those changed about eight times

TV Speaking of nerdy obsessions, we Doctor Who fans can be fairly anal about, well, everything and of the issues which some of us can get very exercised about is the consistency of merchandising inlays and covers. This reaches back as far was when the VHS tapes were being released and over the course of about twenty years the inlays on those changed about eight times which meant that if you were storing the episodes in story order they were a patchwork, with the logo appearing horizontally and vertically, the title in small and large writing and ultimately the whole thing being redesigned anyway [see the photo at this ebay listing].

It's not that these things didn't match; seeing a range of films with all of their different title designs next to each other wasn't a problem. It's that these things look just slightly inconsistent, that they could look the same if someone had cared enough to put some thought into it. So far the dvd releases have been fairly consistent. Since the second release, all of them have had the name of the show is on the side with the title of a particular story and whichever actor's face appearing in a little white circle. That changed after the first set of stories out for no particular reason, so now it looks like Tom Baker is very pleased with whole era apart from The Robots of Death:

But that's about it. There was a mountain of controversy a couple of years ago though, when the releases were shifted over to a company called 2Entertain who quite rightly wanted to slap their logo on somewhere and chose the little randomly coloured spot at the bottom of the spine and then decided to change the shade of their logo from black to white not long afterwards, resulting in a pattern like this appearing on a collector's shelf over time:

That hasn't bothered me. I like things to have a history, I like change. But I imagine, even if I don't need to because there have been online discussions at length about this, that there are fans who sit at home staring at these these spines, unable to come to terms with the lack of perfection, taking the fact that these things don't match any more oh so very personally. If you search in the right places online you can find other fans who've scanned in these inlays, photoshopped out the 2E logo and made them available for printing and replacing.

Skip through to this month's Doctor Who dvds (the Dalek Boxset which featuring Frontier in Space and Planet of the Daleks for those who care). A label on the plastic wrapper suggested that a reversable inlay was a unique selling point. I expected that it would be some special design but looking overleaf and found an identical image. Except: this past few months the BBC's merchandising logo has changed -- where once BBC Audiobooks and whoever were content to simply slap the square logo on the front (as appears on the BBC website) lately it's been replaced a bright, square multi-coloured box with the proper logo in the middle.

I thought there might be trouble and sure enough it is splattered over the front of this dvd and more "importantly" the spine, replacing the original logo (see above). If the obsessive fan was irritated about the 2E thing, they'd be apoplectic about this:

But, if you look carefully on the back of the much vaunted reversible cover:

That's what I call fan service.


  1. Anonymous6:35 pm

    Damn that's clever. Maybe the could sneak out a replacement cover for this while they're at it:

  2. Oh I don't know, I rather like the minimalism of it. It says "Got Daleks in it. What more do you want?"