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THE 2000s

The explosion of merchandise that accompanied the return of the series led to an unprecedented variety of Doctor Who toys and games.
The Doctor (Matt Smith) demonstrates toys to the young customers at the Sanderson & Grainger department store in Closing Time (2011).
Product Enterprise announces the first of its 6½” Talking Daleks in 2001.

With Doctor Who still off the air and no immediate sign of it returning, the early 2000s looked bleak in the realm of toys and games – except for one company.

Steve Walker’s Product Enterprise Ltd entered the fray with a set of ‘flying Dalek’ wall plaques in 1999. Then in May 2000 the company released its first Dalek Rolykins, new versions of the small plastic toys that had been so popular in the 1960s. Just like their predecessors, the new Rolykins had ball-bearings in their bases, allowing them to glide over flat surfaces. There were six variants released in the initial wave, and over the course of the decade Product Enterprise released many more.

The company’s biggest success, however, was its range of Talking Daleks. First released in September 2001, each Talking Dalek came tied into a display box and was 6½” in height. Three colours were issued initially – black, grey and red – and they spoke when the oval button discreetly hidden between the gun stick and the arm was pressed. Moving beyond the disc-based speech of the 1970s version, technology had advanced to the stage where electronic voice-chips could now be included. Better still, the Talking Daleks were competitively priced at around £25 each. The range was hugely popular and a wide variety of Daleks in different colours was produced over the coming decade.

Other releases from Product Enterprise included resin dioramas based on scenes from 100,000 BC (aka An Unearthly Child, 1963) and The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967), resin figurines of the First and Second Doctors, a Sontaran, a Quark, a Zygon, a Sensorite and a Draconian, sets of ‘Roll-a-matic’ Daleks with a pull-back-and-release action, a Talking Cyberman in silver or black, laser-etched crystal cubes and even inflatable Daleks. The company’s final major Doctor Who range was launched in October 2006: Micro Talking Daleks featured the most impressive electronic voice technology to date and came in eight different colour schemes.

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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.