Since the revival of Doctor Who in 2005, viewers have become accustomed to regular repeats of the latest episodes, either on BBC Three or cable channels like Watch. The BBC iPlayer service also allows viewers to rewatch stories ad nauseum.
With the exception of The Hand of Fear (aired after Elizabeth Sladen’s death two years ago), no ‘classic’ era serials have been reshown on terrestrial TV since Genesis of the Daleks in 2000 (both screened on BBC2).
With the final digital repeat of a twentieth-century adventure (The Daleks in 2008), a total of 82 stories were repeated by the BBC (including 67 on digital stations), the first being Evil of the Daleks in the summer of 1968.
Technically, the single episode, An Unearthly Child, became the first (unplanned) rerun when it was shown just a week after it’s original transmission, prior to The Cave of Skulls. Six other individual episodes (including the Pilot) have also earned repeat broadcasts.
The Black & White era represents just six complete reruns over 35 years. Naturally, the Fourth Doctor’s tenure saw the most repeats, followed by the Third, and with the advent of the BBC’s digital TV services, all forty-one Tom Baker and 24 Pertwee serials were chosen for transmission on Prime, between 1995 and 2000. Next, with eight story repeats is the Fifth Doctor, then Doctors One and Two (3 each), and Six, Seven, and Eight (only 1 each).
Terrestrial repeats reached their peak in the 1970’s, whilst most digital reruns occured in the 1990’s when the programme was off-air.
The most reshown serials by the Corporation are:
- Genesis of the Daleks – 7 broadcasts (and rated third in the Doctor Who Magazine Mighty 200 Poll of 2009)
- The Sea Devils – 5 (#50)
- The Daemons – 4 (#34)
- The Green Death – 4 (#39)
- Spearhead from Space – 4 (#36)
- Terror of the Zygons – 3 (#17)
- Pyramids of Mars – 3 (#7)
Similarly, the most repeated single episodes (three times each) are:
- An Unearthly Child (Pilot)
- Remembrance of the Daleks (Part 4)
TO BE CONTINUED