Friday, 28 January 2011


[18.59 - French Time] Website Beans On Toast, the first French-speaking information source about the Whoniverse, has announced that the fourth series of Doctor Who will finally get a French DVD release after almost two years in limbo.

Until the modern day version of Doctor Who, France had a very complicated relationship with our favourite Time lord. French viewers knew only a small portion of the classic series: some Tom Baker episodes aired at the end of the 1980s by French private network TF1 on sunday mornings. "Doctor, who?" almost became a recurring joke in one of the countries in the world which has not its permanent local Sesame Street version. Until the 2005 revival aired by DTT channel France 4 - operated by pubcaster group France Télévisions.

Nevertheless, Doctor Who's notoriety is now quite established in France, thanks to the internet and the effective activism of French-speaking fans - particularly the Beans on Toast team. And it's BOT which announced in Fall 2009 the decision of France Télévisions Distribution, the France Télévisions subsidiary holding Doctor Who's DVD rights here, to suspend the release of series four DVDs in France. The impact of the French language only series three DVD release on the sales was at the time definitely a parameter in FTD's evaluation of its title.

Beans on Toast noted then that the sale number of the first three series went from 700 to a little more than 1000 copies. The economic argument would have been fully acceptable if the treatment of Doctor Who by FTD had not been so minimalist those last years: no extra features, which would be understandable regarding the ratio between costs engaged and the market segment targeted, and no special episodes. Not to mention the fact that the series was on a DTT channel in a territory not fully covered by DTT.

In August 2010 the website launched an online petition to get a DVD release of the fourth series of Doctor Who. Today, France Télévisions Distribution has confirmed to Beans on Toast that there will be a French DVD release of series four including the original English dialogue track, preceded by a re-release of series one to three. And series three will also have the original English dialogue track.

Doctor Who's fifth series arrives on France 4 in Primetime on Saturday, 12 February, with the first three episodes. (In French) (In French)

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