We’re big Doctor Who fans at the Co-op and as the series always evolves, there’s always new and surprising facts to discover… here’s our favourites:
1. As the the Co-op’s Doctor Who range attests, the TARDIS image is a major part of the Doctor Who merchandise magic. However, the iconic blue box wasn’t always seen on Dr Who products. In fact, the BBC fought a years-long battle with with the POLICE MET just to use it. The Met argued they owned the design of the TARDIS exterior (as it’s based on a MET phone booth from the first half of the 20th Century). The BBC said that since the MET had stopped using the design for more than 50 years ago, the boys in blue needed to get over it and realise that the blue box is nowadays much more closely linked to Doctor Who. It took several years, but in 2002 , the Patent Office agreed, meaning you can now adorn your bathroom with a TARDIS shower curtain, keep your biscuits in a TARDIS cookie jar, make your jelly into the shape of a TARDIS, dry yourself with a TARDIS, or even keep your toothbrush inside the TARDIS!
2. Benedict Cumberbatch could have been the Doctor! He reportedly turned it down because he wasn’t keen on the amount of merchandise that would be produced with his face on it… well, with the popularity of the Sherlock series, you can get your share of Benny-boy’s handsome face here.
3. The Doctor’s regeneration was based on a bad acid trip.
4. In 1988, Paramount Pictures wanted to make a Doctor Who movie starring either Michael Jackson or Bill Cosby as the Doctor.
5. The sound of the TARDIS was created with a bunch of keys. Back when Doctor Who began, the unmistakeable sound of the TARDIS materialising was created using a set of keys, which were dragged across the bass strings of a piano. The sound was then played in reverse. I wonder if there’s a secret message in there too …
6. Ridley Scott almost designed the Daleks.
7. The gas masks in “The Empty Child” were made in part from cans of baked beans after attempts to find authentic WWII gas masks failed because they contain dangerous asbestos.
8. The TARDIS looks like an old fashioned police lock-up box because its cloaking device, the chameleon circuit, malfunctioned after his first visit to 1963 London.
9. Before landing the role of the Tenth Doctor, David Tennant had roles in several Doctor Who audio dramas and also narrated a documentary about the revival of the show in 2005 (titled ‘Doctor Who’: A New Dimension).
10. A Dalek was found in a swampy pond in 2009. How it got there, no one knows …