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THE 1960s

What’s a Dalek’s sucker arm for? And how is the TARDIS bigger on the inside than the outside? The answers to these questions and more can be found in rarities from the first wave of Doctor Who merchandising…

In certain respects, the history of Doctor Who merchandising also reflects the ebb and flow of popular culture from 1964 to the present day. Just as the television series embraced different narrative strategies and evolving techniques, the show’s merchandise offers a number of intriguing time-capsules that reflect contemporary taste and technology.

These time-capsules tell a fascinating story of how developments in toy manufacturing have influenced the Doctor Who-branded products appearing in the shops.

One of the first items of licensed Doctor Who merchandise was also one of the most lavish. The Scorpion Automotives Dalek costume was a luxurious playsuit originally issued in October 1964. The initial release sold out prior to Christmas of that year, but components for the subsequent Mark II costumes, along with a large amount of finished stock, were destroyed in a fire at Scorpion’s Northampton factory in April 1965. Scorpion tried to rebound with a more detailed Mark III, but the consequences of the fire proved impossible to overcome and the company closed in October.

Pages from a Walter Tuckwellsponsored supplement in the September 1965 edition of trade magazine Games & Toys.
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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.