located at the tip of the Malaysian Peninsula. In 1963, it gained its independence and became a republic in 1965. Television services began 15 February 1963 with Radio Television Singapore (RTS) launching a limited TV service. Regular TV services begin on Channel 5 on 2 April 1963. Channel 8 launched on 23 November 1963 – a date with obvious significance. Doctor Who began transmitting in Singapore on 7th April 1965 on RTS. RTS operated two TV channels: Channel 5 (showing English and Malay programmes), and Channel 8 (mainly Chinese and Tamil. They also broadcast fifty-six episodes that are currently missing from the BBC archives. Nine of which (Marco Polo and the two missing episodes from The Reign of Terror) are Hartnells with the other forty-seven being all Troughton episodes.

All of the first ten seasons of the classic series of Doctor Who were bought by RTS except for:
  1. ·         Mission to the Unknown (1)
  2. ·         The Daleks’ Master Plan (11/12 depending on whether you include FoS )
  3. ·         Inferno (7);
  4. ·         The Mind of Evil (6)
  5. ·         The Daemons (5)
  6. ·         The Green Death (6)

The Australian Film Classification Board had assigned an ‘A’ (Adult) rating to all of these stories; therefore, they couldn’t be screened in Australia. It seems obvious to suggest that because none of these were bought at the much higher rate of $600 AUD that Australia was normally expected to pay for Doctor Who then further sales to other countries did not follow. None of these stories were broadcast in New Zealand by the ZNBC who paid closer to £50 – presumably GBP.

Malaysia never bought the same programs as Singapore because the TV signals from Singapore could be picked up with clarity in Malaysia and vice versa.

Paul Vanezis did indicate on the that the archives of Singapore had been checked and turned up nothing. This seems to leave two possibilities, either the prints were disposed of on site/sent back to the BBC or they were sent on to somewhere else, but where? At some point, after Singapore screened the War Machines in 1972 the prints were sent on to Nigeria. The recovered films stilled bared the censor cuts made in New Zealand and were eventually returned to the BBC. What happened to the others, apart from Enemy of the World and Web of Fear, is still up for debate. 

The clipping below is from Wednesday, July 1975 and provides some insight to the problems facing RTS at the time, the subsection 'Bundles from Britain', is particularly noteworthy:

Thanks to Jon Preddle at and The British Library.