There are a couple of commercials doing the rounds, but the one causing the problem features the Tenth Doctor actor and Virgin multi-billionaire beatnik Richard Branson with a time machine.
The Daily Mail website cites this from the BBC’s guidelines:
‘We should ensure that the BBC brand is not used to endorse outside companies or organisations. We can achieve this by ensuring commercial advertising, promotion and press releases by outside companies do not give the impression of BBC endorsement, and advertising does not “pass off” BBC programmes.’
Now a few years ago Carol Vorderman lost her position fronting Tomorrow’s World after advertising a popular cleaning agent with “scientific” graphics, so this isn’t something that is unheard of. However, although a “BBC source” told the Mail that
‘Virgin did not run this advert past us and if they had, it probably would have been turned down.’
…it is more likely that said source was a gap year student with a vague understanding of their chosen subject (media studies). It’s a spoof advert featuring someone who no longer works for the BBC. There is no reason for Virgin to “run it by” the BBC any more than the various companies for whom Tom Baker has advertised would need to.
Ultimately, of course, this is a completely harmless advert. David Tennant doesn’t travel through time and he doesn’t cash in on his role as the Doctor – he’s even using his own accent, playing himself.
See for yourself…