Takeover Ad
Takeover Ad
The Article

Doctor Who Down Under Exploring the Australian Connections
y Doctor Who Online

If you've never visited Australia, it's worth considering. Australians are well-known for their passion for cricket, an appreciation for cold beers, and they also love to play at Australian online casinos. Australians are also huge fans of Doctor Who, and they have a deep connection with Doctor Who, dating back to its early days. As one of the first countries outside the UK to broadcast the show in January 1965, Australia played a significant role in the Doctor Who journey. Additionally, Australian writers C.E. Webber and Anthony Coburn made important contributions to the show's inception and its first-ever story.

The Inception of Doctor Who in Australia
The history of Doctor Who in Australia began when the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) acquired the series in March 1964, intending to premiere it in May. However, the Australian Film Censorship Board (AFCB) categorized the first 13 episodes as only suitable for young adults and up, preventing the series from airing on Sundays at 6:30 PM. It wasn't until January 1965 that the ABC found a suitable time slot, but once it did, Australian audiences quickly embraced the show. The ABC became one of the earliest and longest-standing purchasers of the series, providing ample opportunities for Australian viewers to enjoy Doctor Who, often with more prime-time first-run episodes and more repeats compared to British audiences.

Fan Activity in the Land Down Under
With such a long history of broadcasting the show, Australia was also one of the first nations to develop a strong fandom. Besides a few branches of Keith Miller’s British Doctor Who club, there were also rumours of a fun club in Sydney around 1974. However, none of these can actually be confirmed.

The first Doctor Who national club appeared in August 1976 and was founded by the members of the Sydney University Science Fiction Association (SUSFA). Furthermore, they even planned to build a Dalek to enter a race held at Melbourne University. They unexpectedly won the race and continued to organize screenings of Dalek films and other such events.

The Story of the “Save Doctor Who” Campaign
The power of the Australian Doctor Who movement became evident in 1976 when ABC decided not to purchase any new series episodes. In a protest towards the decision, over 20 SUSFA members turned up outside the ABC headquarters. Although it wasn’t much, it allowed the Whovians to meet each other and expand the group.

Shortly after, ABC’s management decision was revealed in the student newspaper, and all fans were called to start a letter-writing campaign and to join the freshly-founded Australasian Doctor Who Fan Club. The campaign involved creating posters and leaflets, networking with sci-fi enthusiasts nationwide, conducting a radio interview, and writing letters to various media outlets, not just ABC.

Finally, ABC changed its mind and did acquire the new series - seasons 2 and 3 -, and it’s not clear how much of the success can be attributed to the SUSFA and Howe or due to great ratings registered by the BBC.

Doctor Who Clubs and Groups Across Australia
The Double Gammas were the first Australian and New Zealand fan award system introduced by the Supreme Council of Time Lords. This happened in 1984, and the awards were open to all Doctor Who fanzines, fan writers, and fan artists from Australia and New Zealand.

However, even earlier than that, The Queensland Doctor Who Fan Club had already been up and running since 1978. The Brisbane Doctor Who Fan Club is another great example of a movement that had great success. Unfortunately, it was closed by 2000, but numerous local meetings and conventions took place in modern years.

Final Thoughts
Doctor Who has garnered a massive global following, and Australia has been no exception. With a history of broadcasting the show dating back to January 1965, Australian fans have nurtured the show's popularity. From fan clubs and campaigns to the 60th-anniversary celebration, which will be broadcast on Disney+ in November 2023, Australians have remained dedicated Whovians. This global phenomenon extends beyond Australia, with Doctor Who fans in countries like Japan also embracing the Doctor's adventures, showcasing the show's enduring and widespread appeal.

© Copyright Doctor Who Online, 2023.
Page Updated: 11/10/2023

Article Details


Written by:
Doctor Who Online

Upgrade Your DWO Site Account!
Doctor Who is © Copyright to the BBC. No infringement intended.