Since its beginning in 1963, the faces, the logo, and the monsters of Doctor Who have graced a myriad of items for sale to the public — from the Dalekmania toys of the 1960s, through series novelizations, and a huge number of Doctor Who comics and comic books (most notably by Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons), to board games, breakfast cereal, and toy sonic screwdrivers galore. If you want it, the BBC has been ready to let you have it, pretty much without exception.
Yet there is one place where Doctor Who merchandising has not been allowed to go: LEGO. It’s a seemingly natural fit that just hasn’t come together at all… until now.
LEGO has accepted fan ideas for future sets via their LEGO CUUSOO web site since 2008 (“cuusoo” is Japanese for “wish.”) On the license conflicts page they have always been up front about the fact that some fan submissions are just impossible to create:
Sometimes we have to turn down project submissions that refer to specific brands or licensed properties. We do this to avoid getting your hopes up for something we know we aren’t able to make. In these cases, we already know the LEGO Group can’t secure licensing rights to produce construction toys based on a particular brand or property, due to a conflicting interest with a third party. If such a conflict goes away, we’ll then be able to accept projects based on a particular brand or license.
Updated on February 25, 2014, the page now adds the following pertinent detail under their “Resolved Past Licensing Conflicts” heading (emphasis is our own):
We now welcome projects based on the following licenses that used to have conflicts:
Doctor Who – February 2014
Despite the fact that both LEGO and Doctor Who have played major parts in the childhoods of geeks everywhere for decades, there have been no dedicated LEGO Doctor Who sets. The BBC has recognized the market for Doctor Who-themed LEGO-like products in the past by giving the rights for such toys to Character Group, who has created micro-figures and TARDIS playset.
But because Character Group held the license for this property, LEGO couldn’t secure the rights for their own sets. While the Character Group products have generally been well received, they lack the LEGO brand and aesthetic that’s been lent to such properties as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Batman. So does LEGO’s lifting of this ban on Doctor Who submissions mean that there are official LEGO Doctor Who sets on the horizon? As the 50th Anniversary special recently said, “Who knows? Who knows??” It definitely means that the ball is now in the court of Doctor Who fans everywhere.
Fans have been coming up with ideas for LEGO Doctor Who sets for years, but now they might finally become a reality, so calling all Doctor Who fans! LEGO wants your ideas! Once submitted, those ideas will need your votes. This is crowdsourcing in the best sense, and Doctor Who fans have always been great at that. You have the power to finally bring LEGO and Doctor Who together. Use it and make the most of this opportunity.