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Richard Culley was at the beginning of a long and distinguished career in brand licensing when he negotiated some of the original deals for Doctor Who merchandise.


TV Century 21 featured this advert for the Louis Marx range of Dalek toys in July 1965.

At the 2006 Licensing Awards, the toy manufacturer Character Options won in two important categories – Best Licensed Toys or Games and the Innovation Award – for its range of remote-controlled Daleks. At the same ceremony, that year’s Honorary Achievement Award was given to Richard Culley. In the world of brand licensing, it was a perfect example of the old adage ‘What goes around comes around’.

“Totally, absolutely,” the softly spoken Richard agrees, his voice still hinting at his New Zealand roots. His name may not be familiar to viewers of Doctor Who, but in 1964 Richard was a key player in the series’ first great toy boom. During our conversation, the 75-year-old Richard shares his memories of those heady days and the world of brand licensing in general over his half-century in the business – a period in which he looked after properties as diverse as The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Noddy, also accommodating the Mr. Men, Joe 90 and of course, Doctor Who.

So, how did a fresh-faced young Kiwi come to represent the BBC’s popular Saturday evening series?” I came by sea,” says Richard, casting his mind back. “It was in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. When I arrived in England, I worked in a wine cellar, but my mother said, ‘Why don’t you look up an old friend of mine, Walter Tuckwell?’

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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.