Forces TV is bringing the world of Classic Doctor Who home to television with a new season of repeats.
Forces TV have launched a repeat season of Classic Doctor Who serials. The UK channel, which is available on Sky channel 181, Virgin 274, Freesat 165, Freeview 96 and YouView 96, shows a wide selection of archive and classic television and has now added Doctor Who to the mix. 12 stories in all will be broadcast on the channel, with two episodes a day, and three chances to watch each one. You’ll also have a chance to catch any episodes at the weekends. Here’s the schedule so far…
‘Spearhead from Space’ (15-16th February, repeated on the 19th)
Jon Pertwee arrives as the Third Doctor and into the middle of an alien invasion. The 1970 serial was the first Doctor Who story to be made in colour and, uniquely, was filmed entirely on film and on location. The newly regenerated Doctor has to join forces with UNIT, his old ally Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney) and new friend, scientist Liz Shaw (Caroline John) to prevent the living plastic Autons from taking over the Earth. Classic Doctor Who rarely looked so stylish and the storyline from Robert Holmes would be a major influence on Russell T Davies’ ‘Rose’ in 2005.
‘The Dæmons‘ (17-18th, 21st February, Episodes 1-4 repeated on the 20th, Episode 5 repeated on the 26th)
The Doctor is still living in exile on Earth and helping the Brigadier defend the planet alongside his assistant Jo Grant (Katy Manning), Captain Yates (Richard Franklin) and Sergeant Benton (John Levene). But this time they face the devil himself as an alien Dæmon called Azal (Stephen Thorne) is awoken in the sleepy village of Devil’s End to pass judgement on the human race. With the entire village split off from the rest of the world and rival Time Lord the Master (Roger Delgado) plotting to steal Azal’s power for himself, can the Doctor and Jo save the day this time? ‘The Dæmons’ is widely regarded as one of the finest stories for the Doctor’s best enemy, the Master.
‘Genesis of the Daleks‘ (21st-24th February, repeated 26-27th)
Tom Baker takes over as the Fourth Doctor as he and his friends Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) and Harry Sullivan (Ian Marter) are sent by the Time Lords to the planet Skaro in the distant past. There they discover a savage and desperate war between the Kaleds and the Thals that has laid waste to almost the entire planet. And in a military research bunker, they encounter the obsessed and ruthless Kaled scientist Davros (Michael Wisher) and his new creation – the Daleks! Even fifty years later, ‘Genesis of the Daleks’ routinely tops fan lists of the all-time greats.
‘Terror of the Zygons’ (24th, 28th February-1st March, 27th, repeated 5th)
The Doctor, Sarah Jane, and Harry are called back to Earth by the Brigadier when oil rigs off the coast of Scotland come under attack. The Doctor suspects the Loch Ness Monster, but surely he can’t be right? UNIT’s investigation will bring the Doctor face to face with the shape-changing Zygons for the very first time. Another of the most highly-regarded Fourth Doctor stories of all time, it features one of the most iconic TARDIS teams up against one of the series’ most exiting and dramatic monsters.
Classic Doctor Who on Forces TV will continue in March
‘The Robots of Death’ begins on the 1st of March, as the Doctor takes his latest travelling companion Leela (Louise Jameson) on her first visit to a world other than her own. But Sand Mine Four is not a safe place to be. Someone is picking off the crew of the gargantuan mobile sandminer one by one. The Doctor is the only one who can solve the case, but unfortunately he’s also the prime suspect.
With superb model work and striking art deco robot designs, ‘The Robots of Death’ is another beloved piece of classic Doctor Who for Forces TV’s repeat season.
The exact schedule for the rest of the season hasn’t been revealed, but the stories to be shown are…
- ‘City of Death‘ – the Doctor takes Romana (Lalla Ward) to Paris on holiday and, despite his best intentions, gets dragged into the mystery of a series of art thefts. Who is Count Scarlioni (Julian Glover)? And how could a plot to steal the Mona Lisa cause the extinction of the human race? Featuring Doctor Who‘s first ever foreign location filming, ‘City is Death’ is famous for its sparkling performances, witty script and lush visuals. Doctor Who has never been such fun.
- ‘Logopolis‘ – time is running out for the Doctor as he faces omens and portents of doom everywhere he turns. Tom Baker’s final story places the whole of existence at stake as the new Master (Anthony Ainley) plays with forces he doesn’t understand on the planet Logopolis. With his companions Adric (Matthew Waterhouse), Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) and Tegan (Janet Fielding) by his side, the Doctor faces making the ultimate sacrifice to save the universe.
- ‘Kinda’ – Adric, Nyssa and Tegan are still getting used to the Doctor’s newest regeneration (Peter Davison) when the TARDIS brings them to the untouched paradise of Deva Loka. The Earth Empire has established an outpost on the planet to assess it for colonisation, but one by one their soldiers have vanished into the jungle. The survivors suspect the indigenous people aren’t as innocent and unadvanced as they appear, but Deva Loka is a planet where the buried secrets of existence lie closer to the surface than usual. And the dark places of the inside have plans for Tegan…
- ‘Earthshock’ – one of the most talked about Classic Doctor Who stories of all time pits the Doctor, Adric, Nyssa, and Tegan against a new breed of Cybermen. A deep space cargo freighter is en route to Earth, unknowingly carrying a deadly cargo. And someone aboard is a traitor. A deadly trap has been set deep below the surface of the Earth, and the Cybermen have a plan to end the threat posed by humankind once and for all. And by the time this is over, one of the TARDIS crew will be dead…
- ‘The Caves of Androzani‘ – when the Doctor brings his new friend Peri (Nicola Bryant) to the planet Androzani Minor, its windswept deserts, geysers of scalding mud and dank caves prove to be a lacklustre start to their travels together. But that’s before they discover a masked egomaniac called Sharez Jek (Christopher Gable) skulking in the shadows with his army of androids. The pair have walked into the middle of a war over control of the most valuable substance in the system, and when Jek kidnaps Peri, the Doctor’s mission to save her just may be the death of him.
- ‘Vengeance on Varos’ – in one of the most prescient Classic Doctor Who stories ever, the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and Peri seek out the planet Varos for a mineral vital to restore the TARDIS. There they discover a nightmarish society obsessed with reality television played for deadly stakes, with people living or dying according to the results of the public vote. Told partly though the point of view of regular Varosians watching the Doctor’s adventures on their televisions, Classic Doctor Who has rarely been darker, or more compelling.
- ‘Remembrance of the Daleks‘ – for Doctor Who’s 25th anniversary, the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and his companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) return to where it all began: Shoreditch in November, 1963. But they’re not the only ones in town, as the Daleks make their presence known on the streets of London. The Doctor knows more than he’s telling Ace about what’s going on, but can he keep tweaking his secret plan faster than unexpected complications unravel it? Or has he simply turned the Earth into the battlefield between two warring armies of Daleks?
Forces TV will be showing 12 stories in its first season of Classic Doctor Who
Although the season features selected highlights rather than a complete run, it will undoubtedly warm the hearts of many fans wanting to see Classic Doctor Who back on television schedules again. And whoever has been making the selection for Forces TV is to be commended for picking a run of many of Doctor Who’s all-time greats. Hopefully, this run of stories is a success for Forces TV and is followed by a second season of Classic Doctor Who on television.
Which stories would you most like to see? Let me know in the comments below!
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