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Published on April 18th, 2012 | by Andrew Reynolds

BBC Virgin on the Extreme

Remember when the Doctor sat the nation down to explain how TiVo worked only to send billionaire beard Richard Branson hurtling through time in a reconstituted Lazarus DNA capsule?

No, of course not, you say.

BBC LogoIt was just David Tennant trading off his public image to promote Virgin Media in a multi-million pound ad campaign that featured – in and amongst his many credits – a brief shot of the Doctor Who logo.

It surely was not, as the Daily Mail would have you believe, a veritable storm of controversy over an apparent commercial endorsement of the service, breaking the Beeb’s guidelines.

Regardless of the validity of the Mail’s ‘source’ however it turns out it was a potential infringement and as a ‘gesture of goodwill’ Virgin Media have pulled the ad after a complaint was made by BBC Worldwide reports The Guardian.

In a joint statement both companies said:

 “Virgin Media has listened to concerns raised by BBC Worldwide about perceived commercial endorsement by a BBC brand relating to the recent Virgin Media advertisement that featured David Tennant and Richard Branson.

As a gesture of goodwill Virgin Media has agreed to withdraw transmission of the advertisement and BBC Worldwide is now satisfied that the issue has been addressed.”

Virgin had already removed the Doctor Who logo but BBC Worldwide continued to argue that it contravened its guidelines.

Which you’d think would remove that potential endorsement. Take away the logo and its just David Tennant and Sci-Fi which reiterates the point Christian made in our original post: How would it be different to any advert featuring Tom Baker?

What’s more depressing is that the BBC’s tough stance (why, for instance, didn’t they just include a disclaimer?) on this infringement may have been solely motivated by the Daily Mail’s original piece.


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

2 Responses to BBC Virgin on the Extreme

  1. avatar bryan simcott says:

    Its such a shame all this nonsense. Most of its not the BBC`s fault either, but more likley Sky, ITV and the regulators bashing the BBC if they are seen to be utilising adverts for programmes.

    the BBC can be advertised (like the freeview adverts) but programmes cant and thats the rub and one of the big sticks ITV whinge about that they can not advertise thier programmes on the BBC so why should the BBC be allowed to do it on thier platforms.

    Its sad that the BBC is probably going to get the blame for any fallout of this rather than VIRGIN , not that there should be any fallout at all, as it was a simple fun bit of Advertising with David tennant (happy as can be promoting himself and his asscoiation and proud of them) and the Time travel pieces added in. It should have been left alone to become tommoros digital chip paper . But the do-gooders seem to have interfered and spilot the fun as usual

  2. avatar pamela says:

    I believe the BBC are being rather petty. David Tennant was the 10th Doctor and is, in my opinion, perfectly entitled to show any of the DVD’s of his Doctor Who work. I should have thought the BBC would have welcomed any advertising for the show. I am more inclined to think rather than the BBC complaining is seems more likely to be Moffatt & Co.

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