In hindsight this is rubbish. Neither the Eighth Doctor Adventures nor the Past Doctor Adventures were going to survive the year. We knew that about the Eighth Doctor Adventures, actually, but as of May, when this came out alongisde The Clockwise Man and Winner Takes All to launch the New Series Adventures, the theory was that the Past Doctor Adventures were going to keep running indefinitely, with the Eighth Doctor range being folded into it. Indeed, in May the Eighth Doctor Range hadn’t actually quite wrapped yet, with The Gallifrey Chronicles coming out the next month, alongside Eccleston’s regeneration.
All of which is to say that while to the mainstream Doctor Who was a titanic hit that was coming back for a second season and was set to be one of the BBC’s crown jewels, to fans May of 2005 was a bewildering period in which there were in fact three incumbent Doctors, the Paul McGann era having yet to resolve, the Eccleston era ongoing, and the Tennant era announced. And the question of what the auxiliary merchandise for the series would be like was still very much an open one.
Because there were, in fact, a lot of ways the merchandise could go. It could, of course, target fans. That was what Doctor Who merchandise had been doing since the 1980s, after all. That’s why the Doctor Who Cookbook and $125 Doctor Who stained glass windows made for selling in America as pledge awards for PBS existed – because adult fans could be trusted to buy this crap. And certainly this type of merchandise still exists, as apparently there are people who want to spend fifty pounds for a box set of the Pandorica chair and a River Song action figure. Or, for that matter, thirty pounds for a Winston Churchill action figure bundled with a Dalek with tea tray accessory. (And that’s just the new series. You can also, these days, spend thirty-five quid for action figures of Peri and Sil from Vengeance on Varos)
A reasonable person might have expected this to be how all of the new series merchandise would work: high end collectors items for the undiscerning Doctor Who fan with an excess of disposable income. This was basically how the novels had worked in the wilderness years, with Virgin and then BBC Books pumping out two books every month in what was actually the biggest flood of new Doctor Who material in the series’ history, especially once Big Finish got in on the act with audios.…