Doctor Who – A Global Phenomenon: Part 3 South Africa

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Guest contributor Gustaff waves the South African flag high in Part 3.

It has never been more obvious that Doctor Who is most definitely a Global Phenomenon, and in the lead up to the 50th Anniversary we’ve pulled together 4 Whovians from different corners of the globe to show how Doctor Who is received in their own home country. Part Three is…

Doctor Who in South Africa


So what’s Doctor Who like in South Africa?

In laymen’s terms: Non-existent. Yip. When people ask the traditional ‘Doctor Who?’ question, it’s never funny and always serious. BBC Entertainment, which is our equivalent to BBC America, is not one of the preferred channels on the channel guide. While BBC America is a few hours behind BBC One, BBC Entertainment is almost nine to ten months behind with very little advertising about scheduling. Doctor Who isn’t even advertised on satellite ads which feature clips from the top shows of all the popular channels on the guide. I discovered Doctor Who by channel hopping and our group dismissed it instantly as terrible after not even making it through The End of the World. By coincidence, I tuned in to a rerun of Tooth & Claw one day and fell in love with Doctor Who. That is my Doctor Who story. Even introducing people to Doctor Who is rather difficult as most find Series One silly and not worth it, which is understandable as I only really discovered Doctor Who in Series Two. If you want Doctor Who merchandise, you buy it online as it isn’t carried in stores. South Africa is a Doctor Who dead zone. So where do I get all my Doctor Who gear? Internet! I buy episodes, DVDs, audios online from various stores and websites

Is there a reason Doctor Who isn’t so big in South Africa?

It’s just not the type of show that people here find interesting. It’s too ‘out there’, even though shows such as Beauty and the Beast and Falling Skies, not to mention The Walking Dead have no trouble finding their way to the prime time slot. I have introduced a lot of people to the show, who after making it past the farting season one monsters find that they can’t get enough of it, often asking me when the new series is coming on. This tells me that general awareness and advertising is one of the main reasons that Doctor Who is pushed to the back of the line.

Is there a way to improve the Doctor Who grayness?

Obviously it could feature on our ‘BBC One’, which is a channel called M-NET, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon as that channel is reserved for shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Arrow, Castle and Elementary. You know? Big American Shows.

How do I feel about there not being much Doctor Who is South Africa?

To be honest, I don’t really care if it goes big or not. I’ve adapted over the years. I watch the new episodes a few hours after they air, I buy digital downloads from Big Finish, I order DVDs from, I stay up to date via Doctor Who TV, so I don’t really mind the bleakness. If anything, being one of only a handful of fans makes me feel special as I know how much other people are missing out.

Prominence rating: 2
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That concludes the third part in our “Doctor Who – A Global Phenomenon” series. If you have missed the previous 2 articles of the series you can find the Links to them below. Join as next time as we set sail for the motherland… Great Britain.