ABC to air Doctor Who anniversary special same time as UK – report

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According to reports coming from Britain, the ABC has joined other broadcasters to air the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who at the same time it airs in the UK in order to avoid any leaks and make sure fans aren’t faced with the risk of reading spoilers online.

The BBC is partnering up with global broadcasters, according to British tabloid The Sun, to simulcast the episode – which likely includes the ABC in Australia, which has exclusivity on any new episodes of Doctor Who (despite the BBC signing a deal with Foxtel that takes most of BBC content away from the ABC).

The reported transmission date and time for the 3D episode is November 23 at 8pm. This will mean the episode will air at noon in Los Angeles and 7am (the next day) in Sydney.

“It’s always been our ambition to work with our broadcast partners so that international Doctor Who fans can enjoy the 50th Anniversary special at the same time as the UK,” a BBC Worldwide spokesperson told the tabloid.

The ABC has tried to air Doctor Who near as possible to the UK transmission date – either hours after their UK premiere to air in a primetime slot, or airing it on iView a week before their Australian broadcast. It is likely that the episode will air on ABC1 first, not on iView, given the level of secrecy surrounding the episode.

The anniversary special will the be second-last episode for current Doctor, Matt Smith (he’ll leave when the Christmas special airs); and will see David Tennant and Billie Piper return to their roles as the Tenth Doctor and Rose. It also stars John Hurt, who plays another incarnation of the Doctor, and will star the Daleks.