Kylie factor boosts Doctor Who
THE Kylie factor is fuelling sales of Doctor Who merchandise this Christmas, experts said yesterday.
Fans’ excitement about the one-off Christmas special has helped to thrust Tardis goods to the top of the most-wanted lists.
But they will have to wait until Boxing Day for shops to start stocking a new range of 35mm collectibles, designed to stimulate fervour around the new series next spring.
And next year a five-inch figure of Kylie’s character hits the shelves. The 39-year-old pop princess will play a waitress called Astrid aboard the doomed Titanic in Doctor Who: Voyage Of The Damned. The long-awaited 70-minute episode, written by Swansea’s Russell T Davies, is joint third favourite at bookies Ladbrokes to win the title of most popular Christmas 2007 TV programme.
But fans are so excited they can’t wait for the screening – which will be on Christmas Day at 6.50pm – and have been indulging in retail therapy in the meantime.
Doctor Who merchandise is big business, with five branded toys and games currently in Amazon’s top 100 list. Everything from sonic screwdrivers to Cyberman masks and model Daleks that bellow “Exterminate!” can be purchased from shops across the country.
Diane Davies, manager of The Entertainer toy shop in Cardiff, has noticed a definite upturn as the Kylie episode approaches.
She said, “Doctor Who merchandise is a big seller for us at the moment.
“We’ve always had a demand for the Doctor Who lines and with the Christmas special coming out that’s increased it. We get our regular collectors in all the time but it seems to have built it back up again now that it’s coming back on TV.”
Doctor Who goodies appeal to buyers of all types and ages of shopper, she said.
“We get a mix of people buying the merchandise, we get the little ones that are following the series and then the adults that have grown up with Doctor Who and then the grandparents buying for their grandkids,” she said. “We do get quite a few collectors too on a weekly basis when they know a delivery is coming.”
Doctor Who expert Paul Murphy, of TV Choice magazine, said the publicity surrounding Kylie’s appearance has almost certainly helped sales.
He said, “If people are buying more merchandise this year than last, part of that I think is that Doctor Who has received much more exposure. And the fact that Kylie is in the Christmas special is getting people excited, it’s draws in the non-Doctor Who market.
“There are so many people who are so into Kylie, it might even be the first time they see Doctor Who, so there’s an extra audience.”
Julie Kekwick, licensing manager for toys at BBC Worldwide, said autumn – when new products from the spring series are launched – and Christmas are always busy periods for Doctor Who merchandise.
She said, “In the normal run up to Christmas, with gift giving, you do get a build up in sales. But we are very excited about the Christmas special coming up, especially since it features Kylie.
“We won’t have any toys out this Christmas from the Christmas special but we will have some coming out in the spring. There will be an Astrid five-inch figure which will be part of a set with some of the monsters from the Christmas episode.”
She added, “I certainly think that, in terms of interest and profile, it’s really good to have Kylie involved. I would think it would appeal to her fans and appeal to children as well because Kylie has a wide fan base in the same way as Doctor Who – there are people discovering her for the first time as well as people who have been fans for a long time.”