Nowadays, as a Doctor Who fan there is nothing questionable about seeing Matt Smith’s face staring back at you as an action figure, a birthday cake, or a lunchbox – that’s just how film and TV merchandise works. And why not trade off the biggest star of your property? He is the Doctor after all, so you can understand the appeal of slapping his image everywhere possible.
But what about the lesser characters, and the ridiculous merchandise that is released in the name of great shows and films for the sake of squeezing every drop of tie-in money out of it?
Personally, I blame Star Wars. They released action figures of not just main characters, but also the background characters that appeared for less than a second – sometimes it would be a revelation to discover such a character’s actual name. Thankfully, Doctor Who hasn’t quite gone that far yet but we are certainly spoiled for choice regarding Doctor Who branded goods.
And in true merchandise tradition, Who merchandise hasn’t always conformed to logic, practicality or taste. So let’s venture into what is affectionately called ‘The Transcendental Toybox’ and see what quirky and ridiculous novelties Doctor Who has offered us over the years. A lot of these will be new to you, and there’s a good reason for that…
11. Dalek Soap
One of the main sources of merchandise is of course the Daleks. ‘Dalekmania’ as it was called, has never really gone away but back in the sixties the BBC tried everything they feasibly could to sell Dalek branded goods, and one of the most unusual choices was the Dalek soap.
Now, rather than taking a bar of soap and carving a Dalek in it, these are actual moulded soaps, which have little resemblance to a Dalek at all, looking more like little grenades – eyestalks and plungers are rather hard to mould in soap, so we are left with a limbless and blind Dalek to wash yourself with. Why the BBC would think marketing soap to young boys was going to be a moneymaker, I’ll never know.
Bizarre as it is, theses soaps are quite rare because over time they would crack and crumble, and a complete set can fetch triple figures at auction. Or could their scarcity be due to assault with the next item?
This article was first posted on February 1, 2013