Saturday, April 27, 2013

More Merchandise

Continuing to catch up on some of the wonderful things I have been sent of late, and here's more goodies, from some USA exclusive items, to more books!

First off, I've been sent several items by the very lovely people at the wonderfully named Bif Bang Pow! in the USA. They have a large range of things available, and most can be obtained from their official outlet, Entertainment Earth.

Visit to find details of all the items from this company.


Sometimes these can be really cheap and tacky affairs, but this Travel Mug comes boxed, and is a sturdy plastic and brushed stainless steel affair. In a lovely translucent TARDIS blue, the mug has white Doctor Who and TARDIS decals on the sides, and comes complete with a plastic lid to keep the contents hot. The lid can be twisted to open some sipping slots at either side as well.

This seems to be an exclusive for Entertainment Earth, so you won't find it for sale anywhere else (probably).


A slightly bizarre idea, this is a little TARDIS which is mounted on a wobbly base that can stick to the top of your computer monitor.

There seem to be a couple of variants available. The one I have been sent is in proper full colour, and has a 'Toyfair13 Exclusive' sticker on, which suggests it was created for a Toyfair this year. The Entertainment Earth site also shows a black and white version available, which is also cute.


The Doctor uses this to jot down details of all his adventures, and this is a lovely little notepad with pages printed in an 'aged' manner. The cover has a reproduction of the title and copper clasp of the one we have seen on screen.

All in all, a lovely little item for collecting notes and thoughts in.


We've all seen standard round (or square) coasters for drinks but here we have something slightly more unusual - TARDIS-shaped coasters!  These are really lovely items, and the box contains four of the coasters, cork-backed and with a colour TARDIS printed on the other side.  Ideal for putting your drinks on!


Bif Bang Pow! have a lot of glasses available, and this pack contains four colour (or color, if you're in America) changing shot glasses. Each is printed with a TARDIS which appears in white. But when you fill the glass with a cold liquid, the TARDIS appears in all it's glory.

I love the way the pack says on the front: 'Just add cold water' ... because of course we all know that water is what you put in shot glasses :) Each glass holds 2oz of liquid, and would be ideal for a Who-themed party, serving, of course, cold water.


I picked up this latest Quick Reads from the local bookshop, and herein Mike Tucker presents a tale of Silurians. This is another very basic novella-length tale in the Quick Reads series, which is designed to encourage children to read.  I'm not sure that the simplistic style totally appeals to me, but then this is not aimed at me, and I'm sure that it bridges a gap between the readers of Doctor Who Adventures and the more complex novels which the BBC is releasing.


Speaking of the Novels, and I got hold of the three new additions to the range recently.

These have yet another design applied to them, and a part of me wishes that the BBC could make their minds up what the Doctor Who branding actually is. These look totally different from anything else in the range, different again from the recent paperback reprints for the anniversary, and different from any of the other licensed fare.

The three titles in the range are: The Dalek Generation by Nick Briggs, Plague of the Cybermen by Justin Richards and Shroud of Sorrow by a new writer to the range, kids' favourite (check out his Scream Street books!) Tommy Donbavand. I've not read them as yet, so can't comment on the content, but it's interesting that they have chosen Daleks and Cybermen to headline this set of titles.

More interesting to me, perhaps, is the lovely conceit in Donbavand's book that it opens with PC Reg Cranfield patrolling in Totter's lane in 1963. Cranfield was the name of the actor who played the Policeman on-screen in in the first ever episode of the show.


Just arrived is the new hardback non-fiction title from the BBC. This is Who-Ology by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright and appears to be an almost random collection of facts and figures associated with the show.  It's subtitled 'The Official Miscellany' and so that explains it ... it really is a random selection of facts and figures, along the lines of titles like Schott's Miscellany.

I dipped in and quickly checked the entry for Frazer Hines, who played Jamie in the show. Unfortunately his current location and occupation are incorrect: he doesn't live in Nottingham (he's near Newark), his Stud Farm is located at Newmarket, not where he lives, and he is still acting and performing rather than just breeding racehorses. In the entry for The Abominable Snowmen, it mentions that the creatures were actually robot servants of the Great Intelligence, but misses that Travers sees a real creature at the conclusion of the story: so they did actually exist in their own right. In the entry for Nom-de-Plumes, it misses that Jamie named the Doctor 'John Smith' in 'The Wheel in Space' because it was a name seen by Jamie on a piece of equipment in the sick bay where the Doctor was being treated. These are just three random spots (and may be the only things in the book which might be lacking), but I have to say that I remain impressed at the sheer content and scope of this book.

It covers so much ground, and so much is totally spot on! It's one of those books which would perhaps find an ideal place in the smallest room of the house, as it's dip-into-ability is somewhat addictive. It's also going to be invaluable for anyone who sets pub quizzes in the future, expanding the ability to ask impossible questions about Doctor Who a millionfold.

The book is very nicely illustrated by Ben Morris, but is sadly printed on a standard bookwove paper stock, which makes the whole thing look slightly cheap. It would have looked much better on a white bond, something which would make the images appear crisper, and the whole thing more substantial.

So overall, something of a curate's egg I feel. I'm not sure who it's really aimed at. Perhaps the kids who love Who today will enjoy seeing the plethora of facts and figures ... but given that they have been raised on a diet of Doctor Who Adventures and somewhat text-lite photo-heavy presentations, I wonder if this might fall flat. I hope not, as it's actually a marvellous piece of work, absorbing and fascinating and answering just about any random question about Doctor Who that you could hope to ask! One final observation: I have no idea how you would actually find anything in it ... it's not in any order that I could see, and by its very nature it is unindexable!

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