25 July 2012

Classic Doctor Who on Netflix and iTunes

A little project I finished up today. I tried to find all the classic Doctor Who serials available through Netflix (streaming) and iTunes and sort them in chronological order.

Classic Doctor Who serials on Netflix and iTunes

The file is in CSV format, which any spreadsheet app—like Numbers or OpenOffice† or Excel—ought to be able to open. (If it matters, the character encoding is UTF-8.) It has the...

  • Number of the serial
  • The title
  • Which Doctor it features (this is blank for multiple Doctor episodes)
  • Whether it is available through Netflix or iTunes (or both)
  • What story arc it is a part of
  • And any notes I thought to make about it

Note that, in general, you don’t really need to watch them in chronological order. Although, I think it is still nice to know the order. The story arcs are probably best to watch in order, though.

You might think that it would be in Netflix’s, iTunes’, and the BBC’s interest to make this kind of information easily available and up-to-date. Instead, all you can do—as far as I can tell—with Netflix or iTunes is search for “Doctor Who”, pick the classic serials out of the results, and cross-reference the titles against Wikipedia or another list of the serials. The BBC seems uninterested in letting you know that these are available via Netflix or iTunes much less giving you any guidance about this subset.

I didn’t include Amazon streaming since I’m not set up to use it yet. There are some episodes on Facebook, but I haven’t gotten that working yet. If there are any other ways to stream classic Doctor Who or purchase them as downloads in the US, I’d be interested.

†Is OpenOffice still the open source “office suite” of choice?

Update (31 March 2013): I put together a list of episodes available on Amazon Instant Video. Tomb of the Cybermen, Robots of Death, Horror of Fang Rock, Earthshock, and Vengeance of Varos appear to only be available through Amazon. (I didn’t recheck the Netflix and iTunes episodes, so what’s available there may have changed.)


Anonymous said...


Bhodi Li said...

This is a great list. There are several episodes that are on Amazon (i.e Tomb of the Cyberman) that are not on either of the other two services. I wish Google Play would start carrying them as well but am not sure about how much demand there is.

Robert said...

Ah! I didn’t have Amazon Prime at the time, so I didn’t include it. And I didn’t get past watching a couple of episodes before I got side-tracked. Maybe I’ll revisit this before restarting.

It also bothers me that what is available on each service is constantly subject to change...and not just by adding more but by things going away as well. So, a list like this can quickly become obsolete. sigh

Robert said...

See above for a second file that includes just the episodes that are available on Amazon.

Eric said...

This is very helpful! Thank you!

Bhodi Li said...

Hulu+ has a ton of episodes. I put together a spreadsheet of what I could find.