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Digital Subscriptions > Doctor Who Magazine > DWM Special 46 – Toys and Games > ENTERPRISE AND INITIATIVE


In the 1960s there would have been no Doctor Who toys, or sales of episodes to foreign countries, without the pioneering BBC department founded by Ronnie Waldman.
Simon Waldman with his father, Ronnie.
Photo © Simon Waldman.

Ronnie Waldman, until recently BBC-TV’s Head of Light Entertainment, has been appointed to a newly created post. It is intended to organise a drive to replace the large proportion of American films now being shown on television. He will now be Business Manager of television programmes.

Friday 28 June 1963. Attending a Programme Management Board meeting, the BBC’s Head of Drama, Sydney Newman, is unhappy with the proposal that, when the Corporation’s new family serial Doctor Who goes into the studio for the first time in September, it will do so to record 30-minute episodes. As far as he’s concerned, the agreement was that each instalment should run for 25.

Also present is Ronnie Waldman, General Manager of Television Enterprises. He presses Newman’s point home – that 25-minute episodes are more suitable for selling the programme overseas.

The united front presented by Newman and Waldman at that meeting underlines the fact that Doctor Who has always enjoyed a close relationship with the BBC’s commercial wing. Fifty-four years on, the programme still has a confederate in the form of BBC Worldwide, the modern-day version of Television Enterprises. Worldwide partially funds production of the show, and also sells it – plus licensing opportunities – around the globe. It would be overstretching the point to claim Worldwide wouldn’t exist without Doctor Who, but it’s hard to imagine the series itself staying the course without its enterprising ally.

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About Doctor Who Magazine

In 1964 Dalekmania led to the birth of Doctor Who licensing, and it’s been with us ever since. The return of the series in 2005 prompted an even bigger range of merchandise, which this time invaded supermarkets as well as toy shops. In 2017 the popularity, and ingenuity, of these products continues unabated. This is the surprising story of Doctor Who toys and games – told by the people who make, sell and collect them.